What Love Is This?

Until now (to my knowledge), Strange BaptistFire has posted no direct response to the influential anti-Calvinist work What Love Is This? by Dave Hunt. This is, in part, due to the fact that teachers like Phil Johnson and James White have so done such an excellent job in exposing and dismantling Hunt’s factual and exegetical errors. 

But a few weeks ago my friend Evan Stewart sent me the following response to some excerpts from What Love Is This? and due to the nature of Strange BaptistFire, I thought it may be beneficial to our readers to have this resource posted here.

The remainder of what follows was written by Evan Stewart:More...

Their study, taking them all the way back to Augustine, eventually became almost an obsession.  Then each of them began to preach their new “light” from their pulpits.  After being warned several times to desist, they were removed from their pastorates.  Eventually, her husband began to worry whether he was really one of the elect.  The nagging questions grew into full-blown doubts about his salvation.  The Calvinism that had once seemed so satisfying began to haunt him with uncertainty.  Was he one of the elect?

            “You were never drawn into it?” I asked.

            She shook her head. “I’m not an intellectual-which may be why it never appealed to me.  But isn’t God supposed to be a God of love?  In my simple mind it didn’t make sense that the God of the Bible didn’t love everyone enough to want them all in heaven, that Christ hadn’t died for everyone even though the Bible seemed to say that He had.”

            Tears came to her eyes.  At last she continued, “I kept trying to tell my husband that the God he was now believing in-a God who predestined people before they were even born to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire-was not the God I knew and loved.”

            Troubling encounters such as these became more frequent and soon demanded deeper insight on my part into a system obviously embraced by a larger portion of the church than I had realized.  It seemed so alien to everything I had believed about a God whose sovereignty did not diminish His mercy and love.  For my own peace of mind, I was compelled to pursue the lengthy investigation that resulted in this book. (p17)

This woman’s question is an honest and serious question to consider.  However, before throwing the baby out with the bath water, it must be seen that what this woman and Mr. Hunt asserts about Calvinism, that the Calvin God is a God of hate or un-love, is exactly what unorthodoxy asserts about the gospel message.   The person, who disbelieves in the orthodox doctrines of Christ, will surely look at the common Evangelical with tears in his eyes and say, “But isn’t God supposed to be a God of love?  In my simple mind it doesn’t make sense that the God of the Bible doesn’t love everyone enough to allow them into heaven outside of Jesus Christ.  What about all of those people who haven’t heard about Jesus?”  If Mr. Hunt and this woman in his story are orthodox Evangelical’s, then they will certainly respond that God is a God of love and of mercy and of justice.  He must require redemption through Christ so that sin is dealt with.  Is this an adequate answer for the average non-believer?  Certainly not.  According to their understanding of love and of God, God is unjust and unloving to sentence a soul to Hell merely because that soul did not believe in Jesus.  They assume that if the condemned person performed good deeds in his lifetime, then a death sentence is unreasonable and unjust.  This is a similar objection by a non-Calvinist Christian to a Calvinist Christian.
 
To take the non-Calvinist Christian a step further, if God loves all and desires for all to come to salvation, and if God has the power and ability to coerce a person in salvation, then is not God unloving if He does not coerce every person?  Coercion usually implies a forced decision upon a person who does not want to agree with the decision.  A man, A, can coerce another man, B, to steal money against his will by sticking a gun to his head.  Likely, after the coerced theft is accomplished, man B is still disagreeable with the act he was forced to perform.  However, is it not possible for a person to be coerced against his will for the good and afterwards agree to the coercion and acknowledge that the coercion was the best and finest choice on the part of the coercer?  Would any person label a human father unloving if he, knowing a tornado was quickly approaching his home, forced his ignorant child (ignorant to the impending danger) into the cellar in order to preserve the child’s life?  Certainly, the child would not look at his father and accuse him of hate because he did not let the child choose whether or not he wanted to enter into the cellar and escape death; and if the child made such an absurd accusation the child would be considered foolish yet the father loving and wise.  The child would likely rejoice at the outcome of the father’s decision even though the child did not understand the father’s decision before he knew of the danger.  Likewise, if God coerces any person into salvation then we are wrong and foolish to presume that the coerced soul goes kicking and screaming and remains screaming under the acknowledgement of sin and in the presence of divine grace.  Therefore, if we are only focused on the love of God, then both the Christian Calvinist and the Christian non-Calvinist should be looked at as worshiping a God of hate or non-love.  For if God can coerce His creatures, if He desires for all men to come to salvation, if the coerced creature will not be remorseful of God’s sovereign decision but in the least eternally grateful and joyful, and if the death of Christ satisfied the payment for sin for all mankind, then God should coerce every man and woman unto salvation in order to uphold His nature of Love.
 
An appeal to God’s justice may be made and an answer to this coercion idea might be that God would be unjust in forcing all people into belief for a repentant soul must first be made aware of his or her sin.  God must require a person to admit wrong before redemption is given.  God’s grace is cheapened if not accompanied by a confession of guilt.  However, would not a soul saved by coercion admit wrong and guilt of crimes committed against God, i.e. sin, when he is brought to the knowledge of God and of sin.  In other words, even though a person were not to admit guilt before salvation he could still admit guilt after salvation.  Would this not accomplish the justice God seeks?  God’s justice inherently demands blood atonement for the guilt of the offending party to be forgiven and forgotten.  Christ died for sinners once and for all.  The justice of God has been satisfied.  Why is an admission of guilt needed before salvation can occur if an admission of guilt will necessarily come after salvation?
 
The only answer that I can find that will satisfy my questions is, “Thus saith the Lord”.  God has proclaimed that salvation is through Christ alone.  He has declared to every corner of the earth that He will not spare any person His righteous wrath unless he kneel before the foot of the cross, admit guilt, and confess Christ as Lord and Savior.  If this seems unclear or illogical to any man may he be answered by God, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me!” (Job 38:2-3).  We must understand that God’s sovereignty allows Him to act in such a way that we do not understand.  He is not privileged, be sure, to act in a manner contrary to His character or will, but certainly in a manner which escapes our knowledge.  The anti-Calvinist asserts that the Calvin soteriology explicitly contradicts God’s character.  If this is true then there has not been a satisfactory answer given.  The main and most popular objection is as Mr. Hunt argues, “God is love!  He wants all to come to salvation.”  The Calvinist simply affirms in response, “Praise be to God, for God is great with love and great with mercy, forgiving His enemies while yet they were enemies of His righteousness.”
 
How does the great love of God prohibit Him from exercising His will that may not be understandable and agreeable to all mankind?  Was God unloving because he forgave Ahab his sin but promised the consequences of the king’s sin to fall onto his future house and son’s days (1 Kings 21:29)?  Was God unloving in His decision to establish Adam as chief representative of all mankind and thus allow the consequences of Adam’s sin to ravish the future lives of every single human being who at the time were not even born and who committed no sin before their birth?  If any man bring such an accusation to the throne of God may God have mercy on his soul and grant forgiveness to such a fool.  Was God unloving in allowing Satan to ravish the life of Job in a way that few people have ever experienced and then offer no answer as to why Job was afflicted?  God may choose to elect or reject any person and this does not diminish His great love.  Such action may provoke honest questions from His servants, such action may cause us to wonder the reason for such behavior, but whatever God does He does to His glory and to the benefit of all creation.
 
“God is love!” is not a valid response against Calvinism.  An appeal to God’s love is appropriate to defend the Church from anti-evangelical doctrine and any teaching that may actively discourage the preaching of the gospel to the ends of the earth and to every tribe, tongue, and nation.  Since Calvinism affirms evangelism, since Calvinism declares that all men are to be reached with the precious words and life saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ the above objection is no objection at all but a grand affirmation.
 

**Note: Do not appeal to a subjective definition of love in order to defend one belief.  If the anti-Calvinist appeals to a definition of love so will the Calvinist.  One claims supreme love cannot elect a soul for heaven and one for hell, and the other claims that love can indeed make such a decision.  At first glance two different definitions seem to be employed, and at times contradicting definitions are used, but the biblical anti-Calvinist and Calvinist do not disagree in definition but differ in perspective.  One looks at the grand picture of existence through a small hole and the other through a slightly larger window.
 
Appeal to Scripture to settle the argument.  Here is the answer and also the difficulty.  Scripture seems at times to support both schools of thought.  The thoughts being God’s supreme sovereignty and man’s free will.   Scripture does not contain contradictions, however.  Therefore both conclusions of both schools cannot be accepted.  However, God’s sovereignty exists along side human free will.**

Such a strong statement is impressive, coming from Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  John H. Gerstner writes, “We believe with the great Baptist preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, that Calvinism is just another name for Christianity.”  Again, if Calvinism is true Christianity, would that mean that non-Calvinists are not Christians?  Surely, most Calvinists would not say so, but isn’t the implication there? (p19)

Mr. Hunt argues that a synergistic redemption is the true biblical gospel and not monergism.  Does he then argue that Calvinists are not Christians, since according to him they do not believe the Christian gospel of faith precedes regeneration?  Obviously he does not argue this.  Why then does he assert that Calvinism must necessarily promote this absurdity?  I am sure that some or many Calvinists believe such heresy, but Mr. Hunt’s inference is far from necessary.

[Under the heading “Aggressive Promotion”]

            Calvinists are increasingly insisting that their peculiar dogmas represent the faith of “the Reformers who led the Reformation” and should be accepted by all evangelical Christians as true Christianity, and as the biblical expression of the gospel. (p20)

  IS this not what some anti-Calvinists are doing!  They are firing Calvinists for preaching TULIP!!  How much more aggressive can one get?

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Other Anti-Calvinism

29 Comments on “What Love Is This?”

  1. Albert Says:

    “Hunt argues, “God is love! He wants all to come to salvation.” The Calvinist simply affirms in response, “Praise be to God, for God is great with love and great with mercy, forgiving His enemies while yet they were enemies of His righteousness.” ”

    Excellent post. 🙂

  2. pat Says:

    …”and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” says I John 3:15. Shouldn’t we think twice about the doctrine of a man who was a murderer??? Perhaps Calvin rationalized burning Michael Servetus at the stake, thinking that perhaps it was okay seeing that he was pre-destined to God’s wrath anyway. Jesus said, “you will know them by their fruits…Eli’s sons MADE themselves defiled because they continued willfully in their sins.

  3. Evan Stewart Says:

    Pat,
    Although a man’s life gives evidence for or against his profession of faith in Christ, the example you give of John Calvin does not make the doctrine known as Calvinism illegitimate. First, you suppose that John Calvin was the creator of this doctrine of grace. If this was the case, your argument may carry more weight if John Calvin was in fact a murderer and if the rest of his life and theological writings proved him to be against the teachings of Jesus Christ. However, since John Calvin did not create this doctrine, the doctrine is merely known by his name, your argument, if true, would only provide suspicion of Calvin’s faith. Furthermore, this doubt of his faith would only be credible if these actions were not a one-time event and if he did in fact take the life of Michael Servetus with the pure intention of murder.

    Second, regardless of John Calvin’s life, you must contend with the numerous Christian theologians and leaders of the past and of today who believe the doctrines of grace (Calvinism) and who believe so not because John Calvin said the doctrines are true, but because they believe the Bible to support and teach the doctrine. A biblical Calvinist does not align himself or herself because John Calvin did so but because they believe Jesus Christ taught the doctrine of grace.

  4. Thomas Twitchell Says:

    Pat-

    try this info:

    http://reformedanswers.org/answer.asp/file/99812.qna/category/ch/page/questions/site/

    “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”

    If you make keeping the law the means to get to heaven, then you must keep it all. All sin, and if a man says he has not sin he is a liar an guilty of the whole law. So the question is how are you justified before Holy God, because, the law makes you a murderer.

  5. Thomas Twitchell Says:

    Can anyone tell me how to hide a link under another word using these button thingies. I an not sure what any of them mean. Wanna splane them?

  6. Mike Corley Says:

    Excellent post and Evan your response to Pat is dead-on. I would like to post both comments on my blog site, with your permission. Lord bless you.

  7. Justin Says:

    I know this isn’t my blog, but I was hoping I could add a response to Pat?

    By your argument, we should be suspicious of the doctrines of Paul (because he persecuted the Church), we should be suspicious of the doctrines of Israel (because they went to war innumerable times), we should be suspicious of the doctrines of Moses, King David, and the Prophets, because they all either practiced in war or commanded other Israelites to “murder.”

    And if, on this basis of suspicion, we should dismiss their doctrines, then we have hollowed the Christian faith to very little, if anything.

    As for the reason that Calvin, either directly or indirectly, had Servetus burned was not because he though he wouldn’t be punished, but because Servetus taught heresy. During the time of Calvin’s life, most Protestant churches wanted to model his Geneva, because it was the godliest of villages in all the land.

    Please, let us do away with this myth that a belief in unconditional election leads to immorality. It is not true, and never has been true.

  8. Evan Stewart Says:

    Mike,
    You have my permission to post my comments on your blog site.

  9. pat Says:

    According to I Peter 3, Baptism now saves by, “an appeal to God for a good conscience”. Men’s works bear testimony of their conscience according to Romans 2; and forms the basis of God’s judgement upon all. Granted, as Christians, we are not saved by our works, but our motivation, and what inspires our works, He does judge. In this context, Romans 2 makes it clear that God judges men’s works, whether they were evil or good, and in view of them, whether they’re worthy of life or death, for, “to those who by perservance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality, eternal life, but to those who are selfishly ambitious, and do not obey the truth, indignation and wrath. The repentance and baptism that followed in the wake of Peter’s fist sermon was had because of pierced consciences over the Lord’s bloodshed. “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” was their cry. The prison warden in Acts 16 cried to Paul & Silas: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved” Saul, the persecutor, received mercy from the Lord because his works were born out of ignorance-I Timothy1:12-14. John Calvin had at his disposal, the full volume (necessary for salvation) Jesus Christ’s words in Greek and Latin. There’s no historical account of Calvin having ever repented on account of his works; but there’s plenty of self-justication records that have been found. Grace was never intended to be a license for sin, for, “if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins.” …and, “we have become partakers of Christ, IF we hold fast the beginning of our assurance (faith), stedfast unto the end.” Perhaps we should lay aside the “isms” and start confessing the words of Jesus Christ.

  10. pat Says:

    Among others things, here’s another problem I have with the bloodshed of Michael Servetus: Servetus was a man who had the same confession as the Apostle Peter when asked who he thought Jesus Christ was…Matthew 16:14-16. Peter said: “You are The Christ, the SON of the living Father.” [The word “living” in the texts also infers “eternal”]. Now, are we going to go after all the “Council of Niceanisms” that have crept into the text and substantiate something else? or could Peter’s simple confession carry some weight over the abundance of other scriptures in the Bible: “my Father is greater than I”…’I can do nothing of myself”, “why do you call me good; there’s none good but God.” “God cannot be tempted with evil”, but the son was tempted in all points, as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus grew in knowledge and in wisdom; God doen’t need to grow at all. Jesus learned obedience; God invented obedience. Jesus died, God can’t die (but He did raise His son from the dead). Someday, Jesus is going to turn the kingdom over to His Father. etc., etc, etc.

  11. Justin Says:

    Pat, you have excluded the many references to Jesus as God in favor of His humanity singly. What I mean is, you focus so much on the humanity of Christ that you forget His deity as well.

    God will not share His honor and glory to anyone, yet in Revelations, Jesus “the Lamb upon the throne” is worshipped numerous times.


  12. pat,

    Can you give a single historical record indicating Calvin murdered Servetus. Alister McGrath’s work on Calvin indicates that he was the prosecutor in a trial of the heretic Servetus (certainly indicating some improper church-state relationships were in place in Geneva) but Calvin neither created the Genevan government nor did he personally have a hand in the execution of Servetus, instead pleading on Servetus’ behalf (to no avail) that the Genevan counsel execute him in a more humane way than burning.

    Also-
    You are currently promoting a heretical position, and so if you do not want all of your future comments deleted, be careful to stay on topic. The topic here is not the biblical doctrine of the Trinity, nor the Council of Nicea, etc., but rather the Doctrines of Grace, specifically in the context of Dave Hunt’s book against “Calvinism.” If you have further thoughts on this topic (especially if you have actually read Hunt’s book), then your comments are welcome. Otherwise, you may wish to find another forum to spread your ideas.

  13. Justin Says:

    certainly indicating some improper church-state relationships were in place in Geneva

    I am sorry if this is off topic (which I am sure it is, but need to ask), but what exactly is improper about enforcing holiness?

  14. genembridges Says:

    here’s no historical account of Calvin having ever repented on account of his works; but there’s plenty of self-justication records that have been found.

    This objection is right up there with the atheists and Jews who say that “secret” gospels were “destroyed,” or there were “secret meetings” among different groups in the early Church and no records exist. Well, if it’s so secret, then how is it that they know this? If all that exists are, at worst, misrespresentations, then how does Pat know what he knows. If true,his own position refutes itself.

    And if Pat was consistent, he’d agree that all deaths under the law of the land are “murder” – but this is an assertion not an argument. According to Pat’s logic, if Einstein had been a murderer, we could discount whatever he said. According to Pat’s logic, if we can find one Socinian whose ethics were questionable (and I should think that would not be difficult), we can discount Socinianism. So much for Socinianism.

    In the 16th century there were all sorts of capital crimes, and, in point of fact, his Socinianism owes a great deal to the Reformation. It was precisely the deaths of men like Servetus that kept the Roman Church from pressing France and the Holy Roman Emperor to find reasons to annex Geneva, Zurich, et.al. This was the time of the wars of religion in Europe, and rulers looked for excuses to invade lands.

    Freedom of dissent is a notably modern idea.

  15. Barry Says:

    Calvin needn’t be singled out, in particular, for weaknesses in character as compared to other 16th century religious and secular leaders. Sir Thomas More, as well as many other Catholic and Protestant functionaries, Thomas Cromwell comes to mind, were especially harsh on people they deemed heretics (and enemies of the state). And, I do mean harsh to the point of execution.

    It is not a surprise that people wanted to get away from western Europe during that and the post-Reformation period. The viewpoint that people had of taking a human life back then was not quite what it is now. Being put to death for what one thinks is a pretty rough way to go. I’m glad I wasn’t around then.


  16. Re: “I’m glad I wasn’t around then.” As a Baptist (we were subject to imprisonment or even drowning for our convictions) I heartily agree!

  17. Andrew Says:

    I think my last comment may provide the beginnings of a response to Justin’s question as well.

  18. Pat McGee Says:

    This Pat is passionately trinitarian and is a biblical Calvinist. Many years ago I was a supporter of Dave Hunt, but as I came to the doctrines of grace and as Hunt began making anti-Calvinist statements in his newsletter, I withdrew my support. Those who oppose Calvinism simply do not want to be confused by what the Bible actually teaches. It clearly teaches God’s sovereignty in salvation. The real question in my mind is why people so oppose Calvinism. I believe it is pride. We want to claim credit for becoming a Christian. It is very humbling to admit that nothing I could do could cause God to accept me into heaven… not even my “decision” for Christ. God did everything to bring me into His kingdom. For that I am truly grateful. There is a book by Steele and others which lays out Calvinism better than any other. It lays out scripture supporting the TULIP. It also lays out Arminian beliefs. I heartily recommend the book. I have two copies, but the title escapes my mind.

  19. Justin Says:

    Pat McGee, while I heartily agree with your affirmation of Trinitarianism and Calvinism, I do not think it is that easy to chalk up anti-Calvinism simply to pride. I agree that it applies to some people, but you have to realize that there are others out there who, unlike you, actually think that Dave Hunt is telling the truth. They were raised with the notion that God doesn’t predestine people to salvation, and when they read it plainly in the Bible, it is hard for them to reconcile it with what they had previously been told about salvation. So, instead of changing their beliefs, they change the fact.

  20. Pat McGee Says:

    Justin, you have a good point. At the same time, I was raised in Arminian circles and myself took pride in my “decision.” I know many today who take great pride in their part of what they believe to be the salvation equation. I was fortunate to be able to read sermons from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who was able to straighten me out. He did it pastorally through his sermons, rather than systematically through a course. He exposed me to Calvinism and the doctrines of grace without ever using those terms. He simply tooke me through the Bible teaching expositionally. It revolutionized my life and beliefs.


  21. Pat McGee,

    Thank you for your comments, especially as they come from a previous supporter of Hunt.

    other pat,

    NO THANK YOU for your continued off-topic comments. Any further comments will also be deleted.

  22. Bill Ely Says:

    The God of the Calvinist and non-Calvinist are not the same in character nor attributes. This is why the debate is so serious – it addresses the root of the question:
    . . . . . . . “Who is the God of the Bible?”

    The Calvinist God is a god of ‘love’ (if you are one of the lucky ones) or ‘hate’ (if you are preordained to hell). So you think this descriptor is unfair?

    A Calvinist preacher recently used this illustration: “There is an orphanage with many children. I go in and adopt five. Am I evil because I didn’t adopt them all? Certainly not. With God it is the same concerning election.”

    Beware slick sales with sinister analogies!
    Now, let’s consider a more honest analogy:

    There is an orphanage on fire, and the fire is spreading. You have the ability and time to EASILY save ALL of the children, IF you so choose. But you decide to save five. The remainder perish in the flames. Are you evil because you saved only five? What would the police say? What would a judge say? YES! Would you be facing legal prosecution and punishment? YES! Calvinist’s wouldn’t like this analogy, because it is too honest and exposes the insanity of their doctrine. This is not the God of the Bible.
    Yet this analogy needs one more adjustment before it is accurate, and that is “A choice needs to be made”. God does not force salvation, He provides it to as many as receive Jesus Christ.

    So, which do you believe is the God of the Bible?

  23. Ronk Says:

    How loving is the god who gives the children in the orphanage the match-book? He gives them the tool to their own distruction, which he foreknows they’ll use and that through their choice to play with fire, they’ll die. Is that any more loving?

    It seems that your view of God doesn’t answer the problem you have with calvinism either, because ultimately, God can (as he does in scripture) reveal himself in an irresistable way (moses, abraham, jacob, PAUL) in order to save some, but he doesn’t do that often, instead this ‘loving’ god gives us the free will and no other help.

    Now you may be saying, but he did give us help, Jesus came and Died on the cross. The non calvinist doesn’t really believe that Jesus accomplished anything except make a way available, a bridge across the valley that I have to jump across, but there’s that gap there, that I have to jump over to get on the bridge right?

    Well, God has complete foreknowledge right? So he knows that I am concieved in sin before my birth right? He knows that I choose evil and a path to hell my whole life, but he doesn’t ever do anything about it? He allows me to go to my doom of my own free choice, because he knows I’ll never want to cross the revine on my own, even to make that first jump.

    How is an infinite and all-wise God not responsible for his finite, foolish creation’s destructive choice when the great God could always help?

    I just don’t see how you’re in any better position denying the truth of scripture that we were chosen.

  24. Evan Stewart Says:

    Bill,
    I think your objection was addressed in my comments above, but maybe I was not as clear I hoped to be.

    However, I do not think that your analogy works to the conclusion that you suggest. Let us agree, for the sake of argument, that God will not pass over any of the children trapped within the burning fire without giving them a choice to either escape the burning fire or stay in the burning fire. By this argument, the conclusion is that God remains loving and just even though some people end up in hell due to their unbelief because God gave them a choice. We must also agree, that the choice of escape from hell may only be decided when an individual is confronted with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, any person who does not hear the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot make a decision to believe in Him as Lord and Savior and consequently cannot escape the fires of hell. How then does your description of God’s role in salvation spare God from being unloving or unjust when viewed in regards to the countless number of people who have perished without hearing the gospel of Jesus?

    I am not speaking of people of more present times who lived in range of a gospel presentation but for whatever reason did not hear the gospel. I am speaking of those people who lived in a time or place in which a presentation of the gospel was impossible. For example, what about a South American or Asian person who lived and died before the gospel reached South America or Asia in the early centuries A.D.? I am aware that persons before the time of Christ were counted as righteous before God if they placed their faith in the God of Israel and the promises of God (which included salvation through the Messiah). However, is not God unloving according to your example if some people died without being presented with the opportunity to put their faith in God?

    Surely, people have died without knowing anything about God whether they lived under the Old Covenant or New Covenant. Therefore, even if your understanding of God’s role in salvation is accepted, we are still left with an unloving and unjust God because He has clearly not given an offer of salvation to all people everywhere during all time periods. Under the old covenant, a person could only come to salvation by faith if that person was presented with the revelation of God through the Law and believed in the God of Abraham. Under the new covenant, a person may only be counted as righteous if his or her faith is placed in Jesus Christ.

    Have I understood you correctly?

  25. Bill Ely Says:

    Ronk and Evan were not able to confront the validity of my analogy directly, so they attempted to divert attention from it with objections of their own. It is like trying to confront pro-abortionists with facts that what is growing in the womb is real life and therefore all abortion is murder, and the only thing they can counter with is “Well . . . what about rape? What about incest?” Ronk and Evan likewise attempt to divert attention from the fact that the Calvinist god is an ‘abortionist’ himself, who for mere matters of convenience or reasons he alone decides, predestines the abortion of billions of humans into the lake of fire for an eternity, and these humans never at any moment of their miserable existence had any glimmer of hope, for their future was predetermined, fixed, unchangeable, by this tyrannical abortionist god of the Calvinists. Ronk and Evan, you both have such a dim view and little faith in the true God who is both loving and just (fair) to ALL, and who does hold ALL responsible for their individual decisions, words, and actions in life. It must be only the pride of the Calvinist heart which allows them to see themselves as unworthy elitists, who somehow got lucky and won their god’s lottery to predestine themselves with a rare golden ticket to heaven, while aborting billions of others. The Calvinist believes he is doing their god a great honor and paying him homage by trumpeting his SOVERIGNITY, which in their minds means “God is God and so He can do anything He wants to do . . . so there!” The Calvinist’s view of such a tyrannical god is pitiful, and not the true God of the Bible who is “NOT WILLING that ANY should perish but that ALL should come to repentance.” If God were the only determiner of whether a person would end up in heaven or hell, and then if God sent just 1 person to eternal torment with that poor individual never having had any hope nor chance to repent, then you would have to say that God WAS indeed WILLING for at least that 1 soul to perish, for God alone (as Calvinists believe) was the determining factor. That also would make God a ‘respecter of persons’. But the Calvinist’s god, is not the God of the Bible, but rather a insidious delusion resulting from an elitist pride of the heart. You say, what about those who haven’t ‘heard’ the Gospel? Romans 1:19,20 rejects that premise. The true God of the Bible is perfect in love, and perfect in justice (fairness). You should have more confidence in God’s ability to be true to His Biblically-described attributes. The tough questions will all have answers harmonious with God’s perfect love and fairness in justice.

  26. genembridges Says:

    There is an orphanage on fire, and the fire is spreading. You have the ability and time to EASILY save ALL of the children, IF you so choose. But you decide to save five. The remainder perish in the flames. Are you evil because you saved only five? What would the police say? What would a judge say? YES! Would you be facing legal prosecution and punishment? YES! Calvinist’s wouldn’t like this analogy, because it is too honest and exposes the insanity of their doctrine. This is not the God of the Bible.

    The universalist can use this same argument against the Arminian, you know. That’s the problem with framing your objection in ethical – not exegetical- terms. That’s one of the big problems I have with theologies spouting libertarian action theory, for note the breezy way they presume to defend God’s honor, but where has God ever defended His honor by the free will defense? They are speaking to concerns God Himself does not seem to be concerned about.

    Yet this analogy needs one more adjustment before it is accurate, and that is “A choice needs to be made”. God does not force salvation, He provides it to as many as receive Jesus Christ.

    So, according to you it is more loving for God to go, open the door to the orphanage, and then stand outside the door and wait for the orphans to escape if they so choose. He might hook a hose to the fire hydrant, but he doesn’t turn it on. They have to get outside to do that themselves. Meanwhile, he does nothing to put out the fire, nor does he enter the house to rescue anybody. He just rubbernecks like all the other bystanders. Sure, that’s a lot more loving.

  27. John Weaver Says:

    Let’s clear something up. Calvin did not execute Severus. Calvin did not charge Severus. Calvin did not judge Severus. Calvin was a witness against Severus, but can by no means be called a murderer. This false accusation is often brought up by the ignorant as if it were an argument against the doctrines of grace. In reality it is nothing more than begging the question. Severus was excuted by the civil government. Severus was beyond all doubt a heretic. I would not want Michael Severus as my posterboy, nor should anyone who is serious about theology.

  28. Thomas Twitchell Says:

    “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” This is analogous to Jesus standing outside the burning building and saying that those who have come out are not burned to death but those remaining inside are already dead. John 3:21 makes it clear that this is all the work of God. The word believes is in the present tense, believing. It is not a future experience but as John 3:16 does not contain the will of man, verse twenty-one excludes it just as John 1:13 declares. The receiving is the result of the gift, not the gift the result of the receiving.

    Jesus presents himself to deaf, dumb and blind people, but who made them blind, and for what purpose? Exodus 4:11; Exodus 4:21; Exodus 14:17; Deuteronomy 2:30; Psalm 51:15; Psalm 141:3 Isaiah 6; Isaiah 42:19; Isaiah 42:16; Isaiah 42:19; Isaiah 57:18-19; Ezekiel 36; Matthew 11:27; Matthew 13:11; Matthew 13:15; Matthew 15:14; Mark 4:11; Mark 6:52; Mark 7:37; Luke 7:15; Luke 8:10; Luke 24:45; John 5:21; John 9:39; John 9:41; John 12:40; Romans 1:28; Romans 8:5-6; 2 Corinthians 1:9. Even the whole kosmos is “on fire,” Romans 8:19, firguratively. And it was God who subjected it, Romans 8:20.

    No one cosiders nature to be a “willful” agent. Nor does Scripture consider that all mankind was willful in bringing condemnation upon itself, Romans 5:18. And, if it was not willful in its own condemnation then why should it be necessary that man is willful in bringing himself to justification?

    Instead, Scripture declares that it is not according to the will of man, in any sense, that he is saved. This is what the Scripture means by grace. The survey of Scripture above leaves no doubt, that from beginning to end, man is not involved in God’s doing, John 3:21. It is, “…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” We work out our own salvation, “with fear and trembling,” precisely because of this. The saved man is God’s blind servant, a vessel prepared for good works, if indeed God works his good in man. But, as it was in the beginning, man does not breath nor live by the Spirit according to his own will, it is God who gives life to whom he chooses.

    Analolgies do not work well as Gene said. They fall short because the mystery that is revealed does not align with rationalism. And it was rationalism, human philosophy, that gave rise to Arminianism, not Scripture. The logic and wisdom of Scripture is contrary to humanist systems like libertarian free-will. Scripture reveals not man created to do his own will, but man created by grace, in the image of God who cannot choose to sin, and, if it is God’s grace, recreated in the image of the Son, who does nothing but the will of him who sent him. By definition, a will that is free from the will of God is rebellion. In the resurrection we will be restored to that fullness that is in Christ, who did, thought, and said, nothing except what he saw the Father willing to be done.

  29. Todd Pruitt Says:

    The orphan analogy is ridiculous. It is deeply flawed from the very beginning. Where in Scripture is unregenerate man likened to a defenseless orphan? It sounds a bit like Giesler’s comparing sinful man to rambunctious boys who wander into a swimming hole. The Bible uses terms like unrighteous, children of wrath, the perishing, rebels, dead in sin, etc to describe the unregenerate. We are not orphans wanting and deserving to be saved. We are rebells who have killed the Kings servants (the prophets) and finally His Son. All the while we shake our rebellious fists in God’s face demanding to be our own gods. But in His great love and mercy, God saves untold millions out of that rebellious heap of murderers. He sought us when we would not seek Him. He loved us when we did not love Him.

    Bill, how can you possibly defend your orphan analogy from Scripture? Besides, as has already been demonstrated, the orphan analogy does not come close to solving the “fairness” problem that arminians are so concerned about.

    Gene is absolutely right. Our ethical opinions are a poor substitute for sound exegesis, something Bill does not supply.

    Pat – For goodness’ sake, please read some good church history. Stop getting your information from Google searches.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s