Back on December 15, Tim Challies posted a beautiful piece entitled One in a Sea of Faces. It is about the healing of the invalid from the book of John 5:1-15. The end of the post relates this to Calvinism. I realize in the blogosphere Calvinism reigns, and I read many Calvinistic bloggers but I cannot buy into the theology they use on Election.
I started to post on his blog but decided I would rather take a little more space and speak here instead. I do not believe that anyone should use the theology of Calvinism vs Arminianism as a reason to attack each other personally. It really is a small point as long as you don’t believe that because of Calvinism you should not go out and witness. Jesus makes it perfectly clear in the great commission (Matthew 28:16-20) that we are to go out and try to bring souls to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 Paul makes it clear that we should be united in Christ and not different views of religious leaders.
If you read in Calvin: Commentaries Chapter VII, Calvin resorts to name calling to prove his point. “Some Theologians would make foreknowledge the mother of election and that very foolishly and childishly.” When someone has a legitimate argument name calling is not necessary. I guess I go with the foolish and Childish theologian Peter. an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:( 1 Peter 1:1-2 ESV) (emphasis is mine).I also believe the great theologian Paul when in Romans 3:22, he said “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:” Or John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Notice all and whoever in these verses. These words are used because God offers salvation to all that believe.
God saw my life from the very beginning. He knew every mistake I would make. He knew every sin I would commit. He knew the exact date that I would be saved by the knowledge of God’s mercy through the death of Jesus Christ. He knew when I would answer His calling on my life. Nothing I have done or could do will get me into heaven. When God spoke I answered. Did I have a choice? I had the same choice Adam had when Eve offered him that apple. I could follow death or follow eternal life through Jesus Christ. God does not make any follow Him. There are many that know of Jesus that will perish in Hell because they do not know Him.(Matthew 7:22-23)
I have heard the “what do you make of Romans 9?” argument before. If you interpret Romans 9 with the rest of the book of Romans, you will see a pattern of Paul teaching that salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ. In Chapter 9 he is referring to the Jews who believe that they can be saved by following the law. (Romans 9:3-4) (Romans 9:30-31) He is speaking of the Jews that do not feel it is fair for God to grant mercy to the gentiles who did not seek mercy.
As for the shipwreck analogy that Jessica pointed out, yes it would be like God sitting on a raft saving those who ask for help. Do I have to deal with the hell issue in defending my belief? No, God tells us in 1 Timothy 2:3 He wants all to be saved by coming to the knowledge of the truth. Sometimes my kids are struggling with something and I offer to help and they refuse. Does it hurt me to see them struggle? Yes! Do I want to help them? Yes! Should I force them to let me? Not if it is something they need to do.
Curtis I love your analogy of the courtroom. It is the perfect picture of God’s Grace. The only problem is God doesn’t just go in and pay the fine because He has the money. He received the money through His insurance policy on His Son. If the guilty people will believe that His son gave His life so that Dad would have the cash to pay their fines He will pay them. Yes, God and the Son still get the glory.
I have done nothing to deserve grace. I deserve to burn in Hell for all eternity. I thank God that He loved me so much that He gave me a way to be with Him.
I did not write this post to insult anyone or to criticize their beliefs and theology. Calvinism gets the largest share of Blogs and for those who are struggling with the truth they need to see both sides. I would love comments on this post but I do not want to see anyone attacking anyone just explaining beliefs.