“If you ask, ‘Why then are not all men saved’ the whole law and the testimony answer, First, Not because of any decree of God; not because it is his pleasure they should die; for, As I live, saith the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth.’ (Ezek. 18:3, 32.) Whatever be the cause of their perishing, it cannot be his will, if the oracles of God are true; for they declare, ‘He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance;’ (2 Pet. 3:9;) ‘He willeth that all men should be saved.’ And they, Secondly, declare what is the cause why all men are not saved, namely, that they will not be saved: So our Lord expressly, ‘Ye will not come unto me that ye may have life.’ (John 5:40.) ‘The power of the Lord is present to heal’ them, but they will not be healed. ‘They reject the counsel,’ the merciful counsel, ‘of God against themselves,’ as did their stiff-necked forefathers. And therefore are they without excuse; because God would save them, but they will not be saved: This is the condemnation, ‘How often would I have gathered you together, and ye would not!’ (Matt. 23:37.)(more…)
A friend shared this video with me on Facebook. I liked it, and so I am sharing it here.
In this video Dr. Oord gives us “a short explanation of a Wesleyan view of God’s offer of salvation and free, creaturely response.”
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—” (Ephesians 2:8 NRSV)
Many Calvinists fear that any retreat from the conviction that God causes faith will make salvation a human accomplishment. If faith is something we do, then salvation rests on our deeds and no longer on God’s grace. If faith is viewed as our part in the process of salvation, then salvation must he viewed as a cooperative affair, and we should then describe ourselves as self-saviors in part.
But the flaw in this Calvinist fear lies in its improper understanding of the nature of faith itself. The Bible itself does not describe faith as a work that accomplishes a task, or as a deed that establishes merit, or as a lever that forces God to act. Instead, we find that genuine faith is something quite different. As Paul’s treatment of Abraham shows, the patriarch’s faith had no power over God, earned no merit before God and stood as the polar opposite to honorific deeds. Abraham believed God, and righteousness was ‘credited’ to him, not paid to him. God alone justified Abraham freely on the basis of Abraham’s faith (Rom 4:1-6). Since by its very nature faith confesses the complete lack of human merit and human power, it subtracts nothing from the Savior’s grace or glory. By its very nature, faith points away from all human status and looks to God alone for rescue and restoration.
— Jerry L. Walls & Joseph R. Dongell, Why I Am Not a Calvinist (2004) pp. 77, 78.
An email and my response:
Hello Mr. Adams, I read with interest your comments on Calvin's comments on John 3:16 on your web site. I was wondering what your thoughts are on Jesus' words as recorded in John 6:44: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (NKJV) (It is unfortunate that English editions tend to translate the Greek as "draws" rather than the more accurate "compels" — especially since it is also translated more accurately as "dragged" elsewhere.) Have you considered that perhaps Calvin's "on the other hand" was intended to recognize what the whole of scripture says about this issue? He just may have been appealing to theology that is rooted in scripture itself.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” — John 3:16 (NRSV).
JOHN CALVIN COMMENTS (my responses are in blue):
“’That whosoever believeth on him may not perish.’ It is a remarkable commendation of faith, that it frees us from everlasting destruction. For he intended expressly to state that, though we appear to have been born to death, undoubted deliverance is offered to us by the faith of Christ; and, therefore, that we ought not to fear death, which otherwise hangs over us. And he has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the import of the term world, which he formerly used; for though nothing will be found in the world that is worthy of the favor of God, yet he shows himself to be reconciled to the whole world, when he invites all men without exception to the faith of Christ, which is nothing else than an entrance into life.”
Um. Okay. I think I’m with you there, brother John. (more…)
Dr. Jerry Walls gives his critique of Calvinism, and more specifically, John Piper’s written and held beliefs on the subject, all framed through C.S. Lewis’ rather different views on the matter. In this seminar held at Azusa Pacific University in spring of 2014, Dr. Walls finds Piper’s Calvinism, and indeed Calvinism in general, severely wanting.
In this passage John Calvin says that God sends people to Hell for no other reason than that God wishes to do so:
“Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an invidious charge admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobated…. This they do ignorantly and childishly since there could be no election without its opposite reprobation. God is said to set apart those whom he adopts for salvation. It were most absurd to say, that he admits others fortuitously, or that they by their industry acquire what election alone confers on a few. Those, therefore, whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children.”
— John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (translated by Henry Beveridge), Book 3, Chapter 23.