I Can’t Take a Day Off!
It seems I can’t even take a day off from blogging without something major happening. It appears as though I’ve been issued a challenge, and Cardinal Cormack Murphy-O’Connor said that atheists are less than human! More on the Cardinal in another post.
There are three fallacies with the challenge. First, Rey wants to know how Calvinism can be true and Wesley’s words false. When was the last time we assigned infallibility to Wesley? We believe that the Bible only is infallible, therefore Wesley is simply wrong, which brings us to the other two fallacies.
What obligates God to save a sinner in the first place? Arminian theology assumes that everyone starts with an “A” in class and by our sins we move to an “F.” But that isn’t the case. Humankind is born into sin, and we start with an “F.” We have no desire of our own to move to an “A,” and we don’t live our lives with that intention. Natural man, in his natural state, supresses the knowledge of God and tries to live for himself. The wonder of it all is that God saves any of us rebellious, undeserving sinners! Nothing obligates him to do so; he would be just to let us all burn in hell for the sins we commit everyday. But that isn’t what he’s done; instead, he lovingly predestines some to glory. The Bible’s focus is never on the ones that perish, but always on the ones who are saved. That’s where we should keep our eyes: on the ones that God will save.
Which is why Calvinism believes in evangelism as strongly as it does. Since we don’t know who the elect are, we should never lose an opportunity to reach out to someone with the gospel. God might use you to draw one of his elect to himself. Some might ask, as Wesley does, why bother if the elect are already decided? To that I say, turn your Bibles to Judges 3:28, where it is said that the Lord has given the enemy into Ehud’s hands. That doesn’t mean that Ehud and the Israelites simply sat down on the ground and said, “Why bother? God already gave us the enemy.” No, they fought the battle anyway, even knowing the outcome.
With Arminianism, we have no confidence that anyone can be saved. It is up to the reprobate sinner to decide to let Christ into his heart. Apart from that invitation, God can do nothing. Calvinism teaches the opposite. With Calvinism, we have confidence that many will be saved because God promises to save his elect, fully and completely.
Bottom line here is that God acts with and through us, not over and against us. Ehud still had to fight the battle, even though God gave the enemy into his hand. We still have to preach the gospel, because that is the means by which God will bring his elect to himself. We still have to fight the good fight, just like Ehud did. The Israelites saw no contradiction here, and neither should we.
Finally, what necessitates that God love everyone equally? Are you telling me that God loves Christopher Hitchens–a man who wrote a book entitled God is not Great and is outspoken in his rebellion against God–with the same love as a Christian who loves God first in his life and tries to keep his commands? That reduces God’s love to subhuman capacity. Humans are able to love at different levels. God commands it! I’m supposed to love my wife as Christ loved the church. However, I’m not supposed to love my neighbor’s wife that same way. The love I feel for my wife is very different than the love I feel for my daughter. If humans, made in the image of God, are able to love at different levels and intensities, why can’t God? Why can’t God love some of his creations more than others; so much more, that he elects them and saves them for eternal life with him?
Predestination is not a doctrine of hate, despite how Wesley and others see it. Predestination is God’s ultimate expression of love for the sinner. We love him because he first loved us.