14
Jun
09

The fallacy of Calvinism at first glance

When anyone gives a fair read of the scriptures they will no doubt encounter what appears to be clear indications of high-sovereignty and election. The opposite is also true. Often there are stories where it appears that various men and God are in REAL “give and take” discussions. If you’ve read the Bible you will easily recall some of those honest to goodness exchanges. I will just simply remind the reader of Abraham and Moses.

Similarly, there are cases where individuals are clearly “elected.” What does it mean? How do we read or define these situations out of the Bible? For instance what do we do with Noah who “found grace in the eyes of the Lord,” Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, David, Jeremiah and Paul? All of these were apparently elected. But then, so was Wyclife, Martin Luther, John Wesley and thousands of others throughout history.

Wesley (a non-Calvinist), in fact, called himself a “brand plucked from the fire,” and felt himself specifically chosen of God ” to spread holiness throughout the land.”

Here then, is perhaps one way to understand particular predestination and election. Like Wesley, there are those that God seems to raise up for a particular “task” at a divine moment in history.

Many Biblical accounts at  first reading appear to be hard and fast evidences of high-Sovereignty. Let me remind the reader once more of this very strategic verse of scripture,

Hebrews 11:6

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

When reading scripture remember to consider the entire circumstance that is being presented. There is often more going on in the context than what first appears. In each of the following cases where high-Sovereignty is evidenced there is, at the same time, equal evidence of a pursuing of God on the part of men.

John the Baptist:

“bring forth fruits meet for repentance”

Nicodemus:   

“came to Jesus by night”

Zacchaeus:

“climbed up into a tree, that he might see Jesus”

Blind Bartimaeus:

                        “called out all the more”

The Thief on the Cross:

“came to his senses”

The Ethiopian Eunuch:

                        “was reading the prophet Isaiah, returning from worship in Jerusalem”

Cornelius:

                        His prayers and alms had come up before the Lord as a testimony of a devout man

Sent out men to Peter on the basis of Faith and prepared ahead of time for the arrival of

the men of God

The Philippian jailor:

Called out, “what must I do to be saved?”

“For by grace (Calvin) are ye saved through faith; (Wesley) and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast”.

   Faith is not works. A man may be put in a rain barrel with the lid nailed shut over his head and everything he needs to go to heaven is inside of that barrel. He must simply call out for mercy. This is not works of any kind as there is no effort on man’s part except to believe Him whom God has sent. The thief on the cross is the principle example of this. He could do nothing for himself except to realize his perilous predicament and cry out for mercy. How this, in the mind of a Calvinist, constitutes “works” is a mystery to this writer. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness!” The sinner must do what does not come naturally, he must look up on the “serpent on the pole” rather than protecting his own interest by climbing higher or stomping the snakes (sins) that surround him. This is saving faith and nothing more is required.

Ephesians 2:8,9

“Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God (Calvin) leadeth thee to repentance (Wesley)?  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart tresurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment”.

Romans 2:4,5

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