Saturday, November 6, 2010

Getting the L Out of Here. Part 14

While discussing the atonement and people trusting in Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection the following phrase came up from one of my Calvinists. This is presented in order for them to prove Jesus’ work is limited to believers rather than for all people.

John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me,

Two things are remarkable about this phrase being presented as proving limited atonement. First it is an assuring promise that those the Father gives Jesus as his sheep will be saved. No ifs ands or buts about it. Against the decision Theology model where it depends on you making the right choice and sticking with it is not the issue. And also those who say by our behaviour change we both prove our faith and maintain it also is shown to be false. But how is it limiting which is terrifying rather than promising which is assurance?

Second we have a partial verse which should be finished to get the entire impact of what Jesus is saying:

John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me,
and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

It is not only bad form to interrupt a person mid sentence and comment but we also see from the remainder of the sentence quite the modifier. The first part can lead, and does lead many, to believe that Jesus is limiting the number of ones who can come. Instead of the terrifying thought; “Have I been given to Jesus?” we have the assuring statement of Jesus not casting anyone off who comes to him. So we can once again look to Romans 10:9,10 and believe this good news and live in the peace that it gives. No questioning necessary!

In the name of Jesus. Amen.†

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wassamotta U from TULIP

One other feature of our fallen human nature is to try to figure out how God is to blame for man’s failures. The U of the acrostic TULIP is an example of that blame laying. It stands for Unconditional Election. Which on the first glance does give God credit for doing the Salvation job fully and without merit. However, there is the another more sinister part of the teaching:

Unconditional Election is the doctrine which states that God chose those whom he was pleased to bring to a knowledge of himself, not based upon any merit shown by the object of his grace and not based upon his looking forward to discover who would "accept" the offer of the gospel. God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of his own will, some for glory and others for damnation (Romans 9:15,21). He has done this act before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4-8).*


In the mind of many so called 5 point Calvinists God is ultimately responsible for people remaining outside of Jesus and spending eternity separated from all goodness and light of our Creator. Let us examine scripture to see if the lost are lost due to God not wanting to save them.

In the above definition Romans 9, or rather two verses from Romans 9, is referred to in teaching God elects some to hell. When one brings up Romans 9 and reads the full context one is hard pressed to see that speaking of the eternal destiny of anyone. We have reference to Israel and his brother Esau and Pharaoh. So the election has to do with the ancestor of our Lord Jesus and the exodus of Israel from Egypt. No mention of anyone either enjoying the Trinity in eternal bliss or spending eternity languishing under his wrath. The destruction mentioned refers to the languishing Edom faced in this world rather than the success usually enjoyed by the first born son. In addition the hardening of Pharaoh caused him to pursue Israel, after the plagues, and the destruction of his armies. God reserves the right to use persons in their sinful acts to accomplish his will and then to save them as he did Saul of Tarsus on his way to persecute Jesus‘ followers.

Ephesians 1:4-8 in no way teaches our Father electing anyone to hell. Rather it teaches the true view of election. Election and predestination always refers to those in Jesus. The Bible also teaches about predestination in Acts 13:48, 2 Thess. 2:13-14, and 2 Tim. 1:9. The "elect" are mentioned in Matthew 24:31, Mark 13:22, Luke 18:7, Romans 8:33, 11:7, Colossians 3:12, 2 Timothy 2:10, Titus 1:1, I Peter 1:2, 1 Peter 5:13; 2 John 1:1, 13.

Due to the fact that there exists no scripture teaching a double election it must be read down on top of scripture in order to defend it. This is abuse of the wonderful gift of scripture and should be cast aside preferring to read scripture as written. This will not satisfy the idle curiosity of humans as to why some are saved and others lost but it is what we have from God on the subject. Jesus lived his perfect life, suffered death on the cross and resurrected for sinners. Better to believe this good news and live in the peace it gives us.

In the name of Jesus. Amen. †