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. †


Larry said...


Yes this one is the cheese on the mouse trap. It was for me coming from Arminian Baptist to Calvinistic doctrine. Because I was so terrorized of not “being saved” the Arminian way the “unconditional” of unconditional election sounded “gospel-like” and very tempting. At first you think, “what a relief”, then you read on and find yourself “out of the frying pan and into the fire”.



Henning said...

Hi David,

Having been raised as a Calvinist, I am now a Lutheran thanks to many of the folks preaching God's Word faithfully on Pirate Christian Radio. Here's my take on TULIP:

T – Total Depravity
U – Undeserved Election
L – Loving Atonement
I – Immeasurable Grace
P – Preparation of the Saints

Peace in Jesus,


Steve Martin said...

Nice job, David!

It just boggles my mind how Calvinists continue to WANT to blame God (Adam did this also)for our desiring to be our own gods.

And they do it all in the face of Holy Scripture to the contrary.

David Cochrane said...

Thank you for your kind comments St Stephen, St Henning and St Lawrence. Very encouraging. I like that new acrostic Henning. Cool!

God's peace. †

Anonymous said...

Roman 9 starts off talking about salvation and also ends talking about salvation. Paul is agonizing over the salvation of Israel in verse 1 (not temporal problems in this world). Individual salvation is the undisputed context of the chapter. And Romans 9 is not an isolated teaching in Scripture. Over and over again, Scripture points to God’s unconditional, electing grace in saving a people for Himself.

Scripture (and Calvinism) also teach that men are 100% responsible. Scripture always puts the responsibility for sinful man rejecting Christ on sinful man. God’s choice not to save everyone (we don’t believe in universalism after all) and allowing some fallen men to have their own way. God gives grace to His chosen people, and allows others to have their own way.

So unless you’re a universalist, then you (Lutheran) also have to deal with the fact that God created this kind of world. God chose this world out of infinite number of choices.....and this world with all it’s people will end like God had planned it. And in this world God chose to create.... millions of people die every year without hearing the gospel. Yet God chose to make these people anyway. That was sovereign choice. God knew the out-come to creating this world. Billions of people without a “chance”. And Billions more that did hear the gospel and would reject that “choice”. He even knew that He would flood the world of millions in Noah’s day that included children. Children who only new wickedness from the world they were born into.....That was God's choice.

So you still do not have a theodicy that get’s God “off the hook”. In any theology, we have very hard questions that we cannot answer. But denying biblical teachings like unconditional election will cause more harm than good.