Lecture 17: The Doctrine of Salvation (part 3)
Course: Systematic Theology II
Lecture: The Doctrine of Salvation (part 3)
II. The Doctrine of Salvation (Soteriology)
A. Introductory Issues
B. Order of Salvation
2. Views of Predestination
Another issue that we just could spend hours and hours on this. It is just an interesting and puzzling question but we don’t have time to do that so we are going to it fairly quickly. It is the question of single or double predestination. That is among those who hold to unconditional election then you face the question of whether or not you can conceive of this unconditional election as involving either that God predestined before He created anything or envisioned anything He predestined that there be saved and unsaved people. That was His idea from the outset as it were, saved and unsaved people. So He predestined both those. Or did He rather envision a creation and a fall of all humanity, obviously everyone in Adam deserves condemnation, out of that fallen humanity he elects a people who He will save. So that would be the single predestinarian view. The difference really has to do with who it is that God is envisioning as predestined. Is it initially even before He even creates or before the fall, before anything has happened in the mind of God (in the logic of
this) He says I want to save and reprobate people so there is double predestination. Or does God think creation then fall (Adam is going to sin, al of humanity in him is going to deserve condemnation) out of that condemned humanity I will elect a people whom I will save. And that would be the single predestinarian view
The fact is this is not an entirely academic issue. The fact is there are some practical consequences. Both sides on this issue that is the single predestinarians and the double predestinarians both hold to unconditional election. In other words, they are both in the reformed camp, they both hold the view that it is ultimately God’s choice not ours that results in people being in either heaven or hell. Both agree to this. The question is really in plan of God, the outworking of God, how did He work it so that there would be both redeemed and condemned? Was it because He said from the very outset, I want both or was it because He said I will make creatures who fall and out of that I will save some. Granted, as soon as you say He saved some not all you
will end up realizing that it is similar in outcome to the double predestinarian view.
a. Double Predestinarian
This most often associated with what is called Supralapsarianism. Have you heard that term before? Those of you who are reading Erickson, he has a discussion of this. I don’t recall off hand if Grudem does; uses the terms or not. The Supralapsarian view is the view that “supra” above or in front of or before the fall (the lapse) God chose that there would be saved and condemned people; Supralapsarian. You can see how a Supralapsarian view involves double predestination view. If now one has fallen yet and God decides that there will be saved and unsaved, well obviously, that there will be saved and unsaved is His decision totally apart form the question of the fall, altogether. What arguments might be given? Let me just give you a couple real quickly. One is that the absolute sovereignty of God and it strikes people that this is the clearest way of accounting for God’s sovereign decree of all things that would include from the outset predestination of all whether to salvation or condemnation. For those who are interested in following Calvin (Calvin himself – if you really want to be a Calvinist) this was Calvin’s view. You can see this if you want to look for example in Calvin’s Institutes book III 21.5 and book III 23.6. You can see his discussion of and defense of double predestinarian view.
Biblically the main passages cited are these two: Romans 9:22 and 1 Peter 2:8.
Romans 9:22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? Doesn’t this indicate, says the double predestinarian that God is the one who destines (hence predestination) to their destruction.
1 Peter 2:8 and, "A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE" for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. So they were appointed to destruction. Doesn’t that indicate predestination to destruction? Hence a double predestinarian view.
b. Single Predestinarian
The Single Predestinarian view is most often associated with an infralapsarian. (I am not going to bother at this point with the Sublapsarian, it isn’t relevant to this discussion. The Sublapsarian is just a variation of the infralapsarian) Infralapsarian is the view that the predestination of God takes place among those who have fallen. Infra – after the fall has happened. So what God predestines is fallen people to salvation. The point here is that He did not
predestine people to fall. He did not predestine people to be condemned. He predestined some fallen people to be saved. Do catch the difference? In the double predestinarian view you have to say that if he predestined people (the fall hasn’t happened yet) He predestines people to condemnation or salvation. I must entail that predestines those who will be condemned to fall. The fall seems to be part of that predestination of God. This is what the single predestinarian view tries to avoid in saying, that God predestined the fall but rather out of the fall He predestines the elect people to be saved.
What arguments are give for this? First, the passages I mentioned to you a moment ago Romans 9:22 and 1 Peter 2:8 both of them have nuances of language that seems to indicate that Paul and Peter, respectively, viewed the destiny of the two groups, the saved and the condemned as resulting from different kinds of causes. Let me read the Romans 9 one first. Listen to the difference in language and you have to ask the question, Yes ultimately God
obviously is control of the ultimate destinies of everyone if you hold to unconditional election. Could He have saved everyone? Yes.
Could He have saved ten more people than He willed? Yes. Could He have saved a hundred more people than He willed, could He have saved a million more people than He willed? Yes. So isn’t it ultimately in God’s hands who is saved and who is not? Yes. Nobody is disputing this. What is a dispute is the basis for their condemnation of the unsaved.
Romans 9:22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, Do you see the difference? In the first, verse 22, vessels prepared for destruction. It doesn’t say who prepared them. Verse 23, vessels of mercy which He prepared for glory. The language would indicate that there is asymmetrical relationship (that is, it is not the same kind of relationship) between God’s relation to the
condemned and God’s relation to the saved. To the saved, it says He prepared them for glory. Of the condemned, it says they were prepared for condemnation and it doesn’t attribute this to God as the subject of it. So, at least, I think the language here would lead one to say Paul is meaning to make a distinction of some kind. Clearly both are in the hands of God. Clearly, I will have mercy on who I will have mercy. So clearly it is in the hands of God but on the question of moral accountability they prepared themselves for destruction God prepared them for glory. Could of the group who prepared themselves for destruction, could God have saved any or all of them had He chosen? Yes. But of course salvation isn’t owing to any of us. The problem becomes in my judgment (you probably can tell which view I hold, I favor the single predestinarian view) the problem with the double predestinarian view is that it is extremely difficult to explain why God is not morally culpable for sin if He has the same relationship to condemnation as He does to salvation. For that matter this is exactly why (those of you who had me for theology 1) I want to insist that we make a distinction between the direct causative will of
God and the permissive will of God. A Calvinist ought to have a vibrant conception of the permissive will of God but a kind of permission over which God exercise absolute meticulous providential governance. So He doesn’t have to accept anything that He doesn’t want. He isn’t stuck with anything that doesn’t fulfill His purposes but none the less He genuinely permits things to happen, people to do things that He does not have the same kind of causal relationship to as He does the good that people do. It seems to me that is what is going on here is that the causal relationship between condemnation and salvation is asymmetrical. God causes one by allowing sin to take place and all of us in Adam deserving condemnation, that does it. God doesn’t have to
predestine us for this. All He has to do is know that this is exactly what Adam is going to do. But, salvation, He prepares us for glory. He actively, directly, causally brings this about. I think that what the single predestinarian view does is indicate an asymmetry or lack of exact parallel between God’s relations to condemnation and God’s relation to salvation.
The other text, 1 Peter 2:8
1 Peter 2:8 and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message--which is also what they were destined for (NIV) The question is, was the stumbling destined or their disobedience destined? What was destined? The stumbling or the
condemnation? It seems like it could be either one of these. If you held a double predestinarian view you might favor the stumbling itself was predestined. Let me read this text in the NASB as well. You can also read it as the condemnation was destined for those who stumbled.
1 Peter 2:8 and, "A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE" for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. They put the word “doom” the NASB is biased toward a single predestinarian view, that is the way they translate it. It could be to
this stumbling or to this condemnation. To this sin or to this judgment? They put it in terms of the judgment. I think that makes better sense in the whole of Scripture in terms of God’s relationship to evil.
Psalm 5:4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You.
I think that we have to be very, very careful that we don’t formulate a doctrine of divine sovereignty that crosses the line into charging God with direct causative evil doing. It is a very different thing in saying that god has absolute oversight, sovereign, providential meticulous control of evil and everything else is different from saying he doesn’t. I don’t see with the double predestinarian view how you can avoid saying that God doesn’t.
Student Question: unintelligible
Answer: I would hold the same view here, that in one sense He ordained it, that is He created creatures who He full well knew would sin against Him (same thing with Adam in the Garden) this is not up in the air, open for question, wondering if it is going to happen or not, contingency plans ready. Satan we really don’t know about. We don’t know that Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 are about the fall of Satan, we don’t know that. So frankly, we don’t know anything about this except that it happen. But the Garden of Eden we do know, we have Genesis 3. We know it happened before Genesis 3 and it probably happened after Genesis 1:31
Genesis 1:31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
It hard for to imagine that Genesis 1:31 could be true with part of what God had made had already sinned against Him. So probably between Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 3:1 we have the fall of Satan. But in Genesis 3 you have not only God knowing that Adam is going to sin but He provides the environment in which this going to take place. He put the tree there; the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He said don’t eat of it or you will die. He set up all of the
conditions necessary for this to happen and yet when it happens, Adam bears responsibility for this. But God knows precisely that it going to happen. Do I believe that God could have moved in Adam’s heart so he would have not sinned and there would not have been a fall? Yes, absolutely. So in that sense He ordained evil by setting things up in such a way that evil was evil was inevitable and yet He did not make Adam sin. That is the fine line of difference here between those two things. It is huge morally. It is the difference between entrapment and a sting operation where by the criminal is prosecuted and convicted. Think of the difference between those two things. In the sting operation where you set up the environment for the drugs to sold. If all that you do is provide the occasion for a person to do what he most wants to do, buy drugs or sell drugs or whatever the crime is, that person bears responsibility. It is entrapment if you cause the person to do it, you are forcing heir hand to do something. So God sets up the environment. I think the same happened with Joseph, we talked about this in theology 1, with Joseph and his brothers. Why did God give Joseph the dreams? Probably it added to the occasioning of
the brothers resentment and hating and wanting to get rid of their stinking little brother Joseph and all that happened.
The difference between these two positions can be summarized this way. The difference between single and double predestination can be summarized this way. It has to do with how you answer the question, why are the reprobate condemned? If you hold a single predestinarian view you say they are condemned because they sinned and brought on themselves just judgment. If you hold a double predestinarian view you have to say God elected them to sin and be condemned. It puts the moral responsibility, it seems to me, on God for the condemnation. Both views would agree, why are the redeemed saved? Because God chose them. And yet we bear responsibility in that. None the less God is the one glorified.
Here is another way to put the point. If Ephesians 1, if all glory goes to God for salvation and it must go to God for salvation and God’s relationship to evil is exactly the same as His relationship to good, then why isn’t God morally culpable just as much for evil as He is morally praiseworthy for good? Don’t you have to have a different kind of connection between God and these two elements of good and evil?
Student Question: unintelligible
Answer: I don’t know about the latter, I haven’t thought about that. Good can be used for evil. Eating is a good thing but it can lead to eating disorders and gluttony and all kinds of things. But you first point, God does use evil to bring about good, that is absolutely true. My point is though number one is that you don’t want to say that makes that evil good. We don’t want to say that the ends justify the means. That all of a sudden that evil becomes good because God uses it for good. We wouldn’t want to say that of the people who put Christ on the cross; what they actually did was good because it accomplished our salvation. No, what they did in putting the Son of God on the cross was horrifically evil. Lets not minimize the evil of evil, the evil reality of evil and because God uses it for good, it doesn’t change the fact that it is evil. Nor can we say that if God uses a certain mechanism to ensure that He gets all the glory for
the good that is accomplished because He does it. Work out you salvation with fear and trembling for God is the One at work in you both the will and work for His good pleasure. He gets all the glory for salvation. If the very same mechanism is in place in relation to evil so God causes the evil to happen in the same way He cause good to happen on what basis can we say, God is not morally culpable in the same manner He is morally praiseworthy? So there
must be an asymmetry, that is what I am arguing.
Student Question: unintelligible
Answer: Let’s not make evil good. Evil is evil and evil will be evil for ever and ever. He is in charge of it, and I affirm that entirely. I affirm that God governs the world with meticulous providence. So that absolutely everything that happens fits the plan that He has for creation. Having said that, then it seems to me that we have got to work hard on the question of God’s relationship to good and evil as separate realities and how capture that. In my judgment the problem with the Supralapsarian double predestinarian view is that it indicates a kind of symmetry between the two and that is problematic. So a single predestinarian has different answers to these two questions. Why is it that are some are saved and in heaven? God elected, God worked in their hearts, brought them. But the question, why are the condemned are condemned and in hell for forever? It requires a different answer, you don’t say that God elected, you say they sinned. Could God have kept them from sinning? Yes, that doesn’t change the fact they sinned. Could have God saved them from
their sin? Yes, it doesn’t change the fact they sinned. So it still is ultimately a Calvinist reformed model that understands this but it sees what happens as occurring in relation to good and evil two different ways.
Student Question: unintelligible
Answer: All of the evil, everywhere in the Bible, is ultimately traceable to moral creatures. All of the good, always owing to God and His goodness. God gets all the glory, we get all the blame, that is the way the Bible is.
Student Question: part unintelligible. Are you saying we are elected based upon the path we have chosen in our walk with God and that is how God
Answer: No, neither of these views would hold this. They would not hold that God knows the path that we choose and on the basis of that elects us to be saved. That is the conditional election view. God’s election is conditioned upon what might be called “foreseen faith” or “foreseen rebellion” or foreseen rejection. So God elects those who He sees will believe in Him and He doesn’t elect those who don’t, so His election is conditioned upon that. That is a very very prevalent view in our churches, it is an Arminian view, it is wide spread but it is not the view that I believe is biblical and it is not a view that we commend as an institution here at Southern as well for the most part. We hold a view of unconditional election. So God elects people and the elect come because of God’s work in them in a special way that brings them to saving faith and the non elect cannot come. So, for the Calvinist point of view, if God looked ahead at the mass of humanity and slated to see how many would come, do you know what the answer would be? Zero, zip, none because total depraved people who are dead in trespasses and sins won’t come, they just won’t.
Student Question: unintelligible something about do I have choice in the matter whether I have salvation or not.
Answer: You have choice in the matter to do the one thing that you will choose to do, that is the one thing that you want most to do. In the example you are using here, if you were the unsaved person, the two of you, each of you by your own natures would never come. Think of Romans 3. They have all turned aside, there is none that does good, there is none who seeks God. Think of Romans 8. The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, it does not subject itself to the law of God. It does not even able to do so and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Think of Ephesians 2:1-3
Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (here is where the Gospel comes in). So the fact that both of you by your sinful natures in Adam do what you most want to do, which is reject the Gospel. You are in the First Corinthians crowd of the Greeks who look at the Gospel as foolishness or of the Jews who look at the Gospel as weakness. But to those who are called the power of God and the wisdom of God. Both you by nature and all of us by nature, that is the totality of humanity by nature, every single person from Adam all the way (BREAK IN THE RECORDING HERE AT 34:22)
Then of the Gospel would say no, absolutely no. So what God does, He enables (which is too weak of a word He does do that but He does more than that) and He enlivens (there is a better word- think of Wesley the Arminian. Wesley’s great verse in “And Can it Be”
Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
So what happened in eternity past, elected some to be saved. The big question is, why didn’t He elect everyone? Because the Calvinist God could save all. The Arminian God never could because He is always (as much as He want, He wants everybody saved, He wants Hell depopulated, He wants everybody in but human freedom says no to God) so the Arminian God cannot get what He wants. The Calvinist God does and He chooses to save some. This is why the question, why doesn’t he save all, is one of the toughest questions faced in this view. Everybody would reject, but He says some I will save. What does He do to the some? He has to change their natures. He has to work in them so that they are enlivened to want something that they did not want before, to
long for something that before they hated. Remember John 3 where Jesus says men do not come to light, they hate the light because they love their wicked deeds. So what has to happen is that we have to have a transformation of our natures so that we love what we previously hated and we hate what we previously loved and that happens with the elect.
Can you come? Rob Lister mentioned in class last time the distinction between natural ability and moral ability. There is nothing in you nature that would make it impossible (mechanically) to choose to come to Christ. It is not like my asking you to choose to fly. So you don’t have a natural inability to come but you have a moral inability. You find the Gospel of Christ, the notion of Christ and the cross and sin and salvation through shed blood, you find that morally repulsive. So you have a moral inability to come (this what Edwards argued). So you have to have a moral transformation of heart to want to come to do what you most want to do. No it is to repent and believe and be saved.
I was raised in an Arminian church, Arminian upbringing all the way until I came to seminary and learning these things about God and salvation were for me extremely traumatic, years of agonizing and ultimately liberating. Because I believe that this what Scripture truly teaches and it has and affect on you, on your view of God, on your view of yourself, everything, a holistic effect that is nothing short of liberating but is a hard one, that is my experience because of how ingrained these other ideas are in our minds.
Student Question: unintelligible
Answer: Everybody agrees that whether you hold a Supralapsarian view or an infralapsarian view that the decisions about all of this were made before creation. So there is a logical order. It is not as though God waited for the fall to happen and then He went, Oh no, what am I going to do now, well I guess I’ll save some out of. No it is not a temporal infralapsarian, it is a logical.
Student Question: unintelligible
Answer: If you hold either view, you have to have the decree for Christ to come after the fall. The logic of this is that you have to have fallen people before you have a redeemer. But all of this has to do with the logical order of the decree; the supra/infralapsarian debate.
Student Question: unintelligible
Answer: That moral inability is still inability and therefore how can you held accountable for that? I think the answer to this is that our moral inability is owing ultimately to what we have done in Adam (if you hold a realist view of original sin) or what Adam did whose act and consequence is imputed to us (if you hold a federal headship view of original sin). In either one of those ways Romans 5 has to be reckoned with, through one act of unrighteousness the result of condemnation to all men. So hence our moral inability has to do with what we did (whether you think of the we as the collective we in Adam the representative or the collective we actually in Adam in his act). I think the truth is that both are involved. I think both have biblical warrant, a kind of blend of the federal headship and realist view is what Hoekema argues for in his book Created in God's Image. So I think that is the answer. We act out our nature. His is the principle, we always act out our natures. What are our natures like? They are sinful, depraved. So we do what we want to do.
Everything acts out of its nature. You do acts out of it nature, you cat acts out of its nature (if it has one) everything acts out of it nature. (Sorry, but I am not sure if cats are alive). God acts out His nature. This is the security of heaven, we will act out of our natures that will be conformed entirely to the restored image of Christ hence we will never sin. Just try libertarian freedom on and contemplate eternity.
Student Question: unintelligible
Answer: No, not only that. The difference here has to do with God could not know that we would do something, that is impossible for us to do. God doesn’t know at five o’clock this evening you might choose to have a hamburger or you might choose to eat this tree out here. It is not in you nature to do this. Maybe that is not a good example. You might go for a walk or might fly. He doesn’t know that you would fly because you can’t fly. He can’t look ahead of time and know that a free creature would accept Christ because a free creature in sin would not. That is where the difference comes. God can know by middle knowledge (knowledge of what free creatures would do) and God does have middle knowledge. Jesus in Matthew 11 Woe to you Tyre and Sidon if the miracles had been performed in Sodom and Gomorrah they would have repented. God has middle knowledge. The difference is that when God knows what a free creature would do it is something consistent with their nature. He simply knows within those circumstances what that would be; when it is consistent with their nature.
Student Question: unintelligible
Answer: Everyone whose name had not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the lamb who had been slain. Whether you are single or double predestinarian, all of this order of the decree takes place simultaneously in eternity past before the creation of the heaven and the earth. So election of those whose names will be written or at that point are written in lamb’s book of life takes place whether you are single or double predestinarian takes place before the foundation of the world. The difference between the two has to do with God’s perspective on what He is
doing. Is He electing (choosing) people to be condemned people who in His mind logically so far they haven’t yet sinned. Which entails He has to bring about their sin in order to fulfill the condemnation of them or does He have in mind people who have in His mind logically (it hasn’t happened yet) people who have sinned out of sin, all of humanity has sinned, He elects some to be saved.
Calling refers to the proclamation of the Gospel so that people hear the offer of salvation and are asked (invited woed, worked in) to come. If you hold an Arminian view there really is one kind of call and that is the general call. If you hold a Calvinist view there are two kinds of calls.
Calvinists and Arminians agree that there is a general call.
Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
General call, whether people heed it or not, it doesn’t change the fact that it is given to everyone.
Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
This an echo of Isaiah 55:1
Isaiah 55:1 "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.
John 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.
It is very very clear that there is this general call, whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved in Romans 10. It is the call that forth when the gospel is preached. When people in a mixed audience of elect and non elect probably, hear that one message and so the general call goes out to all people.
2. Special or effectual call
There is, I believe, a special or effectual call which in the 5 points of Calvinism the “I” in “TULIP” is irresistible grace that is this doctrine. Irresistible grace is a different name for the same thing as effectual call. God works in the heart of one of His elect ones so that the call to come is effective, hence the effectual call. Or the grace given is not resisted ultimately, the person comes to saving faith.
Is this effectual call taught in Scripture? I think without any question it is. It hard for me to imagine denying it because it is so patently clear.
Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Does any Orthodox believers who believe in heaven and hell believe that God predestines everyone to be saved, regardless of what view, whether it is conditional election or unconditional election? No. Whom He predestines, He calls. Don’t you see that the calling is of a particular group, namely of the predestined. But the next phrase makes it even clearer: whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. When Billy
Graham preaches he calls the entire stadium to come. If Romans 8:30 means all who are called at a Billy Graham meeting then what is the implication? They are all justified. It doesn’t mean that does it? It doesn’t mean everyone who receives the general call is justified. So what must this be? A special effectual call. Namely, it is a call that works. It is a call by which those called are justified. Isn’t that what Romans 8:30 is saying, these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified. All of those whom He called are justified. That has to be a subcategory of the general call, it has to a special category of the predestined elect ones who are called and when they are called, all of those who are called are justified and of course, they will be glorified. It argues for eternal security as well.
1 Corinthians 1:9
1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
It is interesting that church ἐκκλησία (ekklesia) καλέω (ek kaleo) if it were given more literal translation the church is the company, the people or the group of the called out ones. We are called, that is who we are.
I don’t think he means there that it is the general call of the Gospel to all people. I think that it is more likely that he means the special call that brought you to faith; the special call by which you are justified. I think so because this what he has in mind as he continues in 1 Corinthians 1.
1 Corinthians 1:24
1 Corinthians 1:22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Obviously in verse 23 when he says we preach Christ crucified, he is talking about a general call; all the Jews, all the Greeks are called. And how do the Jews and Greeks generally respond when called? It is foolishness, it is a stumbling block but to those who are “the called” so, it can’t be the general call. Because the general call was the preaching of Christ by which the Jews and Greeks generally said, no way. But “the called” don’t say, no way. So do you see how there is the call and there is the called. There is the preached at, the general call and then there is “the called” verse 24
24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. They see it entirely differently, the called do. So it must be a different kind of call; an effective call, a call that works.
Romans 9:23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
So there again you have this notion of why is it that you are a vessel of mercy prepared for glory because you were called to receive it.
I argue in the essay in the volume that Tom Schreiner and I edited, my chapter in there, argues that unconditional election and effectual calling mutually entails one another. That if you argue for either one of them you have got the other. They are mutually entailing doctrines. Can you see how effectual calling entails unconditional election?
I’m thinking of Romans 8:30 whom he called he also justified, not who he called from among those some of them were justified and some weren’t, no. All of them called are justified. The call is effective in doing this.
How does that entail unconditional election? If there is a call that goes out there has to be a people for whom that call entails. Because there is also this general call that goes to everybody. So if there is a general call that goes to everybody, and of course not everybody is saved and there is another call that goes out and all of those who are called are saved then God is the one who delegates or assigns to whom this call is given that is effective. What does
that require? Election. That is God chooses those to whom this call is given because the general call goes out to everyone, the effectual call does not. The effectual call requires choosing to whom the call is given.
Student Question: unintelligible
Answer: No, it can’t work that way because the only call in conditional election is the general call. Prevenient grace goes to everyone. So there can not be in the Arminian conception of conditional election a call that is necessarily effect. Because the whole notion of it is that God gives grace to everyone making it possible for anyone and everyone to come. The reason He elects Bill and Sam and Suzy but not George and Tim and Frank is because the first set God
knows ahead of time when given prevenient grace they will come. So He elects them conditioned upon knowing what they will do when given the general call; the general call, prevenient grace. The other people when given that same prevenient grace, that same general call they say no, so He doesn’t elect them. So there cannot be in the Arminian view. How do you account for Romans 8:30? Whom he called He justified. That is just absolutely clear cut.
Student Question: unintelligible
Answer: Yes Acts 7:51
Acts 7:51 "You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.
Were you in chapel this morning? In chapel this morning a Jews For Jesus gentleman (a very fine man) preached from Matthew 23 end of the chapter where he said Jerusalem Jerusalem I have longed I have longed for you come, gather you as a hen gathering her chicks under her wings but you would not. Arminians will camp on that and say see it was their stubborn. No, the things is you have Matthew 23 and you have John 6 and they are both true. Matthew 23 says they didn’t come because they chose not to, John 6 says they didn’t come because the Father didn’t give them to the Son. Both are true. So both are true, the Gospel has to go out and if people don’t believe it, they have hardness of heart and they reject what they have heard. It is also true that the Gospel goes out and God works in the hearts of the called so normally, of Jews and Greeks, they were rejected, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24) they see and they come.
Student Question: unintelligible
Answer: Well goodness all of these things. I grew up in an Arminian Baptist church and questions like the love of God, Doesn’t God love the world John 3:16, doesn’t God want all to be saved, how can it be fair for God to choose some and not others, these were all questions that bothered me deeply until I had learned enough and studied enough and thought enough and prayed enough and become much more conversant with the questions and the issues
and the answers that I finally adopted a fundamentally Calvinist view believing that this what Scripture teaches. It is those kinds questions , I think it is the kinds of questions that Rob Lister talked about with you. If any of you is struggling with this question I would be happy to talk with you in my office about it if you want to come see me and chat a bit on these questions. Because I know they are hard. I spent probably close to three years struggling with these
things before I was settled completely. Maybe after two years I was very much inclined in this direction but it took me another year to settle completely these issues. So I understand that it is not easy.