An Honest Answer For My Arminian Friends

calvinism-question-1024x628Recently, a blog post over at Patheos has been making the rounds. It asks what the author calls “A Sincere Question For My Calvinist Friends.” I figured a sincere question deserves an honest response.

First, one doesn’t have to look far to see that this author was not properly catechized in the doctrines of the Reformed faith. He doesn’t properly present Calvinism, and claims that some Calvinists held that God elects some and simply leaves the rest to decide their own fate. That is not Calvinism, and the fact that this author thinks it is proves he doesn’t get it. However, I’m sure others will be along to demonstrate his shortcomings in this area.

Second, the sincere question is really just an appeal to emotion. The whole post is an exercise in doing theology by emotion. He doesn’t attempt any sort of exegesis, he doesn’t even reference any scripture (except when discussing how Calvinists have responded to him in the past). He simply tries to tug at your heart-strings, and get you to default to his position because it is more emotionally satisfying. At least he thinks it is more emotionally satisfying. Again though, I’m sure others will give a more in-depth response to that aspect.

I wanted to actually take some time to answer his question.

What if it’s the person you love most in the world?

He follows it up with an expanded form of the question.

And what if you find out the reason they aren’t there is simply because they didn’t get elected? (Emphasis in original)

First, lets talk about the question. As I said above, the author doesn’t understand Calvinism, and is trying to get you to change your theological convictions based on emotional manipulation.

The fact is, that if someone I love, be it my wife… my parents… a future child… or anyone… isn’t in heaven. It won’t be because they didn’t get elected. It will be because they are sinners who have spent their whole life rebelling against God, and spurning his free offer of salvation for whosoever will believe. Nothing prevents them from turning to God except their own stubbornness.

Second, I have utter confidence that the person I love most in this world (at least in the way the author is framing it) will be in heaven. I can see the fruit of the Spirit in her life, and I have no reason to question or doubt her salvation. The ones whom God elected, he also justified and sanctified. He started a good work in them, and will be faithful to bring it to fruition. It is not a guessing game.

Finally, the person I love most in this world (in the sense that the Bible frames it) is seated at the right hand of the Father. It is he who will come again to judge the living and the dead. Will I be sad if a loved one is in hell? I suppose I will. However, as much as I love my wife, my parents, my friends… I love God more. If I am forced to choose between my wife, and Jesus… I’m choosing Jesus every time. That is what this author misses.

4 thoughts on “An Honest Answer For My Arminian Friends

  1. //The fact is, that if someone I love, be it my wife… my parents… a future child… or anyone… isn’t in heaven. It won’t be because they didn’t get elected. It will be because they are sinners who have spent their whole life rebelling against God, and spurning his free offer of salvation for whosoever will believe. Nothing prevents them from turning to God except their own stubbornness.//

    Isnt that answer a cop out sort of? The calvinist believes only those who are elected will come to salvation. And those he didnt elect-the reprobate-he passed by, leaving them to their fate without intervening in their salvation. Of course the reprobate is guilty and culpable of all their sins. But the deciding factor in their eternal destination rests with the sovereignty of God which didn’t produce in them the gift of saving faith. They were not regenerated, not because of their own freewill ,they didnt want to. But because they dont have the freewill to choose God. They didnt believe, because they are not his sheep.

    I will appreciate your thoughts on that. And corrections where I have erred

    1. Enoch, it isn’t a cop out at all. The reason a person is in Hell is because they are a sinner. God is not obligated to save them, or to offer them a way to be saved. The deciding factor for why they are in hell is that they have rebelled against God and refused to accept his offer of salvation. They were capable of doing so, they just refused to.

      What God does in salvation is to give them a will that causes them not to refuse.

      Whether or not they were not regenerated because of their own free will is irrelevant… because their ultimate destination is a result of their free will, because they freely chose to sin, and they freely chose not to obey God’s command to repent and believe the Gospel.

    2. If I may presume to contribute to Mr. Arsenal’s answer, one of the primary texts which come close to explaining why God doesn’t choose some is Romans 9:22-24, which reads:

      22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
      23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-
      24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? – Romans 9:22-24

      The point is that it is all about God’s glory, which ought to be the believer’s primary concern, whether he graciously mercies a sinner with the gift of faith (Romans 9:16), or whether he doesn’t.

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