Recently, 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.