I apologize beforehand that this email is so long.
Wow, I must say, that’s a lot of topics to cover and a lot of rhetorical questions that I feel should be answered. Not so that I can convince you, because I know I can’t. Only God through His Word can convince anyone of any truth. But what I have to point out is that a Christian must stand on the Word of God. It is our ultimate authority for truth. This is why I use so many Scriptures. So if we want to really discuss this with depth and real meaning and truth, we both should be quoting Scripture. And not just Scripture, but Scripture in context. So call me out if I incorrectly interpret the Word of God.
Okay....so I guess I’ll just jump into these many topics of discussion.
Why does election show me God’s grace? We cannot start with election and say that God is gracious because He chose us. That would make no sense at all. Why would God need to elect someone? We must begin by speaking of our total depravity. Scripture teaches us that “there is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Rom. 3:10-12). Also, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Also, “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36). So we have all sinned, we have all turned from God. Nobody desires God. Nobody wants Him. Nobody will ever want Him. So we all remain under God’s wrath. This then gives us a glimpse into our own states. We all hate God. So by our own freewill, we have chosen not to come to Him. We have already chosen not to believe. So God, in His perfect sovereignty, decided to save us despite our own evil desires. So He elected many people, changed their hearts, and given them faith, “and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” There is a great example of this in Acts 16, “one of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” This is election work. So grace is shown ultimately in the fact that if God does not elect, then we are screwed. We would NEVER choose Him. We can’t. We are slaves to sin. And we cannot will ourselves out of slavery.
What is the point in all of this? Here’s the point. John 17:3 says that eternal life is to know Jesus Christ. So our goal is to grow in our relationship with Him and to love Him and to worship Him and to glorify Him. But we cannot do all of this if we don’t know Him. And I’m not saying that Arminians or Calvinists don’t know Him, but that none of us can know Him fully, but we must try. We must constantly be in search of knowing Him. And how do we do that? Through His Word, through experience, through each other. But primarily His Word. So what’s the point? Glorifying God through knowing Him more.
Why stick to this doctrine staunchly? Because it is the correct interpretation of how we are saved. If you had a conviction about truth, would you not stick to it?
Why would/do I teach this doctrine to others? Again, because I believe this is the correct interpretation of Scripture.
What about those who aren’t elected? Those who aren’t elected get exactly what they desire. Everyone who is elected gets something they don’t desire, but is ultimately for their perfect good. Those who aren’t elected live a life that they want. We must understand that nobody deserves God or heaven. Nobody. We all have sinned and nobody seeks after God.
What about limited atonement? We would both agree that not everybody is saved. So what then is atonement? It is the work of God on the cross whereby He cancelled the debt of our sin, appeased His holy wrath against us, and won for us all the benefits of salvation. Does this happen to everybody. Nope. Not everybody’s sin is cancelled. Not everybody goes to heaven. So therefore, the atonement is limited to those who actually are saved.
Many examples to refute both sides. You say that you can give examples that would refute Calvinism. Please, please do. I would love to see every Scripture that contradicts with it.
Why should you narrow your view of Christ? Should you narrow your view of Christ? No. I don’t think anyone should narrow any view of any truth. But is the doctrine of election narrowing a view of Christ? I don’t think so. Christ taught it staunchly.
Am I missing the point? I don’t think so. How someone is saved is quite important.
Christ says to be like little children or we won’t enter the kingdom. What did He mean by that? In both Mark 10:15 and Luke 18:17 Christ is talking to his disciples who were indignant at people bringing Jesus children. I believe that Jesus is telling us to be like children in our love, innocence, and joy for Him. Not to be ignorant, because elsewhere Paul talks about putting childish ways behind you. But not in the sense of joy and love, but in knowledge. We are called to know more and more about God. Look at Hebrews 6:1, “Let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity.”
Should we fight over this debate? No. I don’t think this disagreement should divide. Paul tells us all throughout Ephesians to be united. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t disagree. Through controversy, the truths of Christ have become more clear.
Should we cast away our arrogance and focus on our relationship with Christ? Yes Yes Yes!!!
Should we cast away our arrogance and start with the basics? Yes we should cast away all arrogance. We don’t deserve any grace that God gives to us, so why be arrogant over something you never did? But I think we should not stick with only the basics. That produces weak Christians. Yes Christians, but Christians who can’t grow in Christ maturely.
If man’s freewill is so dead that he cannot choose God, why evangelize? We are called to evangelize because it is the process God uses to reach the called. His joy is in using us to bring about His plans. And we should be oh so grateful for that. It’s an amazing blessing to be able to be used by God. It’s not that God needs us to reach others, but evangelism is part of His perfect plan. Nebuchadnezzar had to learn through experience, but in the end he was shown God’s sovereignty in all things. And here’s what he said, “All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: ‘What have You done?’” (Daniel 4:34-35).
Why break our backs for those destined for hell? Because we love them. And we don’t know who’s elect. Charles Spurgeon once said to the same question, “If all of the elect had a yellow stripe on their backs, then I would quit preaching and begin lifting up shirt-tails.”
All in all, you cannot deny the teaching of election in Scripture. It is quite clear. But how do you interpret election? I believe in Calvin’s interpretation and the early Church’s interpretation. What say you?
For the glory of God,