Where is the love of God in Calvinism? Part 6
Unconditional Election: Forced or Free to Choose?
Unconditional election is our second stop on the tiptoeing through the “TULIP” theology. Calvinists say that this principle must rationally follow their dogma of Total Depravity (which they describe as the total inability, not merely sinfulness). A leading Calvinist Herman Hanko says, “No man can claim ever to be either Calvinistic or Reformed without a firm and abiding commitment to this precious truth.” Let’s, thus, examine what a Calvinist means when he declares “Unconditional Election.”
Unconditional Election as defined by Calvinists
The Canons of Dort: “…the unchangeable purpose of God, whereby, before the foundation of the world, he hath out of mere grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of His own will, chose, from the whole human race…a certain number of persons to redemption in Christ….”
Such a strict understanding of election is necessitated, by man’s total inability to respond to the overtures of the gospel.
According to its definition, Unconditional Election is the logical result of the Calvinist’s extreme view of God’s sovereignty. Remember, Calvinists believe that God has decreed (ordained, predetermined, programmed) everything that happens in this world—down to the minute details. Palmer, a committed Calvinist, writes:
- All things that occur in all the world at any time and in all history whether with inorganic matter, vegetation, animals, man, or angels (both the good and evil ones)—come to pass because God ordained them. Even sin—the fall of the devil from heaven, the fall of Adam, and every evil thought, word, and deed in all of history, including the worst sin of all, Judas’ betrayal or Christ is included in the eternal decree of our holy God.
- If sin is outside the decree of God, then the overwhelming percentage of human actions are removed from God’s plan. God’s power is reduced to the forces of nature. Sin is not only foreknown by God, but God also foreordains it. In fact, because God foreordained it, He foreknew it. Calvin is very clear on this point: Man wills with an evil will what God wills with a good will.”
The term “Unconditional Election” not only conveys God’s sovereign choice regarding man’s salvation but by it, Calvinists deny any condition on man’s part regarding his salvation. George L. Bryson: “Calvinistic Election says to the unregenerate elect, ‘Don’t’ worry, your depravity is no obstacle to salvation, and to the unelected, Too bad, you have not been predestined for salvation but [to] damnation.”
R.C. Sproul states: “The term election refers specifically to one aspect of divine predestination. God’s choosing of certain individuals to be saved. By making election conditional upon something that man does, even if what he does is simply to repent and believe the gospel, God’s grace is seriously compromised.”
Dave Hunt sums up Calvinism’s doctrine of Unconditional Election: “Calvinism reasons that God, having foreordained from eternity past that Adam and Eve would eat of the Tree of Knowledge, forbids them to eat of it so He can punish them for doing what He foreordained and caused them to do! Then by Unconditional Elect He saves a select few of their descendants to show His grace.”
Even King James I (King James Bible), though not strictly a Biblicist, expressed his disdain for Unconditional Elected as defined by the Synod of Dort: “This doctrine is so horrible, that I am persuaded, if there were a council of unclean spirits assembled in hell, and their prince the devil were to (ask) their opinion about the most likely means of stirring up the hatred of men against God their Maker, nothing could be invented by them that would be more efficacious for this purpose, or that could put a great affront upon God’s love for mankind than that infamous decree of the late Synod”
The Bible’s Teaching
Salvation is available to all.
John 3:16-17 (KJB) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
John 1:29 claims that Christ came “for the sins of the whole world.” John 1:29 (KJB) “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
I John 2:2 declares that Christ is the propitiation (satisfaction) “for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2 (KJB) “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Nowhere does the Bible state that God doesn’t love and desire the salvation of all! Nowhere!
1 Timothy 2:4-6 (KJB) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
The word “whosoever” is found 183 times in 163 verses in the Bible, and it always means whosoever. According to the dictionary, “whosoever” means whoever; whatever person; an emphatic form. The word “whosoever” is found in both warnings and promises—AND IT ALWAYS MEANS WHOSOEVER! Romans 10:13 (KJB) “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Salvation is conditioned upon man’s response to the gospel.
To elevate the grace of God, Calvinists define belief as a “work” which compromises God’s grace. The Calvinist explains that since salvation is exclusive of grace, God can require nothing of man even faith to proclaim that salvation. Such logic, however, hinges on a misinterpretation of the Bible definitions of work and faith. The Bible declares “work” and “faith” as mutually exclusive principles. Faith is, consequently, not a work. Romans 4:5 (KJB) “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
John 1:12 (KJB) “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
Acts 16:31 (KJB) “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
John 6:40 (KJB) “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 5:24 (KJB) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
Galatians 3:22 (KJB) “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”
Calvinist, as you can see, misrepresent the Bible. In part 5 it was demonstrated that Total Depravity could not stand when compared with scripture. In part 6 we have compared the beliefs of Calvinist regarding Unconditional Election. The teachings of Calvinism or Doctrines of Grace or Monergism or whatever the flavor of the month is, cannot stand beside the Word of God.
Stay tuned for part 7 – Limited Atonement: Did Christ Die for the Whole World?
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