Let me start by saying that I am reformed in my theology. I also believe in the doctrines of grace exactly as they are taught in the Bible. That is to say that I am protestant and that I believe that Christians receive Christ’s salvation exactly the way that they continue in it: By grace through repentance and faith. For this reason I will refer to calvanism by that name alone since the terms “reformed” and “doctrines of grace” are a little too broad to cover only one school of thought.
December 13, 2012
I think it’s also important to clarify exactly where I differ from the calvinist viewpoint. I agree that without the working of the Holy Spirit and the extension of God’s grace, (unmerited favor), no human would ever come to a saving repentance from his sins. However, I believe the Bible makes it clear that this grace is extended to all men. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” Titus 2:11. Secondly I believe that as a human being to whom God has given a free will, any man has the ability to accept or reject the grace that is extended to him. Over and over God calls upon man to repent. But the mere use of the term repentance implies volition on the part of the man. If God could repent in for us, there would be no need for God to call upon us to do so. “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 33:11 But if he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, he would surely not choose it.
Words can and have been spun on endlessly, but therein lies the crux of the matter. I would encourage those who agree with me not to lose time skirting around the edges by say things like “I just don’t believe that God would save some and not others.” In truth it really doesn’t matter what we believe about it. What matters is what he has revealed to us about himself. By the same token, it is of little validity to say that to believe as I do is to diminish God’s sovereignty. We are not discussing what God can and cannot do. That he could compel us to do his bidding by main force was never in question even for a moment. No, the real question is what he actually did do, and he has already told us that.