I was talking to an old friend from high school not long ago. We talked of many issues about church in general. I’ve run into this old friend in the church we now attend which is some 250+ miles away and 15+ years ago from High School. We caught up a little bit on old friends and old times. We talked theology and evangelism a bit and the “C” word came up.
Yes, Calvinism came up. I expressed my disappointment with such folks as Johnny Hunt, Nelson Price and others in the SBC who continuously take unjustified swipes at Calvinism. I mentioned the recent LifeWay study to my friend that showed only 10% of SBC pastors were Calvinistic and not necessarily Calvinist. This was just to make my point that if we are to deal with the problems in the SBC we may to well to look to the theological persuasion of the other 90% of SBC pastors. And if there is truth in these misrepresentations then give us names and real life examples. It’s certainly hard to address strawmen and hypothetical people.
The first thing I brought up was that from either side we have to contend with why did God create anyone who He knew from eternity past would never believe in Jesus and go to hell. Free will? Free will doesn’t answer this question since God already knew the outcome. Unless God some how owes man something unto the glory of man’s decision. Of course, we know God owes no man anything. Even so, God still knew from eternity who will and who will never believe. Yet, He still created them. We didn’t really go this route too much further.
Then, I remembered an old post I wrote as we were talking and brought up five points that are in my friend’s paradigm. I wanted to do this to show that God’s sovereignty is always a “problem” for man’s free will, even for those who are not Calvinists. I was going from memory, but I present them below in original form.
1. God unequivocally wants all people to be saved. (referring to Gods decretive will not just His revealed will although most may not even think in these terms)
2. God gives each person equal measures of grace that they can cooperate with and be saved or resist and be damned.
3. Every single person has the ability to believe by cooperating with Gods measure of grace He has given them.
4. God is working within His creation to save all people trying to persuade/convince them to believe.
5. God in His omniscience and omnipotence knows what it would take for each person to believe and can maneuver elements in each persons life to so affect them.
I then asked why aren’t all men saved and hasn’t God has essentially failed? His reply was free will. But I just gave him his own paradigm in which to work. He didn’t take away a good understanding of my presentation or else I gave it very poorly. Hopefully, we can speak more on this another time. I really don’t see what choices one is left with in this paradigm other than God’s sovereignty at work one way or the other.