Geographical Calvinism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by All about Grace, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. All about Grace

    All about Grace
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    The issue of God's sovereignty and its relationship with human responsibility has been argued since the inception of the church. For 2000 years this issue has been debated and no doubt it will continue to be debated another 2000 (if the Lord does not return). The reason there is no clear winner in this debate? There is strong biblical support for both sides of the discussion. That's why God is God and we are not. You can never fully explain God within the confines of a human system or theology. It was a great day when I came to this realization and shifted my primary focus elsewhere.

    That being said, there are some practical concerns on both sides of this issue that are worth consideration. I must say upfront that I fall into the more "God-centered" approach to theology (which often surprises many in light of my flexibility regarding methods). However I do see some practical inconsistencies in the system Calvinism which remind us it is a human system and will always be a human system (not matter how this statement offends die-hards). I can simply admit any human approach has its weaknesses.

    Here is just one of those puzzling issues ... if Calvinism is true, why is God's election so geographically limited?

    In other words, why did God choose to elect hundreds of thousands of people in certain geographical locations and yet refused to elect hundreds of thousands and even millions in other parts of the world? Is this consistent with His obvious love for the world and mandate to spread the gospel worldwide? If God is ultimately "responsible" for election, why did He choose to elect multitudes in certain areas and yet thousands die every day in other parts of the world never having heard the name of Jesus? Election seems to be geographically limited.

    Geographical election is an enigma in light of Scripture's evidence that God is a world-wide God.

    Again human systems can't always explain the actions of an infinite God. Just one example.

    Now let the fun begin as the die-hards try and explain geographical election away without attributing too much credit to human responsibility. And be careful - remember I am one of you.
     
  2. Andy T.

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    Your arrogance and condescending attitude bores me. I would rather tangle with the likes of Timtoolman and Webdog, though we disagree intensely, at least they are not obsessed with their own sense of being above the fray from everyone else. Just about every other post of yours displays this attitude.
     
  3. All about Grace

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    Typical non-response.

    Can you see how your own words contradict the very essence of what you write?

    Regardless of "attitude" (from both parties I might add), care to address the question raised?
     
  4. Andy T.

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    Sure, I will respond:

    I don't know. There are many things about the plan and purposes of God that I don't know.

    But the non-Calvinist has the same quandary. Why do certain geographical locations have more Christians? Well, because they chose it. Ergo, those geographical locations are smarter, wiser, better than other areas that didn't choose Christ.

    So I honestly don't see how this apparent dilemma only sticks to Calvinists.
     
  5. Andy T.

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    This reminds me of the person who is confronted for having a judgmental spirit throwing it back to his confronters that they themselves are judgmental. Regardless, I know that I am not alone in my accusations against you, as I have seen others on this board accuse you of the same attitude.
     
  6. All about Grace

    All about Grace
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    Actually it is not the same quandary. Calvinists claim that God predestines people to come based on His own divine favor. Therefore they are left with the dilemna why God favors Westerners over people who live in India. Calvinism must move beyond the old "everyone is deserving of Hell but God in His grace selected some" to explain why a God who claims to love the entire world would allow entire people groups to die without electing any of them. It is more than a "I don't know God's plan and purpose" issue. It seems to contradict the very heart of the God of the Bible.

    At least a non-Calvinist can fall back on a lack of evangelism among believers, which in and of itself also has some weaknesses. But it is definitely a different issue than the Calvinist must address.

    Yes it is in a similar vein ... kind of like a Calvinist who accuses anyone else of being arrogant. I have dialogued with many people on both sides of this issue and die-hard Calvinists are some of the most arrogant Christians I have ever encountered. Of course it naturally stems from the doctrine itself -- the whole "I was selected to be a part of the club - you were not" belief system naturally lends itself to arrogance.

    If you don't believe this to be true, check out some of the more popular Calvinism blogs. There is even a thread entitled "Christ the Calvinist" on this very board. Give me a break!

    And yes I will be the first to admit I have my own battles with confidence. It usually comes with the territory of being a barbarian-type leader.

    Now back to the topic at hand ...

    [ April 21, 2006, 04:46 PM: Message edited by: All about Grace ]
     
  7. Andy T.

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    AAG,

    This question really is an apparent quandary for both the Calvinist and non-Calvinist or anyone who believes in God's perfect omniscience. As soon as God decided to create the world, He knew that people would end up in hell. So, I'm sorry that you aren't satisfied with it, but I really don't have an answer to it. Do you? Do you know the purpose of God in creating a world where people go to hell?
     
  8. Andy T.

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    Yes, it is sad to see arrogance in any Christian, Calvinist or not. But I disagree that arrogance naturally lends itself to the Doctrines of Grace. It should be the most humbling of all doctrines. But I admit that in our sinfulness, it does not always evidence itself in that way.
     
  9. Bill Brown

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    Matthew 28:19-20 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

    Ephesians 2:12-15 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,

    Why did God wait so long to send the gospel to the Gentiles? Why was faith in Yahweh and the coming Redeemer generally limited to Holy Land?

    When the twelve apostles left to become itinerant preachers/evangelists, why did some of the nations accept and others reject?

    Why did the birthplace of Christianity (Israel) become apostate and the gospel travel (and thrive) on the opposite end of the globe?*

    Could it be that all of this in the plan of God? God is using certain nations of the world to bring the gospel to the world? He has done so in the past. Might He not do it now and in the future?

    By the way, I don't separate Calvinism from the gospel. I believe the bible teaches sovereign grace and it cannot be torn from the gospel.
     
  10. webdog

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    Exactly. This leads us to man having no excuse, compared to man having nothing they can do about it, making God a respector of persons.
    He didnt' create a world where people go to hell, He created a perfect creation where sin causes people to go to hell. Your view would make God the author of sin. The only logical conclusion is that man has free will to sin and to accept God's gift of salvation. If we don't have free will, God created sin for us, which I deem heretical.
     
  11. Andy T.

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    Exactly. This leads us to man having no excuse, compared to man having nothing they can do about it, making God a respector of persons.
    He didnt' create a world where people go to hell, He created a perfect creation where sin causes people to go to hell. Your view would make God the author of sin. The only logical conclusion is that man has free will to sin and to accept God's gift of salvation. If we don't have free will, God created sin for us, which I deem heretical.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Webdog, let's not turn this into another "author of sin" debate. The point is, when God created the world, in His perfect omniscience he knew that people would end up in hell. How could a loving being do such a thing? He should have created nothing at all! And that is really the thrust of AAG's quandary, it's just removed one step back at the point when God decided to create the world.
     
  12. Bill Brown

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    Exactly. This leads us to man having no excuse, compared to man having nothing they can do about it, making God a respector of persons.
    He didnt' create a world where people go to hell, He created a perfect creation where sin causes people to go to hell. Your view would make God the author of sin. The only logical conclusion is that man has free will to sin and to accept God's gift of salvation. If we don't have free will, God created sin for us, which I deem heretical.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Webdog, let's not turn this into another "author of sin" debate. The point is, when God created the world, in His perfect omniscience he knew that people would end up in hell. How could a loving being do such a thing? He should have created nothing at all! And that is really the thrust of AAG's quandary, it's just removed one step back at the point when God decided to create the world.
    </font>[/QUOTE]God is not just a "loving God" He is also just, holy and vengeful. We do God (and our understanding of Him) an injustice when we spend too much time emphasizing just one of His attributes.
     
  13. webdog

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    Exactly. This leads us to man having no excuse, compared to man having nothing they can do about it, making God a respector of persons.
    He didnt' create a world where people go to hell, He created a perfect creation where sin causes people to go to hell. Your view would make God the author of sin. The only logical conclusion is that man has free will to sin and to accept God's gift of salvation. If we don't have free will, God created sin for us, which I deem heretical.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Webdog, let's not turn this into another "author of sin" debate. The point is, when God created the world, in His perfect omniscience he knew that people would end up in hell. How could a loving being do such a thing? He should have created nothing at all! And that is really the thrust of AAG's quandary, it's just removed one step back at the point when God decided to create the world.
    </font>[/QUOTE]God is not just a "loving God" He is also just, holy and vengeful. We do God (and our understanding of Him) an injustice when we spend too much time emphasizing just one of His attributes.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I agree. Would it be "just" of me to put a treat in my dog's mouth...and then hit her and send her to be euthanized for eating it? Not too "just", or "holy". Vengeful, maybe, but in a sadistic way.
     
  14. npetreley

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    Well, duh. ;) I have a feeling the original poster was so anxious to sound controversial that he lost sight of the obvious. Being wise in his own eyes, he became a fool.
     
  15. npetreley

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    Yawn. Straw man. Next it will be robots. Then "Calvin is a murderer." Can't you folks think of anything new?
     
  16. All about Grace

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    This moves away from the point of the question. Yes all orthodox systems are left with the reality that an all-powerful God allows or predestines people to go to Hell.

    This is a different issue and question. What I am asking is "why do most of the elect seem to be in the same geographical locations?" If election is solely a God-act (irresistable grace included), then does it make sense for a God who loves the world to reserve His election for certain people groups? This is an entirely different question one step removed from the simple theology of Calvinism.

    Even Calvinism's redefining of the word "all" must address this issue. If "all" means all types of people as many Calvinists propose, then why does God not save "all" types of people. There are multiple people groups around the world who have never even heard the name Jesus. What does that do for the "all" types of people argument?

    Please keep in mind I am not trying to argue the "non-Calvinist" position here. I am simply acknowledging areas of weakness and mystery within a Calvinistic system.
     
  17. Jarthur001

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    This objection betrays a bad heart. It would obligate the CREATOR to the CREATURE. It makes salvation a divine obligation. It denies the right of the potter over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel to honour and another to dishonour. By the same parity of reasoning it makes the governor of a sovereign state unjust when he pardons one or more men, unless he empties the prison and turns all the prisoners loose.

    Our view of election is in harmony with what even the Arminians allow to be proper and just for a human governor. All can see that a governor, by pardoning some men, does not harm others, who are not pardoned. Those who are not pardoned are not in prison because the governor refused them a pardon but because they were guilty of a crime against the state. Isn't God to be allowed as much sovereignty as the governor of a state? Salvation, like a pardon, is something that is not deserved. If it were deserved, then God would be unjust if He did not bestow it upon all men.

    Salvation is not a matter of justice but of mercy. It wasn't the attribute of justice that led God to provide salvation but the attribute of mercy. Justice is simply each man getting what he deserves. Those who go to hell will have nobody to blame but themselves, while those who go to heaven will have nobody to praise but God.

    Rom 9:22-23 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
     
  18. All about Grace

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    In light of Calvinism's view of election and irresistable grace and their attempt to redefine "all", these are all questions a Calvinist must seek to answer and still does not answer the original thought: in light of God's obvious love for the world, why does God's election seem restricted to certain people groups?
     
  19. All about Grace

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    Don't you know I am the one who is supposed to be arrogant and condescending?

    I always find it amusing when people who rely so heavily upon a human system to explain an eternal God's redemptive work accuse someone else of being "wise in their own eyes."
     
  20. russell55

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    I challenge the premise to this question. Why do you think that God allowed entire people groups to die without electing any of them? Do you think God won't keep his promise to Abraham that through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed? Do you think that Christ didn't purchase "for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation"?

    I happen to believe that God has elected and will save people from among all the people groups of the earth. It seems to me you have way more 'splainin' to do than I.
     

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