Non-Calvinists, why is your God so small?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Siegfried, Nov 19, 2002.

  1. Siegfried

    Siegfried
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    I was pondering the point non-Calvinists make about how God loves everyone equally, so he gives everyone an equal opportunity/capacity/ability/whatever to be saved.

    Let's assume that's true for a second. God loves everyone equally, and everyone has an equal shot. Don't people still go to hell? I mean, you're not all universalists, are you?

    If God loves everyone equally, why doesn't he work a little harder to convince everyone to repent and be saved? Is he really doing all he can? Why did he even allow the people who would reject him to be born? Why doesn't he kill them in infancy before they become accountable.

    Non-Calvinists, how do you get around the fact that God isn't convicting and convincing people more powerfully of their need for salvation? Is he doing all he can? He is God, right? He does have power over his creation, doesn't he?

    Maybe I'm just obtuse. Please help me figure out how you answer these questions.
     
  2. Sularis

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    the answer is sure God could save everyone - He made provision for it in fact.

    God however decided you know what - Im going to let them decide - but no matter what they decide - this is still going to be the ending for all of mankind - I will allow their choices - but I will act to make sure that the result of their choices which no matter what it is I have a perfect plan in place for to make sure everything comes together for My glory.
     
  3. ScottEmerson

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    The premise does not follow. Sinply because God love everyone equal does not mean that everyone has an equal whatever to be saved. What non-Calvinists believe is that everybody has the same way to become saved - by repenting and believing in Christ - and that all people have such an opportunity (not an equal opportunity.)

    The rest of your questions fall from there, as they are merely straw men.

    Perhaps more of the questioning needs to go upon us - what are we doing to spread the gospel of Christ?
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    So now I am confused ... Equal love does not entail equal chance??? That seems very calvinistic of you. After all, many of us maintain that God loves the whole world but that such love does not require the equal chance to be saved. We, as Calvinists, believe that every has the same way to become saved - by repentance and belief in Christ. We furthermore believe that every man actively rejects the knowledge of God that he has. I don't understand how you can so blithely ignore the questions put forth here. It seems so contradictory to what you have devoted yourself to arguing here.
     
  5. KenH

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    Does that also mean that no one might be saved then, if no one "decided" correctly?

    Ken
     
  6. ScottEmerson

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    There is an equal chance for all to be saved. All that it requires is that a person say "yes." We all come to Christ through the drawing of the Holy Spirit and the decision they make to follow Christ. In this, there is equal ability for all to say yes. In Calvinism, there are billions of people who do not have such a chance.

    It would be if I agreed with your statement.

    And that final sentence is where we disagre. Every man rejects the knowledge of God until they are drawn by the Holy Spirit - until they are enlightened. All men receive such enlightenment and it is up to each person to follow or reject. Again, not every single person within the Calvinist scheme of things has a chance at all.

    Then read it again. You misspeak what I said. All people have an opportunity to accept Christ. Period. Some live in America and repeatedly hear the gospel message. Others live in China and may be able to hear it once or twice. Yet all men have the ability to say "yes" after being drawn.

    This is consistent with Arminian theology - it is not contradictory.
     
  7. Helen

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    I'm not sure what 'loving everyone equally' really means. It't not the loving that I don't understand, it's the 'equally'. How do you measure love? Does everyone get 3 1/2 cups a day or what?

    Love is commitment. It is caring. It is also not always understood as love by the receiver! On a human to human level, there were a number of times I refused one or more of my children something they wanted, not because being the household ogre was my 'thing', but because I was willing to risk their wrath because I knew better then they what was good for them.

    So even if love COULD be measured, we are not the ones who could measure it! We are the receivers.

    I know something else -- the more hurt one of my children was, or the more sick, or even the more in trouble, the more I was concerned for that child and concentrating on that one at the moment. But that never stopped my love for any of the others. Still, I'm quite sure that one of them, at that point, would have said, "Yeah, mom loves her best!"

    So I don't think that our concept of either the type or amount of love God has had for each human being can be judged by anyone but God.

    Nor am I sure how to measure giving someone a chance.

    People are unique, each one. I've raised all my children in a Christian home with Christian training, knowledge of the Bible, the best example I could provide -- I wasn't perfect, but I sure tried! I'm serious about that! I did everything I knew for my children, trying to discipline as needed, encourage as needed, helped as needed, prayed for constantly...

    And I have, as of this date
    29 year old son -- strong Christian
    26 year old son -- could care less about religion
    23 year old daughter -- in full rebellion
    20 year old son -- confused, searching
    18 year old daughter -- strong Christian in some ways and very self-centered in others
    18 year old son -- profoundly retarded.

    That's one out of six, folks, or maybe 1 1/2 at this point [​IMG] I think the 18 year old daughter will be fine, but the Lord's going to be busy with her! But right now there's one that I am sure of. And he's the one I probably did the least for! He is my biological son; the others are all adopted special case and got ever so much more concern and care and attention from me, many many times.

    Now, it's very possible that what I understand about love is all wrong; after all, I'm a human and God is God. But it's really all I have to go on. To this day, and probably as long as I live, I will continue loving all six enormously -- as much as I am personally capable of. But one has refused my love completely and wants absolutely nothing to do with me. She may change. She may not. I have to respect her decision. How could I force her to love me?

    Or how could I force my 26 year old to care about God?

    As long as God created us individually, and He definitely has done that, we will respond differently to Him. So it is not a difference in love or in chances given on His part, but differences in us as people.

    I suppose God could have created only the sort of people with the sort of upbringing and temperment and sociological factors which would contribute to their positive response to Him, but He didn't. He has created a full variety of people -- and the interesting thing is, some of the 'worst' people respond the same way some of the 'best' people do -- either positively or negatively to the truth.

    I don't know why. I don't presume to know why. But I do know that God has given each person the freedom to choose for himself his response to the truth, and then go from there. And I know that it is not just a one-time deal for the folks who respond negatively, but that literally everything possible is done for them without violating that freedom to choose.

    Maybe there is a faint similarity between God and mothers, in that there is an awful lot of trying and care shown to the more difficult ones. I would say that if God loved anyone 'more' than someone else, it would probably be the folks who are refusing Him. Because He knows what their future is without Him. And even though He knows what their final destination will be, since He is outside of time, there will never be one person alive for whom it could be said that God did not love him or her and do everything possible to confront them with the truth time and time again.

    Why are there so many who seem to have refused Him point blank? Certainly He COULD have created only those who would respond to Him positively. He COULD have...

    But He didn't. Maybe it was something about all the variety. Maybe it was something about some of the most 'impossible' actually finally responding to Him that shows His glory. I don't know. I can look around and see He loves variety, but other than that, I wouldn't presume to know or to judge.

    I think someday it will all be clear, though.
     
  8. Siegfried

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    It seems that the basic argument in opposition to what I suggest is that God intentionally created people with free will because he so valued the opportunity for each person to choose for himself (sorry I'm not gender inclusive). I don't intend to oversimplify you. I'm just trying to summarize for sake of the argument.

    This does not address my original question. I want to know why God doesn't do more. One of the points at least one of your responses made was that God doesn't draw everyone equally.

    In a system that says it would be unjust for God to elect some and not others, it seems every bit as unjust to permeate some cultures with the truth and virtually ignore others.

    Why doesn't God help out the poor, disadvantaged Chinese and level the playing field a bit? I mean, in your system he's certainly got a PR problem with the Chinese come Great White Throne day. It would be very easy for them to say, "I would have been willing--if you had just tried a little harder--sent another missionary or two. Why didn't you care about me enough to persuade me more efficiently?"

    Would that violate their free will? I don't think so. If I'm involved in a debate and I'm very well prepared and do a fabulous job of convincing my audience, I haven't imposed upon their will--just given them the ability to make up their own minds with all the facts. In non-Calvinistic systems it just doesn't seem like your God is doing a good job at getting his message out.
     
  9. Daniel David

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    Siegfried, the problem with your last statement is that you assume God can get his message out. You see, he needs missionaries to go. However, if people don't want to go, then other people go to hell. You see? God depends on the missionaries/preachers/stars (according to Helen) to get the gospel out. He also depends on man to choose him based on the best information.

    I hope I cleared some things up. He depends on the free-will of preachers to do their job and upon the free-will of man to choose him.
     
  10. Daniel David

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    Actually, as I think back on American Church history, I have concluded the following:

    America is saturated with the gospel because some Christians left pagan England and the rest of Europe and new versions that kept popping up every year. They started colonies based on the Geneva Bible. The pure gospel was preached. We are still experiencing the residual affects of all of that. It isn't as strong because the corrupt versions from England have made it here.

    So in essence, God is still using the affects of the early American christians to reach people.

    If only some people would have done the same in China, it might be a different story.

    I don't think God takes risks, but apparently non-sovereigntists do. Sorry China, God just couldn't send enough missionaries your way. You should have been born in America.
     
  11. Siegfried

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    Preach,

    I think you're being tongue-in-cheek, so I will answer from that vantage point.

    You seem to contradict yourself. The spread of God's message is not entirely limited to missionaries exercising their choices to go. Some have argued that he uses stars. But is the message in the stars really as plain as it could possibly be? Could he not intervene miraculously with divine revelations or appearances of angels? Did God not miraculously place Philip along the path of the Ethiopian eunuch? Could he not do that today? Is God really being just and trying as hard as he can (without violating free will) to show EVERYONE that they need to choose him?

    A related question: Do many Baptists not speak of the "call to preach" as though it is not given to everyone--only specifically to God's choice servants? Why don't the "called" have the right to exercise their free choice? (FWIW, I personally repudiate that terminology in relation to the concept of vocational ministry, but that's another thread.)
     
  12. ScottEmerson

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    Even still, would this not be man's fault instead of God's? In the Calvinist frame, it IS God's fault that they don't believe, as it is impossible for them to do so.
     
  13. npetreley

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    Groan 3:16 "For God so loved free will that He gave it to everone, and whosoever reaches the age of responsibility and then chooses of his or her own free will to believe in His Son should not perish but have everlasting life." ;)
     
  14. ScottEmerson

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    HOw do you know he doesn't?

    How do you know he doesn't?

    Begging the question.

    They do. I know several people who have been called to mission work. They answered, "no" to that call. Not all are apostles (I Corinthians 12), just as all are not pastors.
     
  15. ScottEmerson

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    Welcome to the way of the world. This answers theings much better, IMO, than God just chose more people in America than people living in China. In the Calvinist scheme of things, why is it that large portions of populations go unchosen, while so many of others are chosen? The non-Calvinist model, stating that man has a responsibility to preach the gospel to all men, fits this model much better than the alternative.

    But it is man who is spreading the gospel message, not God. It's our fault, not God's. In the other system, it IS God's fault.

    Do you NOT know about the huge missionary work that is being done over there? Do you NOT know about the thousands and thousands of underground churches that are over there? If anything, they are accepting the gospel much, much faster than the US is! Why? Because of missionaries who have gone over, risking life and limb, to share the message with them.

    See above. I read that over 65 million Christians are found in China. Doesn't sound like a PR problem to me.

    Don't blame God. Blame us.
     
  16. Siegfried

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    I don't have to prove that he doesn't ever do it. Your line of reasoning suggests that he MUST do it for EVERYONE in order to be fair and just. If you think that's the case, then say so, or accept the weakness of your position.

    Begging the question.</font>[/QUOTE]Actually, I'm just begging for an answer to the question. Perhaps you will indulge me instead of throwing names of fallacies around in an attempt to write off my request for an answer.
     
  17. Daniel David

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    The issue is that in your theology, God chooses to not do more so that everyone can be saved.
     
  18. Helen

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    Siegfried, God has done everything possible without transgressing the freedom HE gave men to choose to respond to Him or not. An affadavit from a thunderstorm doesn't leave one with much choice, does it?

    [ November 20, 2002, 12:11 PM: Message edited by: Helen ]
     
  19. Siegfried

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    So who chose man to be the message-spreader? Wasn't it God? If God chooses a faulty vehicle for his message, isn't he responsible for that? (Unless you want to say God didn't know man would fail, but I hope you don't want to do that.)

    Wouldn't God have been more fair and just (if that is his goal) to have ordained a vehicle that would have given everyone equal opportunity?

    Do you NOT know about the huge missionary work that is being done over there? </font>[/QUOTE]Uh, are you not the ScottEmerson that brought up China as the place where people might not hear the gospel as much? You might want to read your earlier posts. I merely responded to your argumentation.

    [ November 20, 2002, 12:16 PM: Message edited by: Siegfried ]
     
  20. Siegfried

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    So are you saying that every person who has ever lived on this planet has had equal opportunity to comprehend the message of the gospel? Because if not, God gave some people the short end of the stick. If you believe that, please say it plainly.
     

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