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Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Aaron, Dec 30, 2003.
...is not the Calvinist's view of God, but his view of man.
It seems so.
If the non-Calvinist saw man as the Calvinist sees man, as totally depraved, wretched, stinking bags of worms, unable and unwilling to do anything good, then how could he argue that God is unjust to save only some, and destine the rest to hell?
They would see, as the Calvinist, that God is infinitely merciful and kind to select some of those putrid sinners, give them life, cleanse and glorify them, and seat them in the heavenlies with Himelf, and could not in the least see Him as unloving or unmerciful to let the others go.
The problem comes, when the Calvinists, or at least some overtly admit this, claim that God made man this way in order to damn him (by holding him "responsible") THEN "graciously" save only some. Scriptures like Rom.9 are then misused to try to support this and chalk it up to "sovereignty".
The problem arose, because the Calvinist stepped outside of scriptural bounds in trying to explain some overall eternal perspective of God, and an eternal decree, (yet bend verses to fit) and this led to the belief about God that people opposed. No one ever denied what the Bible says about man. The debate is why. Was it to condemn all and save have mercy on some? Or to have mercy on all? (Romans 11:31-2)
Also, this should go for the record, in the Hunt-White debate, as to a common Calvinist misrepresentation of non-Calvinists.
It's not how Calvin and his followers saw or see man but how God's sees man. It's up to us to see man as God does. That is the way scripture presents it.
I agree that to fully understand God's sovereignty in salvation presumes a full understanding of God Himself. It's like the doctrine of the Trinity. Calvinists can't give answers to the satisfaction of everyone. What Calvinists do is to accept God's statements about himself and man as true. Romans 9 is a very straightforward passage. The only difficulty is in accepting it.
Probably the most irritating thing about calvinists, is their insistance on using terms whose meanings are "all inclusive", while their beliefs are very much "exclusive".
Their application of limitations on biblical words whose correct interpretation and meanings are unlimited.
Their concepts of theology that contradict what the bible actually says about God.
Their complete ignorance of the meaning of terms they ascribe as attributes of God.
Finally, their inability to think things through.
Romans 9 has been discussed many times, though you weren't always around here a lot before at times when the popular interpretation of it was being challenged. It is not talking about choosing individuals over others for salvation, but rather the groups God would use: people of faith, as opposed to a physical lineage or works.
To paraphrase what Paul writes in 1 Cor., if a man thinks he knows anything he really knows nothing.
I agree. I have always grappled with Romans 9 because it does seem to clearly support the Calvinistic premise but if one looks at Paul's clear intent he can see that Paul is not speaking of God choosing some men for salvation while leaving the others to be condemned. He is speaking about why Gentiles are believeing and being saved and Jews are not. He speaks about the Jews being temporarily hardened, not condemned to hell. And in contrast he speaks of God's choosing to include Gentiles into his plan of redemption by the means of faith.
Jew = hardened
Gentiles = believing
(generally speaking as was the trends of his day)
Calvinist apply Romans 9 to an "elect," (those God chose to save) verses the "non-elect" (those God allowed to be condemned).
elect = believing
nonelect = condemned
But it is clear that the two groups being contrasted in Romans 9 are people who believe (namely the Gentiles) and people who were being hardened (namely the Jews) as illustrated above.
Romans 10 and 11, which I have discovered is commonly overlooked by the vast majority of Calvinistic believers, goes on to explain the hardening of Jews and the fact that they two may be saved.
How can the "non-elect" of the Calvinistic rendering of Romans 9 become saved as Romans 11 clearly states?