Why bother?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Allow me to pose a question to our Calvinistic brethren:

    If God has preselected a particular number of people to effectually regenerate, and he will most certainly regenerate them despite what anyone else chooses to do; then why bother with all the efforts of reaching the lost with the gospel?

    I know this is an age old question that has many notable answers, but I'd like to unpack it here (cordially if possible). I understand that Calvinists argue that God ordains not only the ends but the means, but I'd like to better understand how that addresses this particular issue of potential apathy. If one sincerely believes the ends and the means are predetermined, how does that influence his deliberation process when making the decision as to whether or not to reach out to others...especially when it would be particularly difficult to do so?

    {Now, please don't take this question as a charge against my Calvinistic brothers. My older brother is a missionary in an very difficult unreached people group area and he is Calvinistic. And I can list, along with many of you, many Reformed believers who are very missional and evangelistic. I'm not questioning that fact. I'm merely questioning the logic and potential effect of this belief when making such deliberations.}
     
  2. MorseOp

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    Skandelon,

    Well, you rightly assumed the Calvinist response to your question. God has ordained the means; but how does that prevent apathy on the part of the Calvinist? God has not granted to us the knowledge as to who are His elect. That knowledge remains in the mind of God alone. He has commanded us to "preach the Word." As a Calvinist preacher I know that no one can come to Christ unless they hear and believe the Gospel. I do not concern myself at all whether a person is elect or not. Instead I have the mindset that one of God's elect may be within earshot of my words. Therefore, I preach the Gospel, convinced that all who repent and believe will be saved. Instead of apathy I feel a sense of liberation. I am free to be the messenger and trust that the Holy Spirit will do His work through the preached word.
     
  3. convicted1

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    I am not a Calvinist, and I agree with this post.......:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: :thumbsup:
     
  4. MorseOp

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    Thank you for seeing a side of Calvinism that is often lost in all the rancor and hyperbole. The Calvinist believes that no one is saved unless they repent and believe. God does not save His elect apart from the preaching of and the belief in the Gospel. The secret things really do belong to the LORD, and one of those secret things is who is numbered among God's elect.
     
  5. WITBOTL

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    I know a man who has been in the ministry for many many years. He is very strong on the doctrines of grace, has written about them, preached them and espouses them to this day. He is deeply evangelistic and cares deeply for the souls of the lost. I know many of you will claim that this is a logical impossibility and a misapprehension of the doctrine he believes in, but I can assure you that he knows its history well, knows its theology and its many forms and aspects. I wish I could quote him accurately and give his argument but I just cannot remember exactly how he argued or what he said, but I do remember that the gist of his quote was, "If we do not go, people perish" He also went on to talk briefly about how that sounded like a contradiction with election but that it was not. I don't know about the logic of his argument but I take his point and I believe it.

    I believe that God elects individually, foreknows particularly, predestines individually, and calls his own uniquely. I also believe that without the preaching of the gospel people perish. I believe that through the preaching of the gospel comes the salvation of souls.

    Jon 3:9 says "Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

    Does that mean I believe God did not know what he would do and that in the eternal council of his will he did not know of and even plan and accomplish the repentance of the people of Nineveh? No I believe he knew and planned and accomplished it all, and yet it says "and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."

    we can argue about the logic and theology of this, but we should always take away from a human perspective these things are not fixed. Oh, I believe they are in the mind of God, but we are not God and do not know his mind. I don't believe in a mutable God who changes his courses as we change our whim. However, our evangelistic attitude should always be "Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?" By preaching the gospel, by preaching both the grace and the wrath of God, who can tell who will turn and repent and be saved? I believe we should proclaim the gospel and plead for men to turn from their sins.

    There is a scene in the movie Schindler's List at the end of the war and Schindler is in tears of shame because (although he risked and did so much) if he had only done more, more jews would have been saved. If only we had this attitude about the souls of the lost. I have no trouble holding this view along side of a very particular soteriology.

    yet even in this remember 1 Cor 3:6,7 "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
     
  6. Aaron

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    For the love of God and the Gospel, and for the love of one's fellow man. A Calvinist hungers to evangelize. As Christ said, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me.
     
  7. Earth Wind and Fire

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    You got your answers....thanks brothers, you do me proud!
     
  8. psalms109:31

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    Spurgeon said Calvinism is the gospel so if their spreading their gospel and isn't the gospel Spurgeon spread then it isn't the Gospel Spurgeon was talking about. They love to spread the Gospel, but what kind of gospel are they spreading? That is why i do not jump on anyone's ban-wagon just because they claim to be a Calvinist.
     
    #8 psalms109:31, Oct 1, 2012
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  9. 12strings

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    MOrse and WITMBOL gave some good answers...I would add the following...

    Your question is really a part of a larger question of how God interacts with humans, and we must accept some aspect of mystery here (cop-out, I know, but let me explain):

    Jesus told his disciples that the fields were white unto harvest...so what they should do is to pray to Lord of the harvest that he might send laborors into the field...NOW...Does not God know much better than us what the need is, and where and how to best send the laborors? Why does he want or need anyone to pray that he will send laborors? Two possible answers:
    1. He will send them exactly the same regardless of the asking, but likes to be asked, like a mother teaching her son to ask politely for dinner, when in reality she is going to feed him anyway.
    2. In some way unknown to us, he had ordained to enfold our prayers into his eternal plan, such that our prayers are the means by which people are sent, and by which needs are met, such that there are things that do not happen BECAUSE we do not pray for them ("you have not because you ask not"...It doesn't mean "you have not because I have a plan and it doesn't matter whether you ask"...IT DOESN'T MEAN THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT IT SAYS!)

    I think the question about prayer to send laborors proposes a problem that is not unique to calvinists, but one Arminians must wrestle with as well...and maybe not find a perfectly logical answer.

    Regarding salvation...How shall they believe in whom they have never heard? The implied answer is "They won't." But as morse said, a freeing aspect of calvinism is that once we have delivered the message, we are not racked with guilt over whether we presented it in the perfect manner, or used the right apologetic arguments...or pressed them hard enough for a decision...As the Sower parables teach, we sow the seed, and then go to sleep, and as we sleep the crop grows...Some plant, some water, God gives the growth.
     
  10. annsni

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    Amen. God commanded us to, we are obedient and what a great blessing it is to be a tool that God uses to bring others to Himself!!
     
  11. convicted1

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    Oh man, why can't I make a post so eloquent as this one????

    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  12. convicted1

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    Well, I dunno about that. The gospel is Jesus Christ, Him crucified, buried, risen, seated on the right hand of the Father, and calling His creation through the Spirit using the preaching of God called men to spread this wonderful news. It takes this to save sinners.
     
  13. mont974x4

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    God has chosen to work through imperfect men to implement His perfect plan. we see this time and time again in Scripture. We have the examples of Moses, Abram, Jacob, David, Samson, Elijah, Peter, and Paul....well, you get the idea. This has not changed.

    The difference is the Calvinist realizes that Salvation, start to finish, is a work of God's grace. We simply are allowed to participate in the process.

    Rom 10:11 For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."
    Rom 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;
    Rom 10:13 for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."
    Rom 10:14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
    Rom 10:15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!"
    Rom 10:16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?"
    Rom 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (NASB)


    We do not know who has been called as God's elect so we preach to all in order that some may be saved. We remember that God is the one who causes the growth (1 Cor 3) and it is not our job to open peoples eyes. God must give them ears to hear, and He has done that for His elect.

    If your willing to take the time to watch it John Piper has a DVD series on TULIP. He discusses how he came out of Arminianism to become a Calvinist. He also addresses the common objections, including the error of thinking Calvinist's reject evangelism and see it as an unimportant and unnecessary.
     
  14. psalms109:31

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    I agree with you that is the gospel. Regeneration before faith is not the Gospel. Saving the saved. No one is saved until they eat His flesh and drink His blood. in other words it takes us esting the Lamb and leaving not a crumb left it is His word and the life He lived in us that gives us life there was nothing in us before Him that could save us.All means all if the Holy Spirit meant something else He would of said that. Inability is not taught in every verse the word of God through Jesus Christ is life for the sinner. If they turn away from Jesus it is not the will of God but their own will.
     
    #14 psalms109:31, Oct 1, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2012
  15. OldRegular

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    It is called OBEDIENCE!
     
  16. Van

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    The answer is simple, Calvinists do not really believe their doctrine. Note all the posts on this forum. Logically, if Calvinism were true, no Calvinist would need to post, everyone predestined to salvation would be saved, and not once single person other than those predestined would be saved. So they offer the absurd - we are doing the ineffective and needless work God commanded. LOL
     
  17. 12strings

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    Van, What is your interpetation of Jesus telling the disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers in the field...when the lord of the harvest knows full well the field needs workers, and where he needs to send them? Are those prayers ineffective and needless?
     
  18. Skandelon

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    Ok, follow up question... the bible speaks of 'persuading,' 'pleading' and 'making an appeal,' in regard to the gospel presentation. How does this fit in a doctrine where a dry, boring reading of the facts would be sufficient to fulfill the necessary means?

    By the logic of Calvinism, wouldn't it make more since for the gospel to be presented as non-persuasive and boring as possible so as to ensure it was a complete 'work of the Spirit' and not an emotional, appealing messenger?
     
  19. annsni

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    Can you post the Scriptures that use those terms so we can see them in context?
     
  20. Van

    Van
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    Of course not, Jesus was no Calvinist!! :)
     

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