Monday, May 24, 2010

The horrific blasphemy of an dishonest offer from God

This is a response to the quote-mining of a once staunch supporter of Calvinism, who has now started to prolifically promote the self-contradictory theology of the "free offer". This is idea that even though God has eternally willed only to save some, that nevertheless He sincerely and earnestly desires the salvation of all without exception, and expresses this desire in the preaching of the Gospel, which they suppose to be an invitation to, or offer of salvation in Christ (who they nevertheless believe died only for the elect). I'm aware that most sensible people will already see the absurdity of this position, but nevertheless, here is the quote:

"The Gospel is to be preached indiscriminately to the elect and to the reprobate: but the elect alone come to Christ, because they have been taught of God. (Isaiah 54:13) God invites all indiscriminately to salvation through the Gospel, but the ingratitude of the world is the reason why this grace, which is equally offered to all, is enjoyed by few." ~ John Calvin.

John Calvin heavily criticised how the Romish theologians would dig through the writings of the early church fathers to find and pull out the dung instead of the gold. I don't think he would be impressed with your attempt to do the same with his writings. In his later days, when he wrote specifically dealing with the subject against a heretic, he said:

"God is not like a mortal man, who is ever flexible and variable, and changes his mind and purposes every hour! Why, the very thing against which the monk so violently fights is that the adorable God is ever of one mind and consistent with himself!" (p. 178).

"We, however, with greater reverence and sobriety, say ‘that God always wills the same thing; and that this is the very praise of His immutability.’ Whatever He decrees, therefore, He effects; and this is in Divine consistency with His omnipotence. And the will of God, being thus inseparably united with His power, constitutes an exalted harmony of His attributes …" (p. 179).

The command to repent and believe, and the promise of salvation to all who believe is certainly not a universal invitation - if it were this would mean that God has a universal will for all without exception to be saved, and whatever God wills is done, because He is always faithful to Himself in the exercise of His omnipotent power.

This doctrine that the Gospel is an invitation militates against total depravity because for the invitation to be universal, every hearer must be equally capable of responding to the invitation. But we believe that humanity is dead in trespasses and sins, and cannot respond apart from the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. How can God invite sinners to come to Him, when He has not given them the power to come?

It also contradicts unconditional election, because if few are chosen, then the others cannot honestly be invited to that for which they have not been chosen. It is a cruel, dishonest and unjust invitation that invites someone where the invitor has already eternally decreed that they cannot come. How can God invite sinners to come to Him, when He has decided that they cannot come?

It tears apart limited/particular atonement, because a man cannot be honestly invited to banquet in which no place has been prepared for him, and where no room or provision has been made for him. That would be a vile, evil, wicked and abominable invitation. How then, can our righteous God invite sinners to come to Him, when He has not paid for their sins by the death of His Son?

God will not offer that which He has willed eternally not to give. Throughout all Scripture, the Gospel is never preached as an offer to all without exception. The preaching of the Gospel to all without exception is a command to repent and believe, and an unconditional promise that those who believe are saved eternally.

"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." - Jer. 31:3. The love of God is as unchangeable and eternal as He is (Mal. 3:6).

Since Christ is loved before the foundation of the world (John 17:24), then so too are all who were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). Before Jacob was born, he was loved by God, and likewise, before Esau was born, he was hated by God. There is no hatred in love, and there is no love in hatred. Denying these things and saying that God loves those who are not chosen in Christ, and sincerely desires their salvation (despite not having chosen them) is a horrible blasphemy against the righteous character of God. If God loves wicked-doers who He has determined not to save, what does that say about His love? Or what does that say about His Being? Can a righteous God love the wicked, except He makes them righteous through Christ's atonement? To say so, is to God loves wickedness, and that God is wicked. A more absurd and devilish blasphemy could hardly be contrived except by the inspiration of Satan who delights in tearing the church apart by heresy.

Judge for yourselves, but I say (not myself alone, but also the ministers of the churches I belong to) this nonsense that God loves everybody, desires to save everybody, invites everybody to salvation, offers salvation to everybody is a denial of the Scriptures, and an Arminian heresy condemned by the Synod of Dordt 1618-19. And they are many others who take this position too.

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