Isn't Any Other View of God's Working in Salvation an Anthropocentric Gospel?
Anthropocentric = man-centered
Theocentric = God-centered
Some say that if we discuss man’s responsibility to receive Christ and the work that He alone accomplished on Calvary, then the gospel we teach is anthropocentric. They say that the insistence that people can respond to this gospel ... having been drawn by the Holy Spirit, before regeneration ... is an anthropocentric idea and not true Grace. Only the "Doctrines of Grace" truly present the theocentric view of salvation.
Let me illustrate the absurdity of this charge against the non-Calvinist by showing you a conversation:
“Calvinism = the gospel.”
Now, I just think that is a very bad statement to make. It elevates a theological system above its proper realm. I think Spurgeon originally said this. Too bad.
Sam quotes Dr. Daniel Akin (a four point Calvinist ):
"Calvinism is not the Gospel. The Gospel is the Gospel. The Gospel is the death, the burial, the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the perfect atonement for the forgiveness of sins. You might argue that the basic system of Calvinism is consistent with the Gospel, but Calvinism is not the Gospel."
Sam repeats the statement of Dr. Akin in his own words, thus:
The Gospel is the death, the burial, the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a perfect atonement for the forgiveness of sins.
Amen; only because of this truth of the gospel can one of Adam's lost race have the life of God within him and live forever with the Father.
Now, Randy (who really likes to use this word theocentric to puff up his Calvinistic stance) says this to Sam about Sam's gospel statement (in the blue):
You have omitted "for whom." I suggest to you that the object of the work of Christ is equally essential as the work and the worker. Christ did not do some abstract work: Christ did something in particular for "us" (cf. 1Cor 15:3).
Now, while I don't disagree with the statement itself, Randy is using it to buttress the focus on the idea of the "unconditionally elect." He is saying that to say "Christ died for sinners" is not enough; we must be more specific to say that Christ died for the elect, or that is not the gospel. This conversation reveals a telling fact.
Who is teaching the anthropocentric message here? Since Calvinism is all about the “elect” and turns men’s thoughts to who those elect are ... and when and why did God choose them, etc… could it not be said that this is the anthropocentric gospel?
I believe such speculation about the "elect" is an unhealthy endeavor. We should keep our eyes on Jesus and the work that He has done and not consider the "limits" that some would like to place on it - it is much too anthropocentric!
There is nothing anthropocentric about a gospel presentation that does not include the doctrines of "election." The fact that whosoever believes into Christ has eternal life and that we are to spread the gospel to every man, telling them that this grace is available from Christ for them is not any more anthropocentric than the alternative. Telling men of this "particular redemption" of TULIP (see my sidebar if you don't know what I am talking about), and causing them to wonder if they are one of the particular ones for who Christ died is a much quicker way to get the focus off of God. In fact, I would say that the concept of "particular redemption" is quite a bit more man-focused.