Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Making God a Liar

I have noticed an interesting aspect of Calvinist gospel preaching. They who believe in particular redemption do not tell unbelievers that Christ died for them. They tell them that Christ died for as many as will trust in Him. Christ’s death was for as many as are willing to believe that God will save them from their sin.

The shade of meaning is a little tricky to get your mind around if you are not familiar with Calvinism. In Calvinism, it is a done deal, signed, sealed and delivered. None were going to be able to believe the gospel, so God chose a select few way back then, He died for them and only them, making provision for their eternal life on the cross. He draws them and only them to Himself in a way that guarantees their belief in this provision, by REGENERATING THEM and GRANTING THEM THE GIFT OF FAITH to believe the gospel.

In Calvinism, Christ did not die for the sins of the whole world, because then everyone in the whole world would go to heaven, according to Calvinist logic.

I was thinking about this and I happened upon this Scripture in my studies.

1 John 5:6 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believes not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
What is the record?
1Jo 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. This Scripture grabbed my attention and I started asking questions.
Q. Who makes God a liar in this passage?
A. The unbeliever.

Q. How does He make God a liar?
A. By not believing that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

So if the unbeliever does not believe that God has given to us eternal life in His Son, then He makes God out to be a liar.

However, according to Calvinism, if a person does not believe, then eternal life is not available in the Son, (for that person) because as we have seen in Calvinist teaching, Christ has only provided eternal life for as many as God chose beforehand. This was a set amount that have life available for them, and the unbeliever is an unbeliever because he is not a part of that set. (NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND, in Calvinist teaching). If the unbeliever does not believe that eternal life is available in the Son (for him) then he believes Calvinist truth.

Well, which is it? Is he believing truth or making God a liar?

22 Comments:

  • I think I know the answer, but I'm holding my breath.

    Needless to say, Rose, excellent point.

    By Blogger tjp, at 11/12/2007 4:14 PM  

  • Limited atonement is for limited minds. Maybe that is to tough on people who believe this, but limited atonement IS a man-made doctrine. No where in the bible do you find these words.

    I think it is clear that Holy Spirit comes not to convict the world of sins against the Law of God but He comes to convict the world of sin because they believe not on the Son.

    John 16:8-11
    8"And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;
    9concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;
    10and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;
    11and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

    Good post Rose!

    By Blogger Kris, at 11/12/2007 6:02 PM  

  • Good morning, Rose: Actually an unbeliever is such because he willingly chooses to remain in his unbelief. God does not load doubts into his mind, but simply leaves many unbelievers to the self and sin induced doubts which they willingly embrace. In John 5:40, the Saviour stated clearly: "Ye will not come to me that ye might have life." Calvin rightly observes on this verse: And you will not come to me. He again reproaches them that it is nothing but their own malice that hinders them from becoming partakers of the life offered in the Scriptures; for when he says that they will not, he imputes the cause of their ignorance and blindness to wickedness and obstinacy. And, indeed, since he offered himself to them so graciously, they must have been willfully blind; but when they intentionally fled from the light, and even desired to extinguish the sun by the darkness of their unbelief, Christ justly reproves them with greater severity." Without multiplying quotes, AW Pink obviously agrees: "It was not lack of evidence but perversity of will that kept these Jews from coming to Christ. And it is so still. The Lord Jesus stands ready to receive all who come to him, but by nature men are unwilling, unwilling to come to them that they might have life."

    Eternal life is offered to all men (without exception) on the basis of the infinite merit of the Atonement that provided it. Hence I can go to every last man I meet and say to him in all sincerity, "There is Eternal Life for you personally, if you will have it" - the condition being given, of course, in keeping with the Evangelical faith that must avoid the error of Universalism. If the responsible sinner refuses to believe this record, then he is implying that God is a liar by his act(s) of unbelief and therefore prepares himself for destruction.

    I am sorry but I don't think that your argument is really a challenge to Calvinism at all. It would be if Calvinists denied the free offer of the gospel, but this is not the case.

    Regards.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/13/2007 6:23 AM  

  • Rose, as a former Calvinist I appreciate your argument, but I wonder if you can go where the Calvinists say you must? Ultimate Reconciliation is the only thing that ultimately makes sense.

    Peace,
    Mike

    By Blogger Mike Ogden, at 11/13/2007 9:22 AM  

  • Rose,
    Great Post. I enjoy reading what the Holy Spirit has been teaching you.

    It was stated in an earlier comment that men "willingly choose to remain in unbelief". If God did not choose them, there is no atonement available to them due to their utter inability and God's divine election, then they do not "choose" to remain in unbelief. They have no choice...God did not choose them. They are utterly unable. If Divine Election is true, then it is true they remain in that unbelief...but only due to God's decision NOT to choose them. After all, according to Calvinism, once God chooses you, his grace is irresitable....you have no choice. This is the inevitable circle of logic that is Calvinism

    I grow weary of reading the quotations of men (i.e. Calvin and his merry men) to justify this philosophy. Let us stand on God's Word and let Scripture interpret Scripture....Not Calvin.

    Well, I guess I will never win a nice award for comments like this :) Sorry.

    KS

    By Anonymous KS, at 11/13/2007 10:57 AM  

  • KS,

    I quoted Calvin earlier, not to interpret the Scripture by Calvin (or Pink) but rather to interpret Calvin and Calvinists by Scripture. As their quotes stand, I would be surprised if you can find any fault with them. I'm afraid that if a particular school is attacked, then it is inevitable that the quotations of men are really necessary, first to justify any attack (hence my request to Alvin to justify his earlier charges) and secondly to defend. I am always happy to have a stated portion of Scripture put down for discussion with no mention of any school and discuss it from purely Scriptural grounds. However, when the opening line of the main article reads: I have noticed an interesting aspect of Calvinist gospel preaching. then it is invariable that men's quotes must appear.

    Man's inability is sin induced and sin sustained and like the folk in Jeremiah's day, he loves to have it so. If God is obliged to extend saving grace to any man, then it ceases to be grace because grace and obligation are opposite words. The Calvinist is always careful to put the blame for sin unto the sinner as required by the teaching of the word of God. If anyone seeks to load it all unto the sovereignty of God, then they are going beyond the Scripture balance. That's up to them, but they should not charge it against Calvinism as if this was Calvinism's position.

    It is not for me to say whether you would get any nice awards, although if I were entirely happy with what I was stating and was seeking to be fair about it, I would see no point in guessing if I was on a shortlist.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/13/2007 11:43 AM  

  • Goodnight,

    Thanks for your reply. Your statement "If God is obliged to extend saving grace to any man...." appears to be a strawman argument. God's only obligation in extending saving grace to any man is that it pleases him to do so and he is sovereignly "obligated" to keep his promise. Grace and obligation are not opposite. But then again, obligation (as you state it) on God's part is not how I view his grace and mercy....and I don't see it viewed that way in Scripture.

    I certainly do not load the blame for sin on God, but instead I see the responsibility solely on man. However, I see the Calvinist logic stating that God chooses who he chooses and when he chooses, no one can resist. Those he does not choose....how can they have choice? To have a choice, there must be two distinct options. With unconditional election and limited atonement, there is no choice for those God does not choose. They cannot "willingly choose" if there are no options to choose from.

    By the way, the "nice award" comment was an attempt at some levity in a very heavy series of discussions....not a reflection of my inner soul.....(again, just a little chuckle).

    The comment I made on the quotations of infamous Calvinists extends way beyond you personally. I have been struggling with several other Calvinists and their interpreting scripture through the lens of their theology instead of the other way around. That happens easily enough when people focus on the doctrinal statements of men. I am sorry that you took the brunt of my comment.....it was meant to be more general than you....I should not have unloaded both barrels after your comment. I am sorry, Goodnight. I have enjoyed reading several of your previous comments....not always agreeing....but definately enjoying the exchange of thoughts.

    God Bless.

    KS

    By Anonymous KS, at 11/13/2007 2:25 PM  

  • Hi KC,

    Prayer meeting night here in about 20 minutes, so I'll answer you more fully in the morning…God willing. I appreciate your comments on the levity bit and glad that I am not alone in your infamous Calvinists broadsides :-)

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/13/2007 2:36 PM  

  • Colin I am only reading and studying on this one. I hope and pray I am not infamous for Calvinist Broadsides!!! (I really love you guys!) ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at 11/13/2007 2:55 PM  

  • oops! Hi Rose! ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at 11/13/2007 2:56 PM  

  • KC,

    I am pretty sure he meant KS... :) :) :)

    KS

    By Anonymous KS, at 11/13/2007 4:18 PM  

  • TJP,
    Thanks for the visit!
    Carry on...
    and don't let the disenchantment of limitarianism get you down. ;~)

    Kris,
    Hey - good to see you! Thank you for your thoughts. I have even had Calvinists admit that they can't prove it from the Bible, so I think you are not unfair in saying it is a man-made doctrine.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/13/2007 4:44 PM  

  • Colin Maxwell,
    I actually really like that quote from Calvin. wickedness and obstinacy - good words.
    The Pink quote - its Ok, but he is too dogmatic about men being unwilling. The Bible never says that no man is willing to believe the gospel, no never.

    Now, you say "There is Eternal Life for you personally, if you will have it." I never saw the trick to that until recently the last couple o years. the "if you will have it" is the crux of whether or not God provided it, right? If God provided it, then THEY WILL HAVE IT. These is "careful words." So, if they will have it, then it proves that God gave them the gift of faith. If God gave them the gift of faith, this proves that they were unconditionally elected. If they won't have it, then it wasn't there to begin with, in your theology. Am I wrong?

    Also - please answer this question: How does the person in the passage make God a liar? What record does He refuse to believe?

    That there is eternal life for him in Christ? Or must the "if you will" - subjective, anthropocentric (hehe) clause be thrown onto it, which John does not include in the passage under discussion?

    Thank you Goodnight. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/13/2007 4:57 PM  

  • Hi Mike, thanks for the visit!

    KS,
    You are nice and you were fine in your comments. I want to give you a nice award. {[(*NICE*)]}
    there. I am glad you enjoy reading my blog - that is so fun for me! I am glad you see my reasoning, too.
    I think this quote is a very interesting way to put it:
    God's only obligation in extending saving grace to any man is that it pleases him to do so and he is sovereignly "obligated" to keep his promise. Grace and obligation are not opposite.

    ...although I am glad you followed it up with: But then again, obligation (as you state it) on God's part is not how I view his grace and mercy

    Thanks, KS!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/13/2007 5:03 PM  

  • KC, You're funny!
    You lurking little mouse!
    Good thing you said hi....

    :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/13/2007 5:05 PM  

  • Good morning Rose.

    You charge: Now, you say "There is Eternal Life for you personally, if you will have it." I never saw the trick to that until recently the last couple o years. the "if you will have it" is the crux of whether or not God provided it, right? If God provided it, then THEY WILL HAVE IT. These is "careful words." So, if they will have it, then it proves that God gave them the gift of faith. If God gave them the gift of faith, this proves that they were unconditionally elected. If they won't have it, then it wasn't there to begin with, in your theology. Am I wrong?

    I explained (did I not?) in my remarks that the qualifier if you will have it is in line with the shared Evangelical conviction that Eternal Life is conditional on the sinner applying for it by faith. Hence in John 5:40 (for instance) they denied themselves eternal life by refusing to come to Christ for it. In John 3:15 etc., it is cast into a more positive light, but still it is not seen as automatic - there is eternal life there, but only if the sinner will have it. The last thing you want the sinner to do is to thing that God has given him eternal life irrespective of faith or not. The emphasis which I put was evangelistic rather than doctrinal i.e. it is designed to provoke a response.

    There is enough merit in the work of Christ to provide eternal life for every last sinner ever born. None are going to come looking for it and not find it. Suppose men are trapped down a mine and they refuse offers of help (involving them moving from their present part of the mine) because they fear leaving their air pocket. The rescuers can send them word and say "There is plenty of fresh air up here - a whole world full of it!" If they add the extra "…if you will have it" - it is but an extra. There is a whole world full of fresh air up there, whether they breathe it or not. So too in Evangelism. There is an infinite ocean of eternal life in the work of Christ. It is there for every last sinner to avail of it. The only thing that holds him back is his own stubborn unbelief. To shift the blame unto God if He withholds faith from the guilty sinner is to go beyond Scripture. The only flaw (as far as I can see) in the illustration given is that men are usually trapped in mines by accident, whereas the sinner is in a self imposed bondage which (by nature) he is loathe to leave. But this still doesn't detract from the main point about the air.

    Your logic above re: the gift of faith is fine until you get to the last part: If they won't have it, then it wasn't there to begin with, in your theology. It is there because of the infinite merit of Christ's work. Therefore your charges of cunning words and tricks etc., are unfounded. If the Bible limited the worth of Christ's work, then the free offer of the gospel to every sinner would be deceitful. But it doesn't and Calvinists are very careful to preach the fullness of Christ's work to each and every sinner.

    Also - please answer this question: How does the person in the passage make God a liar? What record does He refuse to believe? He refuses to believe the Bible record that there is eternal life in Jesus Christ, based on the infinite merit of His work. He refuses to believe because he loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19)

    Regards,

    P/s Regards too to KS, KC and anyone else I have got mixed up
    :-)

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/14/2007 3:28 AM  

  • Ks: As indicated to Rose above, your argument only has weight if there was no infinite worth in the work of Christ. It is not limited in that sense. I think that you are forgetting that the sinner is not so much a victim of a crime as the perpetrator. He chooses sin willingly - he loves it and glories in it and consequently (if unsaved) he dies in it and pays the awful price, reaping what he himself has sown, and perishing in his own corruption.

    P/s Sorry this reply is so short, but getting ready to catch a train for a preaching engagement tonight.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/14/2007 3:36 AM  

  • Colin Maxwell says:
    There is an infinite ocean of eternal life in the work of Christ. It is there for every last sinner to avail of it. The only thing that holds him back is his own stubborn unbelief. To shift the blame unto God if He withholds faith from the guilty sinner is to go beyond Scripture.

    amen and amen!!!!

    I see you think the same as I do!!!

    now why were we in this discussion?

    :~)
    ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/14/2007 9:03 AM  

  • Rose,

    Thanks for your post and comments. This blog is a great place to be challenged in our thinking and jointly seek a deeper understanding of our God through his Word!!!!!!

    Colin,

    I agree with you!!!!!! I like your analogy of the miners. If you don't mind, I will use it when sharing the Gospel. I come from a coal mine region of the US and know two people who lost their father in a mining accident, so that analogy would really have an impact.

    Where we may disagree is on unconditional election. God chooses, but he does it "in Him" Ephesians 1:4,11...and that is a whole seperate posting and comment thread!!! :)......I will let Rose take that one on :)

    KS

    By Anonymous KS, at 11/14/2007 10:21 AM  

  • Hello Rose,

    For a while now I've been following the discussion on the extent of Christ's atonement. This is very interesting and important.

    It's my understanding that the word atonement is technically an Old Testament term. But since current common usage refers it to Christ's sacrifice I'll use it that way, too.

    A number of writers have written some good material from the unlimited viewpoint; Chafer, Ryrie, Lightner, and Walvoord to name a few. Most of my arguments are gleaned from these writers.

    I subscribe to the "unlimited" position. It's the most satisfying to me for at least three reasons:

    1. It's good news.

    2. It's logical.

    3. It's both Scripturally defensible and looks to be directly taught there.

    I'll offer some arguments for unlimited atonement that may combine any or all of numbers 1 thru 3 above.

    1. Luke 2:10-11 says:

    "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

    I love this passage. The angel tells of good news, for all people because of a Saviour. If the good news is for all people the provision of the Saviour must also be available for all people. It seems reasonable that the shepherds would have understood the word "all" literally and not as limited to only the elect.

    2. If Christ's atonement is its own application to the sinner and is applied at the time Christ paid the penalty, rather than at the time of belief, then no elect person would ever be in a lost state and it would be unnecessary for him to believe in order to get saved. But if the value and benefits of Christ's atonement aren't applied to an elect person until that person believes, then Christ's atonement is provisional even for the elect until they believe. If it's provisional for the elect until they believe, why couldn't it be provisional for the non-elect until they believe; which, of course doesn't occur in this life. (If it occurs after this life, it's too late.) (Heb. 9:27)

    3. John 3:18 says:

    "He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

    If people are condemned because they don't believe in Christ as their Savior, then He must be their Savior. Otherwise, how could they be condemned for not believing in a savior that they don't have?

    Stan

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/14/2007 5:42 PM  

  • Good morning, Rose: You ask: now why were we in this discussion? :~);~

    I think the answer is because youimplied that Calvinism had got it wrong in 1 John 5:6/11, but when we actually got down to seeing what Calvinism actually believes, we found ourselves in agreement on the idea that we cannot blame God for the damnation of the sinner and that those who do so (who are not of the Calvinist school) go beyond Scripture.

    Now we can all live happily ever after... :-)

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/15/2007 11:06 AM  

  • Stan,
    Thank you for your comment. Welcome to Rose's Reasonings! You have some well thought-out things to say. I appreciate them.

    Colin,
    hmmmm..... happily ever after? We shall see! ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/15/2007 11:38 AM  

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