I’m still working through the letter from one of the areas many Arminians. You can see part one here. In that issue, we were dealing with limited atonement, or particular redemption as the doctrine is properly called, in which Jesus died for the church (Ephesians 5:25).
Here, Arminian Bob (for lack of a better name) continues to takes on predestination. He writes:
(Augustine) taught that all others were created to go to Hell.
The best answer to his first sentence is Scripture… once again.
Romans 9:22-24 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
In the discussion in Romans 9, Paul is showing that God has made it clear that He will show mercy to whom He shows mercy. In other words, those whom He elects will be saved. The question then is: what about those who are not elect? Paul uses an illustration saying that God can use some of the clay to demonstrate His grace and mercy by saving some, and the rest of the clay to demonstrated the riches of His glory towards those who are saved by destroying the rest.
Many may find this truth very harsh and difficult. But it’s still God’s truth. He has a right to do with His creation as He pleases. When it comes to fallen mankind, what we all deserve is hell. God, in His infinite mercy, chooses to save some from what we all deserve.
The Arminian hates this truth because it ultimately points back to the fact that our salvation is based upon God’s choice of us, not our choice of Him. In other words, those who are saved will come to know Christ because the Father has elected us in eternity past, the Son died for us on the cross some 2,000 years ago, and the Holy Spirit moved in us, causing us to be born again, working faith in our hearts, and giving us the ability to believe in Christ for salvation, which is what we will do because we see the goodness and beauty of Christ.
The caveat to all this is that even though election be true, we do not know who the elect are and are commanded by Christ to continue to proclaim the gospel to all. Whosoever believes will be saved, as John 3:15-19 show us. We know that the “whosoever” are the elect, but we do not know who the elect are until they become the “whosoever.”
Jesus also tells us in John 3 that those who reject Christ, are condemned already, thereby showing themselves to be those who are prepared for hell. Unless they repent, they remain among those who are destine for hell and we have to trust in God’s sovereign choices.
This really is the issue. Arminians want to play God when it comes to salvation instead of letting God be God. They will charge us saying that if we are Calvinist, then why evangelize? Again, because the LORD commanded us. But we can make the same charge to them. If salvation is truly based upon the free will of mankind, then why evangelize. They will eventually make the right choice and trust in Jesus.
(Augustine) taught that all those who were chosen to go to Heaven were as good as in Heaven and all those whom God chose to go to Hell were as good as in Hell.
I would love for Arminian Bob to give some actual references for this teaching because Calvin certainly didn’t teach this. Our election is only made certain when we believe. Just because we were elected in eternity past, doesn’t mean that we were saved in eternity past. Jesus still had to die on the cross, we still had to have the Spirit move in us, and we still had to believe in our lifetime.
The responsibility to believe, which is placed on all mankind, is only obeyed by those who are the elect.
Enough for now, I will pick up the rest of Arminian Bob’s comment later.