A Calvinist Answers the “Questions for Calvinists”.

I did a post a while back entitled Questions For Calvinists.  Dr James Gaylon (an irenic Calvinist) is taking the time to respond to the questions.  I’ll leave it to you the astute reader to decide if the questions are answered or not. :)   Either way, I appreciate him taking the time and effort to respond.

1) If sovereignty means that God freely and unchangeably ordains whatsoever comes to pass, why does evil exist?

2) Where did evil first come from? Did it in any way originate from God?

Reply: 20 Questions for Calvinists

Non-Calvinist Baptist Peter Lumpkins also did a post about this: Calvinists, the Southwest Alabama Bible Conference 2011, and the “20 Questions”

3) Does God love everyone in a meaningful sense?

4) In what sense does God love those whom he deliberately withholds grace from?

5) Is God sincere?

Reply: Questions on the Love of God

6) If God’s hidden will sometimes conflicts with his revealed will, how can you trust what he says?

Reply: What is God’s Will?

8) If “Irresistible Grace” is true, why doesn’t God save everyone?

10) I hope that everyone goes to heaven, does this mean I love more than God does?

11) Does it trouble you that God deliberately leaves most people in a state of inability, and that their damnation is unavoidable?

Reply: Why Not All?

 

Questions still to come:

7) Does God have an intrinsic sense of morality and character that guides his decision making?  Is it meaningful to us?

9) Was God’s justice fully manifested at the cross?  Doesn’t it minimize Jesus’ death to argue that reprobation is necessary to show God’s justice?

12) Historically, areas with Caucasians have been more Christian.  If Unconditional Election is true, why does God show an apparent  preference for Caucasians?

13) Do you ever doubt that you are elect?  How do you know whether God wants you to be saved or not?

14) Why did God choose you?

15) How do you avoid feeling proud that God loves you and not someone else?

16) Why did God decree the holocaust?  How did it give him glory?

17) How does evangelism make a difference?

18) The devil wants all to go to hell.  God wants most to go to hell.  How can you tell the difference between God and the devil?

19) Ezekiel 18:23 If God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked and wants them to turn and live, why is reprobation necessary or even possible in the Calvinist system?

20) Matthew 23:37 Why didn’t Jesus gather up everyone in Jerusalem when he longed to?

21) Mark 10:21-22 If Jesus loved the rich young ruler, why wasn’t he saved?

22) John 3:16 If God loves the world and irresistible grace is true, doesn’t that mean everyone will be saved?

23) Romans 11:32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.  Who does all refer to in this verse?  Is the first all used in a different sense than the second all?

24) 1 Timothy 1:18,19 What does it mean to shipwreck one’s faith?

25) 1 Timothy 2:3-4 If God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth, how is hell possible?

26) 1 John 2:2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.  How can “whole world” mean anything else other than whole world?

 

[I  plan to update this post to include any future replies. 03-6-11]

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “A Calvinist Answers the “Questions for Calvinists”.

  1. Pingback: Why Not All? « 2 Worlds Collide

  2. Hello, Kevin —

    I’m answering these quickly with some Calvinist knowledge as a layperson (N.B.: I haven’t read the Calvinist replies):

    1/ Man is totally depraved — sinful by nature.

    2/ Didn’t Satan in the form of a serpent seduce Eve into eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge?

    3/ God cares for His creation. This might be distinct from ‘loving’ all of it. (Example: Jacob (‘loved’) and Esau (‘hated’).)

    4/ He makes sure they have adequate provision: food, clothing, gainful employment.

    5/ Yes, God is sincere.

    6/ God is sovereign. God chastises those whom He loves and may leave others to their own rebellion in sin.

    7/ (No question 7.)

    8/ Not all merit salvation and not all will be saved. Christ’s sacrifice was all-sufficient but only part-efficacious: limited atonement. Some people fall into serious sin which, if not repented of, will ensure eternal damnation. (I have a post on these Bible verses, let me know if you would like the URL.)

    9/ (No question 9.)

    10/ No, no one can fully understand God’s ways. As we are prone to sin, none of us really deserves to inherit eternal life with Him. He chooses some and not others. It is not for us to question. However, we can pray that he chooses as many people as possible and our spreading the Gospel to the entire world will help ensure that His Word reaches the ends of the Earth. In any event, we cannot love more than God does. To presume so would be akin to Pelagianism?

    11/ See response to No. 10. None of us is capable of understanding Almighty God with relation to inherently sinful mankind.

    Questions to come:

    7/ We cannot and should not presume to think the way God thinks.

    9/ See answer to question 8 above.

    12/ This is a new one, not addressed as far as I have read in Calvinism. Does God save more Caucasians? How do we know? Answer back to you. He might save more Africans or South Americans. Calvinism has not, as far as I know, ever made an eschatological statement based on race. To accuse it of such is highly questionable (putting it politely).

    13/ One often seeks assurance and does a regular examination of conscience. Perhaps this is based on my Catholic upbringing — a good exercise, nonetheless.

    14/ I do not know. To presume to know would be presuming to know how God thinks. We cannot know His ways.

    15/ One pursues one’s path through the grace of God (with gifts of wisdom and discernment, among others, manifest in the Holy Spirit) through holiness, prayer, worship and Scripture study. That said, no man is perfect at his death.

    16/ A personal observation: Man’s inherent evil gives mankind the chance for repentance and turning towards the Gospel. How could the Holocaust make God proud? I do not understand this reasoning or this question.

    17/ See answer to question 10 in first section.

    18/ Whatever goes against the New Testament is suspect. This is why we have God’s grace and the Holy Spirit (ordinance of Confirmation). We are called to imitate the example of the Bereans in studying the Scripture and comparing the teachings we receive against it.

    19/ See answer to Question 8 in first section.

    20/ Personally, I don’t know. Could it be because so many rejected Jesus? Was it part of God’s plan as a call to repentence?

    21/ Do we know that he wasn’t saved? Perhaps he was saved at a later time?

    22/ AFAIK, irresistible grace pertains only to the elect. Some ‘reprobates’ are never elect.

    23/ Adam and Eve already sinned. God gave them the chance to live without the Tree of Knowledge, but they chose it. They played, they paid, we inherit.

    24/ Error and heresy are easy to slip into. One has only to look to today’s churches. If you have to ask about that, I would be surprised and disappointed.

    25/ We should pray that God saves as many people as possible. He hears the prayers of His people.

    26/ ‘Whole world’ means body of true believers. Again, it is sufficient for all, efficacious for some: limited atonement.

    Please note, I’m not a theologian but a simple quasi-Calvinist layperson.

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