If Calvinism is right, why can't Calvinists move on? Calvinism is known as the doctrine of the elect, or reformed theology, or predestination or a number of other theological terms. It is the idea that certain people have been selected by God to eternal life while others have not. There are other aspects to this soteriological (study of salvation) philosophy such as the depravity of man (the inability of man to save him self) and perseverance of the saints (eternal security of the believer), but the one that is most often spoken about is this idea of predestination. God choosing a few to be saved as examples of His grace.
On the way home yesterday one such preacher was teaching on this subject from his pulpit in California. (Reason enough to be leary of the whole thing if you ask me.) The sure give away that he was a Calvinist was that he constantly referred to God choosing the less lovable of this world for salvation. He consistently insisted people who were honorable or lovely were not what God was seeking. Of course the speaker and his audience were named as a part of the unlovely crowd of which he spoke. I have yet to hear one Calvinist preacher talk of those who were in his audience who were not chosen. It would at least be refreshing to hear one say, "I know it doesn't seem fair that some of us here today are chosen for heaven and others of you are chosen for damnation, but let's all stand and sing, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound..."
Speaking to the idea of God not being fair, the speaker declared that God was not fair, but that He was just. That some were allowed to be saved, while no one was worthy of salvation, showed how gracious God is. Once again, I think the correctness of that statement has a lot to do with which side of the equation in which you fall; the chosen or un-chosen. I'm sorry, but I don't think people who are sentenced to hell with no options for redemption are going to think of God as gracious. His simple analogy was a grammar school soccer game. Because he was of the unlovely and unloved crowd, he was not chosen when sides were picked to play soccer at recess. He assured his listeners he knew something of the pain of not being chosen. I'm sure it wasn't pleasant, but I bet it didn't hurt like hell!
Then he went on to compare the chosen people of the Old Testament with the chosen people of the New Testament. He said the Jews did nothing to merit God's decision to choose them either. I agree whole-heartedly. But to use them as an example of Calvinism is to neglect another major teaching of the five points central to their belief. They teach that no one chosen will ever become un-chosen. No one saved will ever lose that salvation. I believe that too, but I would never use the nation of Israel to back it up. Even Paul, the great Calvinist hero, declared that all Jews were not saved. He would give his life for his brethren if they would only accept salvation through Christ.
Romans 9:1-5 (NKJV)
1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,
2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,
4 who are Israelites,..."
Joshua declared that not all Israel would follow God. He and his family had made the willful decision to do so as he challenged his people to do the same.
Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)
15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
The whole idea of choice seems alien to Calvinists, but it seemed entirely appropriate to Joshua and his family.
Why is it necessary that Calvinist feel it necessary to continually promote their doctrinal bias? While it is an important teaching in their theology, it can't be the only one. I don't hear those who teach that man has the ability to accept or deny God's free gift of grace neglect all other great truths of Scripture.
I will probably receive unkind remarks because of my views. Those who hold to the tenets of Calvinism are often very vocal. Pastor Johnny Hunt of Atanta has had to endure their scorn for years. Even to the point where there was a blog site devoted to demeaning and hurting his character and ministry. I don't want to fight about this myself. I just wanted someone to speak up for free will. Or maybe I will just let God speak for Himself:
2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
John 3:14-17 (NKJV)
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.