So I decide to go on Calvinist Gadfly this evening for some good reading and...again my blood pressure rises. On the blog is linked an article by an interim Pastor at a Baptist church, Nelson Price. And, as usual, the old "I don't believe this TULIP stuff, I WONT believe this TULIP stuff and woe unto you if you do" monster raises its ugly head. I'm sure Pastor Price is a stand up guy. He's probably a kind compassionate individual with a heart made of pure gold ore, however, why won't these golden hearted persons ever think through the most plastic of concepts?
"A graphic understood by many Baptists regarding predestination is illustrated by this. A mass of people are gathered at a bus stop marked “Planet Earth.” Along comes the Celestial Bus marked “Destination Heaven.” It pulls up and stops. The driver, who is God, opens the door, and says, “All destined for heaven get on board.” A number do. A missionary couple who with zeal have served Christ all their lives start on and God says, “Step aside. You haven’t been chosen to ride this bus.” A couple of infants start on and God tells them to step aside. Persons who from youth have loved and ministered in Christ’s name are told to step aside. As the bus is about to depart and the door is closing God says to those not on board, “Catch the next bus.” “No,” they plead, “here comes the next bus and it is driven by Satan and marked ‘Destination Hell.’”
“Sorry,” says God. “I didn’t choose to save you. Your love and commitment to Jesus doesn’t matter.”
Belief in a loving God who would deliberately create some persons for the express purpose of sending them to hell is alien to Scripture. Neither can I conceive what one of the foremost Reform Theology authors of this day has said, “Sin was God’s idea.”
The entire article is found here: here
My growing understanding of election is that God sovereignly determining to place His love upon certain individuals. He bases this action on things only within Himself, not things outside of Himself and certainly not on any actions or decisions made by us goofballs. Why do I believe this? Because Paul expresses our utter depravity in sin, Romans 1-3. Jesus takes the time to tell His enemies why they CANNOT believe in John 6. In Ephesians 2, Paul reiterates the truth that we are not poor sick sinners, but dead rebels.
Okay, so here is how I came to this conclusion: I am dead. I enjoy my deadness. I sin within and through my grave. My soul reaks of the curruption of death. The stench rises to heaven and all heaven is poised to decend on my bones and further reduce them to ash. In this most blasphemus state, God calls my name. Pray tell, dear Pastor, what did I do to attract the eyes of the Purest of the Pure? What did I do to cause the sweet gaze of the Holiest of Holy to peer lovingly toward my festering soul? NOTHING. Zip, zilch, nada. According to the Holy Writ:
Ephesians 2:1-3 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath
Please note the last, subtly emphasized words, BY NATURE OBJECTS OF WRATH. What does "by nature" mean, dear sir?
2:3 ἐν οἷς καὶ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἀνεστράφημέν ποτε ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμῶν, ποιοῦντες τὰ θελήματα τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ τῶν διανοιῶν, καὶ ἤμεθα τέκνα φύσει ὀργῆς ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιποί·
Literally the offspring of indignation, those who are characterized or destined for wrath. oops does the text contradict the idea that we somehow have a latent "faith" that is enough to garner the favorable attention of God? We are tekna phusei orges. In the verse prior, we are the huios ho apeitheia, the sons of the unpersuadable or stubborness.
Now, given this, I am undone. I am hopeless. I am a wretched man. However, God is mercying this one.
Therein is the inevitable conclusion that we are totally corrupt...gasp the first T in that deadly acrostic!
Now, the next portion of the thought is "how is a dead person going to obey the command to believe" Well, Mr. Price, perhaps by..er...ummmm RESSURECTION...REGENERATION? The sinner needs to be made ALIVE...uh oh..do I hear echoes of Paul again in my overlarge ears?
Ephesians 2:1, 4-5 "And you (hath he quickened) who were dead in trespasses and sin...4.but God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sin, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by Grace ye are saved)"
Behold dear sir, those who go on to the bus are brought on because of His great love. Those you have described as having a "heart for Jesus" yet being cast away because they were not chosen, is the true oxymoron. They do not exist, sir. Such individuals are human fiction, not Biblical anthropology. Those who do not go on the bus are running madly toward the Devil's bus and hanging on to the bumpers of that hell bound vehicle with lustful glee. Those on God's bus are brought in and placed in their seats and buckled in by the driver himself.
The Gospel of Christ is indeed Good news. God is glorified in the salvation of sinners. The call is real and the dead will hear his voice and rise. The gasp of their first breath says "save me" every breath after is a prayer of worship and praise.