Tuesday, June 12, 2012

You can't say that

The go-to verse for Arminians wanting to bludgeon a hyper-Calvinist is of course Ezekiel 33:11 - "Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?"

One such Arminian recently brought this verse to bear in a forum debate about God's disposition toward sinners, and, after hearing the verse a hyper-Calvinist jumped in and asserted that this is all nonsense, God does want men to perish. There is a real sense in which He delights in it.

The average Arminian is like a child, when confronted with a doctrine like election they will lock up and say "but, how can that not make God an arbitrary judge?" Their mind is not able to take it in, they are not able to reconcile a God who is love with a God who would predestine men to hell without their say in it. And they can be forgiven for this, because part of the blame falls on us as Calvinists for not doing a better job of explaining it, and because part of it is their zeal for God's attributes that's causing this. Further, the Arminian is disputing that interpretation of the text on the grounds of it leading to wrong conclusions. He can't grasp it, but he's trying to be faithful to what he knows to be true.

Not so the Hyper-Calvinist. It is not for want of knowledge that he argues that God delights in the death and suffering of the wicked. Nor is it that they are arguing that an invalid or bad conclusion would be reached if the viewpoint is held. They are acting out of sheer, direct rebellion. That's not just bad, that damnable bad. That's very, very bad.
They are taking the plain and honest, direct meaning of scripture and asserting that's not what it means.  Look what happens if you do that with other verses (Matthew 4:10 "Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'") what this really means is that we should worship and serve as many gods as we like, or (Romans 10:9 "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.") do you not know that it is not sufficient to believe and confess? God requires that men first be elected before they can be saved. Once this principle of demanding the opposite of scripture is taken root, any kind of bad tree will flourish. There is no doctrine that can survive the man who has the final say on what the scriptures mean.

It's a whole sale repudiation of Christianity and God Himself. It must not be done. Either He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked or you are not a Christian. There is no third option. Mary was exonerated for quizzically questioning God, but Zechariah was punished for his unbelief, likewise an Arminian may be saved from his ignorance, but a hyper-Calvinist should take care or will be condemned by his own unbelief.

2 comments:

Rick Brownell said...

It amazes me that you can read Scripture with thick blinders on. You can read it and ignore all the verses that surround the passage you are discussing -- and miss the point so effectively! Did you not read verses4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11? Men die due to their wickedness. It is a fact of nature and spiritual truth. If God did not want that to happen, he certainly would not hold them to keeping the law perfectly. He does not take pleasure in it -- but it must happen that they die due to their iniquity.

Phil said...

None of that has anything to do with the point I was making. Care to try again?