Arminian Presupposition #6 Refuted

Arminian Presupposition #6. If God has truly chosen who will be saved and determined that they will certainly believe the gospel, there is no need to preach the gospel to anyone.

This presupposition is also shared by Arminians and Hyper-Calvinists. From it, the Arminian would argue there is a need to preach the gospel to everyone, therefore, election cannot be true. The Hyper-Calvinist would argue that since election is true, there is no need to preach the gospel. For him, all the elect will be saved whether they believe or not. Others would argue that if our doctrine is true, there is no need to pray. The error of both is their failure to understand that the same God who has ordained the end of all things has also ordained the means by which God’s decree are to be accomplished.

We are bound to get into trouble theologically if we put a “therefore” where God has put a period. Is it certain all the elect will be saved? Yes! Is it certain no one will be saved apart from the use of the means God has ordained? Yes! Consider what Paul wrote, “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”

I have no right to reject either the truth that God’s decrees are certain to be fulfilled or that we must be diligent in the use of the means God has ordained to fulfill those decrees. Both are clearly taught in Scripture.

Part of the difficulty results from a confusion of plan, accomplishment and application. Simply because something is planned, even if that plan is certain to be accomplished, does not obviate the need to implement the plan. If the most talented and detail oriented architect in the world designed the most fabulous dwelling ever conceived, no one could live in that house apart from a construction crew coming along and actually building the house. When the house is completed, someone can move into it. It makes no difference how elaborate the plan may be, no one can move into it. God’s blueprint is so perfect that it is without need of alteration, but it needs to be implemented in his works of creation and providence. Predestination is God’s blueprint; Christ’s work of redemption corresponds to the building of the house. Moving into the house is God’s work of application. The blueprint is neither the house nor what occurs on moving day.

God works all things according to his purpose. God’s purpose is not his providence. We must keep those aspects of God’s activity separate. Additionally, our responsibility is not determined by what God has decreed, but by what God has declared. One of the old writers stated it this way–“God’s decree and his acts of providence are to be the Christian’s diary, not his Bible.” We are not to be guided by God’s decree moving forward, but we can rejoice in it looking backward. It is God’s revealed will that must determine our duty, not what he has decreed. One reason we cannot expect to be guided by God’s predestined plan is we cannot know what God has decreed until after an event occurs, unless that plan has been revealed in the Bible. If it occurs, I can be sure God planned it to occur. Until the actual occurrence of an event, I must be guided by his will revealed in the Scriptures.

How do I know to whom I should preach the gospel? Am I able to peer into God’s book of life to learn whom he has chosen? Must I be certain a sinner has been awakened before I can invite him to come to Christ? Of course, the answer is clearly revealed in the Bible. I am to proclaim God’s good news to every creature under heaven and invite whosoever wishes to come and take of the water of life freely.


5 Responses to “Arminian Presupposition #6 Refuted”

  1. January 13, 2013 at 3:44 am

    This question was front and center in the first sermon I preached, from Romans 10. Both sides you mention err in putting man’s wisdom front and center rather than the Word of God, which tells us to proclaim the gospel to spiritually dead people everywhere knowing that God will regenerate those He predestined to salvation – and He uses the simple foolishness of preaching the cross to accomplish this! The Finney fan will say all men can be saved and the fatalist hyper-Calvinist will say (as counselors said to William Carey ?) – If God wants to save the heathen he can do without your help.

    May almighty God give us grace to press on and preach the gospel to all people, trusting Him to raise men from the dead as it pleases Him.

  2. January 13, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Efangelism is great privilege, not just our duty.That God would use as means imperfect mortals for his perfect message speaks volumes.

    • January 13, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      Agreed, but it is nonetheless a duty. Years ago I heard a message on “The Responsibility of Evangelism” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Great message! He spend the first half of the message taking issue with the title that had been assigned to him. His point was that true evangelism is something that grows up out of us as a tree naturally produces fruit. It is not something we hang on the tree externally. Too much of Arminian “evangelism” is merely something people do because it is a duty or because a person can’t be “spiritual” unless he engages in such activity. You are right, we have this treasure in clay pots, that the excellency of the power may be of God, not of us.

      • January 14, 2013 at 11:45 am

        We’ve been doing the Crossing The Barriers evangelism material Sunday and have just finished the ‘Examining Our Motives’ lesson in which ‘love for God and concern for his glory’ and love for man and concern for his welfare are given as what should be our prime motives in evangelism. The course stresses both duty and privilege.

      • January 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm

        I think we have to stress both if we are to be faithful to the Scriptures.

        Sent from my iPad

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