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Chapter Sixteen My Final Answers Throughout his sermons and works, Charles Spurgeon absolutely refused to try to reason

out how certain persons who were not elect could be held accountable for not trusting Christ. If they were not elect, then there was no chance of them ever coming to Christ. So how could they be held responsible for not coming if they never would have in the first place? Spurgeon never made a single attempt to answer such seeming contradictions. What were his grounds for refusing to quarrel about matters like this? Simply, the Scriptures were his grounds. The Bible never offers an explanation about this matter. It merely teaches that God does indeed predestine some to enjoy his glory forever, and that He also predestines some to be abandoned to sin and judgment forever. As stark and scary as it sounds just writing that last half, it’s right from the Scriptures. The Bible teaches that those who are not elect are responsible for their sinful choices and for their rejection of Jesus Christ, the only sacrifice for their sins. But the one thing the Bible does not teach is how these truths are to be “harmonized” or “reconciled.” Therefore, Spurgeon would not fall into the trap of trying to do so. In his mind, and therefore in our minds, we ought not to do such a thing either. These two truths do not need harmonizing. It is our finite minds that pinpoint such supposed contradictions and presumptuously assume they need reconciling. But the Bible presents both truths as truth and does not presume that they are contradictory. It was enough for Spurgeon that there is a salvation to be preached with love to all and that he call to come to Christ and to say, “If he died for all those who trust him, I will trust him; if he has offered so great a sacrifice upon the tree for guilty men, I will rely upon that sacrifice and make it the basis of my hope.”1 It is based on this very testimony and thought process that I give you my final answers on this matter. And though some may think it odd or strange, these answers are all focused on the matter Spurgeon raised – the necessity of man to hear the gospel and follow Jesus Christ. Double-Predestination Makes Christians Cry, “Why Me!” First, the doctrine of double-predestination makes the elect cry to God, “Why me!” It makes a believer reel in shock and wonder that God saved him and not the other guy. It makes one so intimately aware of their own sinfulness as they look at another who is without mercy.
1

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 19, p. 280. Quoted in Murray, p. 99.

“What difference is there between us, O God?!” Nothing whatsoever. And that was the original point back in verse 11. There’s nothing good or bad that separates you, but only God’s sovereign choice to love you and hate (or love less) the other. This doctrine makes you acutely aware of your own unmeritorious standing before God, realizing that you had absolutely nothing to do with God’s setting His affection on you. He did it because it was part of His purpose. And He didn’t do it for the other person because that was part of His purpose too. I don’t know why, and I don’t have any earthly idea. But it’s what the Scriptures say, and its all about God’s glory. That’s truly humbling, reader. Double-Predestination Makes Christians Cry, “Send Me!” Second, this doctrine also makes the elect cry “Send me dear Lord!” With the lack of understanding as to why God did it for them and not for others, the heart surges with urgent desire to go and tell them of God’s mercy so that perhaps God’s sovereign election might include them too in His purpose. I believe it was Spurgeon who somewhere prayed, “God save the elect, and elect some more!” We don’t really know who the elect are, do we? A former colleague in ministry suggested that it would be nice if we could tell who the elect were by looking at their belly-buttons! If you’re an “inny” you’re in, and if you’re an “outy” you’re out! Spurgeon suggested something similar, preaching that we cannot lift up their shirts and see whether or not there’s a gigantic “E” for elect tattooed right on their backs. So if we can’t know who the elect are, and if we don’t know, if we’ll never know for sure in this world who they are, that means we’ve got to get out and tell them all! Now! Yesterday! I mean, if we don’t really know why He showed us mercy in the first place, and if we are keenly aware of nothing different between us and the unsaved guy, then we really don’t know if God will not save the lost guy after all, right? It’s the biblical logic of double-predestination that smashes the criticisms leveled against it. It demands evangelism and missions. It demands that others be told because we really don’t know what God’s ultimate plan and purpose is for that person. Double-Predestination is All About God’s Glory! Finally, “It’s not about us! It’s all about Him! It’s all about the glory due His holy name!” Those words from my buddy Steve Camp (Desiring God, 2002) ring true in my ears yet again. The glory of God is the end of it all. And the sovereignty of God, or the right of God to do with His creation what He wills, is what guides that glory. In other

words, He will by any and all means necessary do whatever He must and use whatever He must, or whoever He must, in order to glorify Himself and make His saving name known throughout all the earth. So let the lost serve as a warning to your soul, that you could have been there were it not for grace. Let it make you hate pride with all your being, since you had nothing to do with any of this! And let it make you long to drink more deeply of His grace and mercy toward you. Lost people should make you glory in His salvation! And again, this doctrine should motivate you and compel you to snatch the lost into the kingdom, pouring out your energy to see them saved from the destruction that awaits them. Who knows but that God may have mercy on them…but only if you tell them! Conclusion: A Passionate Call to Missions and Evangelism My final answers lead me from Romans 9:22-23 to a passionate call for evangelism and missions, locally and abroad. This was the necessary consequence of the doctrines of election and reprobation for Paul in Romans 9-11. Election and reprobation were a call to evangelize because that was how God was going to get glory for Himself throughout all the earth. The fact that those who have been predestined by God for destruction are a stimulus to the elect to fall more and more in love with God for His sovereign mercy leads to the call that Paul makes in chapter 10. Those who become vessels of God’s mercy have a responsibility. Yes, once again our finite minds clash with the truth of God’s sovereignty in Romans 9 and the responsibility of man in Romans 10. Nevertheless, the means of becoming a vessel of mercy is faith in Christ. According to verses 1-13, to be accepted by God and forgiven, we must have the righteousness of God. We get that by believing in the work of Christ. We don’t get it by working in such a way as to try to acquire our own righteousness. To do that will only leave us ashamed on judgment day. God’s righteousness is available to anyone who will believe. There’s no distinction between people groups. Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. There’s the promise from God to the responsibility of man. But the questions then present themselves to us in rapid firing succession. “How are they to call on one they have not believed in? And how are they to believe in one they have not heard of? And how are they to hear without someone preaching to them? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?

As it is written, ‘How timely is the arrival of those who proclaim the good news…’ Consequently, faith comes from what is heard, And what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ.” (Romans 10:14-15, 17) This is the heart of the apostle Paul, one who believed in doublepredestination. And it has been the heart of every sincere, authentic Calvinist I’ve ever met. So it continues to astound me that these type of people are stereotyped as missions-killers, or something to that effect. The Scriptures are clear enough in Romans 9 that God elects some and does not elect others. And they are equally clear in Romans 10 that God wants us to get the gospel out to everybody. God elects, but we’ve got to preach! Why is that so hard for anti-Calvinists to accept? Why is it so hard for them to accept the fact that Calvinists believe both? And even though it may be hard for them to grasp, why take that joy away from the Calvinist? He doesn’t have it worked out, but he’s fine with that fact. Just because the anti-Calvinist is not fine with it doesn’t mean he can or should attack the Calvinist. That’s imply absurd. That’s like saying, because you don’t see the things the way I do, you’re wrong. There were two particular encounters I had with two different persons in the course of my whole conflict. These two encounters emphasize what I just stated in the previous paragraph. One was with the assistant administrator of our Christian school. Her father was a pastor, and from what I heard he seemed to preach the gospel. But in his theology there was no room for the doctrines of predestination, election, reprobation, etc. That theology rubbed off on his daughter. After the conflict erupted at the school the last week of April and first week of May, she was one of only two teachers who desired to chat with me about my views. She was quite emotional in a very positive sense, weeping at times for the souls of the children at the school. I praise God for that kind of care. It was the logic of her grave dislike for me that I challenged. She opened our school’s doctrinal statement and showed the following line to me: quote line here. My response was simply that what I believed did not contradict that truth. I believed that truth and I believed in double-predestination as well. She was dumbfounded, as most are, that I could believe two things that seem so contradictory, although she flat out told me they were contradictory.

My explanation fell on deaf ears. She had neither the categories into which to put my truths, nor did she have the willingness to learn it. Even when I tried to explain it to her, telling her that both are true and we must simply accept it and go on with the work of winning students to Christ, she had the gall to tell me that I could not logically do it with any degree of sincerity. She simply and arrogantly concluded that I did not believe the point in the doctrinal statement and therefore did not believe in evangelism. In her mind, if she couldn’t figure it out then I must be wrong, and I must be teaching false doctrine, which means I must need to leave! I was accused of being a “hyper-Calvinist” and I was summarily dismissed, the meeting was ended. Now, undoubtedly my frustration probably came through. It comes through in the anti-calvinist’s unwillingness to simply read Romans 10 as a balance to Romans 9. I wholeheartedly believe with Paul (and Jesus, for that matter!) that the preaching of the gospel is necessary. God has not only ordained some to salvation, but He has also ordained the means by which they would come to faith in Christ. That means is the preaching of the gospel. Somehow, in the anticalvinist’s mind, if you believe in election, you don’t believe in evangelism. But God has ordained the means as well as the ends. In perusing the internet one day for some helpful information on how others have handled this issue, I came across one brother’s discussion forum. He stated the matter this way. “When God predestines a person to be saved, He also predestines that someone will take the Gospel to him and that he will believe on Jesus Christ.”2 Normally, much of what I find on the information superhighway is road kill! But in this brother’s response, I have found some very valuable help and if you’ll allow, I’d like to pass it along to you. It is explanatory and devotional in nature; a corrective to reformed people who are practical hyper-calvinists (denying what it teaches, but practicing it regularly) and to Calvinists who just need to get off their “duff” and win souls to Christ! “Predestination should never be thought of as a nonstop express train which detours around the Gospel to get to heaven. Predestination does not teach that God has appointed this man or that man unto salvation, regardless of whether he hears the Gospel and believes in Christ. Rather, predestination decrees that the individual will both hear and believe the Gospel in order that he might be saved. But
2

John Kohler. Historic Baptist discussion forum (HistoricBaptist@yahoogroups.com), subject: “Double Predestination is not Hypercalvinism” at http://dshortt.homestead.com/files/ hbs_double_predestination_is_not_hypercalvinism.htm.

doesn’t this mean that we don’t have to worry about evangelism or missions, because if we don’t the Gospel to men, then God will make sure someone else will? The faithful child of God would never reason in this way. “Don’t you want to be faithful to your Lord? Aren’t you excited about the Lord’s salvation and full of exuberance that your sins are forgiven? How can you keep it inside? Evangelism should be natural for one who truly knows the Lord and has experienced His forgiveness. We should never be afraid to tell others about the Lord, hoping someone else will do our part. Moreover, God has foreordained, not only the fact that His elect will hear His Gospel, but also the circumstances whereby they will hear it…the time, the place, and the persons He will use to bring the Gospel to them. If God has foreordained that you will take the Gospel to someone then He will give you the burden, the boldness, the grace, the joy and the wisdom to do just that. There are no ‘holes’ in God’s purposes. He does not ordain merely the destination, but also the route we shall take to get there. His predestination does not merely place us on a boat headed for salvation…it also designs where we shall be and what we shall do on that boat. God has purposed whatsoever comes to pass…even down to the tiniest details of our lives! When people express concern that predestination kills any motivation to evangelize, it is often because they have erroneous ideas about the part we play in evangelism.”3 In conclusion, my plea is that instead of worrying how a Calvinist can believe both truths at the same time, the anti-Calvinist should thank God that the Calvinist preaches the gospel with fervor! The antiCalvinist should also not question the sincerity of the Calvinist who preaches the gospel, but follow Paul’s simple counsel in 1 Corinthians 13, “love believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Believe that your brother in Christ, “that Calvinist over there,” truly loves the lost and sincerely preaches the gospel to them. This is what the assistant administrator and Alex did not do for me. They would not allow me to believe both, nor would they represent me as such. Finally, I plead with the anti-Calvinists to partner with the Calvinist in preaching the gospel. In the end, we’re going to be judged by what we have done in ministry for the Lord just as much as we will by what we believed. So if a genuine Calvinist is blood-earnest about gospel
3

Ibid.

preaching, winning lost souls for Christ, and going to the unreached people groups of the world, then throw out your fleshly inhibitions about his sincerity and go preach with him!4 If you do not do this, then you are actually the one impeding the progress of the gospel because of your own personal problems. Focus on what’s most important here. Major on the majors, and minor on the minors.

4

For me personally, the most heartwarming examples of what Puritans called “experimental Calvinism” can be seen in their writings. Time and again they are seen expounding the glories of God’s predestination, only to conclude with tearful and fervent pleadings for men to come to Christ and embrace the truth and person of the gospel message. For example, see John Brown, 1 Peter, Vol. 1, pp. 319-20.