Sunday, April 15, 2007

What is the Calling of God?

Romans 1:4-7 states: “Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Question: Who are “the called of Jesus Christ”?

Answer: There are two calls, though not the same two calls taught by Calvinism. There is the universal call to live in Christ. Matthew 22:14 states: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” There is also the call to live for Christ, which speaks of the Holy Calling, in terms of the function in which each Christian has been uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit and predestined by God the Father to perform within the body of Christ. 2nd Timothy 1:9 states: “...who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.” Lest the Calvinists think that this is what they had in the Father, notice that this is what is in Christ. Essential to Calvinism is a notion of two Elections, a primary election in the Father, by sovereign grace, and a secondary election in Christ, by faith. However, the Calvinist’s ‘primary election’ never happened, and couldn’t happen, because apart from the basis of being in Christ, we would have no standing with the Father. Jesus states: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) The fact that we have our calling in Christ from all eternity, speaks to the fact that having been foreknown in Christ (Romans 8:29), God has an eternal plan for each Christian. Paul referred to Christians as “the called” in order to emphasize this fact, that is, that each Christian has a unique calling and a unique election, according to the unique gift of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon each believer in Christ for the evangelization of the lost world, and for the edification and growth of the body of Christ. (What is amazing to me is that every time the Calvinist reads the word "foreknowledge," they see "foreordination." As to the answer of why, refer to the discussion below on The Glasses of a Calvinist. The glasses of Determinism dictates that foreknowledge is not prescience of free choices, but of decreed choices. To suggest that foreknowledge determines choices is a gaffe in logic.)

For a more detailed discussion, here is a link to Romans 1:6:
http://www.examiningcalvinism.com/files/Paul/Romans1_6.html

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Question: Why do we need Jesus if we are already predestined to be with the father?

Calvinist Response: That is just one of the mysteries of the bible

I cry Bunk

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

Jason,

Here is a link to discussion on that very thought:

http://www.examiningcalvinism.com/files/Complaints/ac_whyjesus.html

Turretinfan said...

Anonymous (Jason?) - That is not the historical Calvinist response to the question.

The historical Calvinist repsonse to that question is that we are predestined to be with the Father by the work of His Son.

Both the end (heaven) and the means (sanctification by the blood of Christ) are ordained by God.

-Turretinfan

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

Turretinfan,

Jason and I are very close to some fine Christian Calvinists, including my brother in law, Darrell, as well as "Jamie," who is also a wonderful Christian brother. We meet on Saturday mornings for a Bible study with Sovereign Grace Church, and then afterward, we meet at Jason's for another Bible study. In any case, when Jason asked this question, Jamie had responded with: "Well brother, that's just one of the great mysteries of the Bible." So that's what Jason was referencing.

By the way, I'm reading Shank's book, Elect in the Son, and his argument was that the Cross, from his perspective on Calvinism, was not a genuine saving act, but rather, divine pageantry. The quotes are listed in the link. Feel free to share your feelings on his thoughts.

God bless,

Richard

Turretinfan said...

Richard,

I think we both recognize that "that's just a mystery" is a cop-out.

The idea that Jesus' atonement was not a genuine saving act is foreign to Reformed theology.

-Turretinfan

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

To Turretinfan:

One Calvinist explained to me: “Do Calvinists secretly believe that God chose them for some reason other than their need for salvation? Would I, as a Christian, believe that God chose me for some other reason than my need for salvation? Yes, I do. God chose me for His glory, for His pleasure, for His purposes. Sure I had a need for salvation. But that is not why He saved me primarily.”

He added: “In the Bible, God does not say He chose us because of our desperate need. He chose us before our need ever arose.”

The Arminian perspective is that these two quotes renders the Cross as divine pageantry, rather than an authentic saving act, as Shank argues in his book, Elect in the Son. My Arminian perspective, and it's just a perspective, is that Calvinism renders a certain segment of the lost as eternally reconciled and eternally mediated in the secret counsel of God, making the Cross a legal formality, rather than a mission of saving truly lost people. Again, that's just the Arminian's thinking. In other words, how can a person who is secretly reconciled, genuinely be lost? The confidence that I had as a Calvinist (4-point Supralapsarian, symmetrical Double Predestinationist), was that I was never really lost, never really going to spend eternity in Hell, and that my destiny for salvation was already decided, in that I was eternally set apart in the secret hand of God. Calvinism (At least how I understood it), made me feel very secure, very important and very confident, in that the rest of lost humanity were mere fillers and extras on the stage of life, whose purpose was merely to serve to mold me. (like Goliath was an instrument to the spiritual growth of David, which was an example that I would use) However, when confronted by certain passages in the Bible, I came to think differently, and that the only true security that I now have is the new birth that I have in Christ as "born again," which can never be taken away, and is eternally settled. So the root of my confidence now is "in Christ," and how I was literally plucked from the path of eternal damnation. The real question now, is what are those verses that swayed me.

Christ is I AM said...

Hey can you post the answers to the verses taht you asked us to determine which ones are the ones to live in Christ and the ones to live for Christ??

Richard Coords said...

Hello Mr. Chu,

I don't recall which article listed those verses, but let me say this: The call to live *in* Christ deals with the general call of the Gospel, such as Acts 17:30, in Paul's sermon to the Athenians. Another good example is the parable of the Wedding Feast at Mattew 22:2, which is a call that goes out generally and indiscriminately. The other "calling" deals with your vocation in Christ. It deals with what God has in store for you as a Christian. For instance, after you become a Christian, God may call you to the mission field. So this is a Christian's calling. What is your calling?

Christ is I AM said...

The page is Romans 1:6!! Also can you add the one for Hebrews 3:1, 9:15, and 1 Peter 1:15??