Saturday, September 20, 2008

James White & Election

Calvinist, James White, writes: “Jesus begins where Christian salvation begins (and ends!), with the Father. The Father gives a particular people to the Son.” (Debating Calvinism, p.118)

Question: What makes these people, the Father’s eternally “particular people,” which He thus gives to His Son? Is that an unfair question? However, we are only told that it is an unknowable, mystery on the part of God. John MacArthur plainly states that he does not know why. John Calvin calls it an “arbitrary” choice, and accuses those who deny God’s right to make such an arbitrary choice. But all of that misses the point. The point is this: What is Christ’s role in these having become God’s eternally “particular people”? Hint: Calvinism is not front-end Christocentric. Back-end yes; front-end, no. And that really is the nature of why Arminians so often hammer the matter of election being “in Christ” over the heads of Calvinists. Just about every Arminian book that I read, when dealing with Election, focuses strongly on how Arminian election is an “in Chrirst” election, in contrast to Calvinism. Time and time again, I see this.

White adds: “...God brings His elect to Himself in love....(Debating Calvinism, p.306)

Question: How did these become “His elect” in the first place? White, as far as I can tell, does not say. Instead, that is left to an “inscrutable mystery.”

Again, I quote White: “I just also believe the undisputed and unrefuted fact that I come to Christ daily because the Father, on the sole basis of His mercy and grace, gave me to the Son in eternity past.” (Debating Calvinism, p.306)

Question: What's the basis for such a giving? Yes, Arminians do seek a basis.

Now you might say, “Why do you keep pressing this point? We get the message. Calvinism is not as Christocentric as Arminianism.” Well, the reason is because of John 14:6. Calvinism seems to be in plain violation of the principle of John 14:6, and thus is one of the strongest reasons that I can give for rejecting Calvinism. John 14:6 states: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

3 comments:

a helmet said...

How did these become “His elect” in the first place? White, as far as I can tell, does not say. Instead, that is left to an “inscrutable mystery.”

And this even though Eph 1:9 says And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ

Richard Coords said...

Here are three quotes from Jacob Arminius:

“For God chooses no one unto eternal life except in Christ, who prepared it by his own blood for them who should believe on his name. From this it seems to follow that, since God regards no one in Christ unless they are engrafted in him by faith, election is peculiar to believers....” (Works of James Arminius, Volume 3)

God can ‘previously love and affectionate regard as His own’ no sinner unless He has foreknown him in Christ, and looked upon him as a believer in Christ.” (Works of James Arminius, Volume 3)

God acknowledges, as His own, no sinner, and He chooses no one to eternal life except in Christ, and for the sake of Christ. ‘He hath chosen us in Him,’ (Ephes. i. 4); ‘wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved,’ (verse 6). ‘Nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Rom. viii. 39). ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.’ (2 Cor. v. 19).” (Works of James Arminius, Volume 3)

This is a constant theme among Arminians concerning Election.

Paul mentions “In Him,” “In Christ,” “In the Beloved,” 11 times in the first 13 verses of Ephesians chapter 1:

v.1: “The saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus.”

v.3: “Blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

v.4: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.”

v.6: “Which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”

v.7: “In Him we have redemption through His blood.”

v.9: “Which He purposed in Him.”

v.10: “The summing up of all things in Christ.”

v.11: “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance.”

v.12: “We who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.”

v.13: “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

Joseff said...

"By His doing (God's) are you in Christ Jesus...so that whoever boasts let him boast in the Lord"

God's doing, not man's.