Monday, October 25, 2010

Elect Complacency?

It's probably no huge secret that if it would not look utterly ridiculous, I would probably tattoo "Just Read Calvin's Institutes" somewhere visibly on my body for all to see.  But since I love my husband, and I really don't want to outright offend some people, I will not be doing that any time soon.  This past week I have been in two discussions that involved the acronym T.U.L.I.P. and wouldn't you know it, in both conversations the opposing converser brought up the idea formatted below:

1. You are elect to be saved by God.
2. If you are truly elect, you will persevere throughout said elect life until the end.
3. Why then evangelize, and why go to church?

Now, there are vast holes in that logical formula, but go with it for a moment.  I am continually baffled that non-Calvinists will think that Calvinists believe that evangelism, missions, preaching of the Gospel is not necessary because if someone is elect by God to be saved, well then clearly God will save them.  Maybe its the term "elect" that immediately puts in to mind a small, collective group - but I am telling you, that as a Calvinist, I hope and pray that God's elect is the majority, not the minority.  A Calvinist does not believe in a small god; a Calvinist does not believe that God's works are minor; a Calvinist does not sit back and wait for God to take care of that small portion known as "the elect."  We read the same Bible that you do.  I sit back, in tears, marveling over Paul's words in Ephesians 3:14-21:

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen!!"  (emphasis mine)

I feel a little like Shylock saying this, but if we read it, are we not moved?  Is the Holy Spirit not at work within us?  Is the power of the Almighty, Amazing, Wonderful God of the Universe not at work WITHIN us?  No one comes to the Father except through Christ.  How are they to believe if they have not heard? How are they to hear without someone preaching?  How are they to preach unless they are sent?  Why would a Calvinist ever deny this?

Just because we believe that the elect are chosen by God to be saved at His appointed time, does not mean that God magically reaches down from the Heavenly throne and stamps their forehead with a tattoo that says, "Elected!" and that's it, they are saved.  No!  They are saved because they heard the Gospel, repented and believed.  This happens because God ordained it from the beginning of time by His gracious and good will.

Ah, and here is where all the wonderful "what if" questions come up.  "What if that person was elect and  at that time they were supposed to hear, and they didn't.  What then?"  Please see blog post here.  Nonsense is still nonsense even when we talk it about God.  This is the great and wonderful thing of missions and evangelism that the church of God gets to be a part of.  Is there no better time in the life of a follower of Christ than to pray with someone as they believe in Jesus as their Savior?  Is there no better time that is more precious and more wonderful than that?  Think about it on a vastly huge, cosmological level for a second.  God ordained for that moment to happen not only in the life of the vessel chosen for glory, but in your own life as a harvester of the Word that was sown.  You are given the opportunity to see God's greatest action of all, salvation, happen!  PRAISE GOD!  IS THERE ANYTHING THAT IS BETTER THAN THAT?

So, I would like to correct the assumption that is out there that Calvinist's don't do missions, don't see the need for church, don't evangelize to people.  Instead, let's think of it this way:

1. You are elect to be saved by God.
2. If you are truly elect, you will persevere throughout said elect life until the end.
3. If you are elect, someone will have come into your life to tell you about your Savior Jesus Christ, and you will grow in the grace and knowledge of your Savior both personally and corporately as you worship God here on this earth and in eternity.  

No comments:

Post a Comment