Thursday, June 19, 2014

Reformed Theology and the Doctrine of Election

According to my understanding of the Bible, we can rest assured that my 20-month-old daughter, Miriam, is loved by God with a perfect, unsurpassable love. We can also, I believe, have confidence that he sent his Son - Christ Jesus - into the world to save her, and that he will ultimately be successful in his mission. Thus, even though she is not yet a believer, her ultimate salvation is not just "possible" (or even "probable") but absolutely certain. We can also, I believe, be confident that the very same can be said for all of God's human creatures, whether they are children or adults. According to my understanding of Scripture, there is no human being born into this world whom God does not love with a redeeming love, and whom he has not planned on ultimately delivering from sin, pain and death. And since Jesus taught that, with regards to man's salvation, all things are possible with God,[1] I believe we can trust that God can and will ultimately reconcile all human beings to himself, irrespective of their beliefs or the condition of their heart when they "breathe their last." Our choices in this life do not determine our final, "eternal" state, and there is no verse of Scripture (when properly translated and understood) that reveals otherwise.

Most Christian churches and denominations throughout history, however, have not shared this view of what God will accomplish in the end. Instead, they have denied either God's power and ability OR his desire and will to save all people. It would seem that most Christians today - no matter what denomination they are apart of - believe that God truly wants everyone to be saved. However, it is also believed that God is - for whatever reason - unable to bring this about and make it a reality. In what sense (one might reasonably ask) could God be unable to accomplish the salvation of everyone he genuinely wants to save? That's a good question. I doubt most Christians who believe this to be the case can even say; most likely, they just accept it as being so, and choose not to give it too much thought or reflection. Perhaps it's because God just doesn't know how to bring about the circumstances in which all people will eventually choose to trust in and love him. Whatever the reason, God - according to most Christians - truly wants something to happen (the salvation of all) but, ultimately, just can't make it so. His "hands are tied."

Although this is arguably the belief of most Christians today, there are other Christians who think otherwise. Those who disagree that God is unable to save everyone he wants to save typically identify themselves as "Calvinists" or "Reformed" Christians. According to the distinctive beliefs of this theological camp, God is not at all unable to save all people. No, he's perfectly able to do so; theoretically, he could reconcile all people to himself if he really wanted to. According to these Christians, the reason why all people will not be reconciled to God and saved is because it's not part of God's sovereign purpose (and never has been). 

Among the Christian denominations denying God's desire and will (or "sovereign purpose") to reconcile all people to himself is the Presbyterian church to which I belonged for more than thirty years. According to the Reformed theology to which this denomination (but not necessarily all, or even most, of its members) subscribes, God's sovereign desire and intention has never been to save all people. If the "official" Reformed theological position of my former church is true, then one must admit the following as being a very real possibility: My daughter Miriam (who, being only 20 months old as I write this, is not yet a believer) is not one of those whom God has ever had any real intention of saving. That is, by virtue of that which the theology of my former church explicitly affirms regarding God's redemptive purpose, it implicitly affirms the very real possibility that my daughter is, at this very moment, destined for an eternity in hell.

Like all Reformed denominations, the doctrinal stance of the Presbyterian church in which I grew up is based on the theology of John Calvin and his theological successors. One of the things John Calvin believed and taught was that only a select few have been selected and predestined by God to go to heaven, while the rest (the majority of people) are doomed to suffer God's wrath in hell for all eternity. According to Calvinism, the majority of people (the non-elect, or "reprobate") were doomed for hell before they were even born, without any hope of being saved. Their fate was sealed long before they even came into the world and took their first breath.

Historically, Calvinists have been divided over whether the fate of everyone who will ultimately end up in hell was fixed by God before the fall of man (historically known as "supralapsarianism") or after the fall of man ("infralapsarianism"). The so-called "supralapsarian" view is considered the historic Calvinist view.[2] But regardless of which view to which the Calvinist holds, the fact remains that, according to Reformed theology, there are many human beings who come into this world whom God has never had any intention of saving, and who thus have never had any hope or "chance" of being saved. They come into this world predestined for an eternity in hell, according to the sovereign purpose of the God who created them and continually sustains them in existence. Calvin even taught that all infants come into the world hell-bound - that is, until they are regenerated and saved. But according to Calvin, God has elected only some to be regenerated. Consider the following excerpts from Calvin (emphasis mine), keeping in mind that this man is highly revered by many Christians (including the leaders of the church in which I was brought up):

"We call predestination God's eternal decree, by which he determined with himself what he willed to become of each man. For all are not created in equal condition: rather, eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal damnation for others. Therefore, as any man has been created to one or the other of these ends, we speak of him as predestined to life or to death." (Inst., Book 3, Sec. 5)

"We say, then, that Scripture clearly proves this much, that God by his eternal and immutable counsel determined once for all those whom it was his desire one day to admit to salvation, and those whom, on the other hand, it was his desire to doom to destruction. We maintain that this counsel, as regards the elect, is founded on his free mercy, without any respect to human worth, while those whom he dooms to destruction are excluded from access to life by a just and blameless, but at the same time incomprehensible judgment...But as the Lord seals his elect by calling and justification, so by excluding the reprobate either from the knowledge of his name or the sanctification of his Spirit, he by these marks in a manner discloses the judgment which awaits them."(Inst. Book 3, Sec. 7)

"The human mind, when it hears this doctrine, cannot restrain its petulance, but boils and rages as if aroused by the sound of a trumpet. Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an invidious charge admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobated (Bernard. in Die Ascensionis, Serm. 2). This they do ignorantly and childishly since there could be no election without its opposite reprobation. God is said to set apart those whom he adopts for salvation. It were most absurd to say, that he admits others fortuitously, or that they by their industry acquire what election alone confers on a few. Those, therefore, whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children." (Inst. Book 3, Sec. 1)

"And the Apostle most distinctly testifies, that "death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned," (Rom. 5:12); that is, are involved in original sin, and polluted by its stain. Hence, even infants bringing their condemnation with them from their mother’s womb, suffer not for another’s, but for their own defect. For although they have not yet produced the fruits of their own unrighteousness, they have the seed implanted in them. Nay, their whole nature is, as it were, a seed-bed of sinand therefore cannot but be odious and abominable to God. Hence it follows, that it is properly deemed sinful in the sight of God; for there could be no condemnation without guilt." (Inst. Book 2, Sec. 8)

"But how, they ask, are infants regenerated, when not possessing a knowledge of either good or evil? We answer, that the work of God, though beyond the reach of our capacity, is not therefore null. Moreover, infantswho are to be saved (and that some are saved at this age is certain) must, without question, be previously regenerated by the Lord. For if they bring innate corruption with them from their mother’s womb, they must be purified before they can be admitted into the kingdom of God, into which shall not enter anything that defileth (Rev. 21:27). If they are born sinners, as David and Paul affirm, they must either remain unaccepted and hatedby God, or be justified." (Inst. Book 4, Sec. 17)

"If those on whom the Lord has bestowed his election, after receiving the sign of regeneration, depart this life before they become adults, he, by the incomprehensible energy of his Spirit, renews them in the way which he alone sees to be expedient." (Inst. Book 4, Sec. 16, 21)

"And, indeed, Christ was sanctified from earliest infancy, that he might sanctify his elect in himself at any age, without distinction…This, at least, we set down as incontrovertible, that none of the elect is called away from the present life without being previously sanctified and regenerated by the Spirit of God." (Inst. Book 4, Sec. 18)

"As far as relates to young children, they seem to perish not by their own, but for another's fault; but the solution is twofold; for although sin does not appear in them, yet it is latent,since they carry about with them corruption shut up in their soul, so that they are worthy of condemnation before God." (Ezek. Comm. 18:4)

"We ought, therefore, to hold it as a settled point, that all who are destitute of the grace of God are involved in the sentence of eternal death. Hence it follows, that the children of the reprobate, whom the curse of God pursues, are liable to the same sentence. Isaiah, therefore, does not speak ofinnocent children, but of flagitious and unprincipled childrenwho perhaps even exceeded their parents in wickedness; in consequence of which they were justly associated with their parents, and subjected to the same punishment, seeing that they have followed the same manner of life…it was with their parents that the rejection began, on account of which they also have been forsaken and rejected by God. Their own guilt is not set aside as if they had been innocent; but, having been involved in the same sins as to reprobation, they are also liable to the same punishments andmiseries." (Isa. Comm. 14:21)

"I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless that it so seemed meet to God? Here the most loquacious tongues must be dumb. The decree, I admit, is, dreadfuland yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknow what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree. Should anyone here inveigh against the prescience of God, he does it rashly and unadvisedly. For why, pray, should it be made a charge against the heavenly Judge, that he was not ignorant of what was to happen? Thus, if there is any just or plausible complaint, it must be directed against predestination." (Inst. Book 3, Sec. 23, 7)

Now, according to the Reformed theology of Calvin, while we may hope that my daughter is among those whom God has predestined for heaven, we cannot have any real assurance that this is the case - at least, not until it becomes evident that she has become a believer (and even then, there's always a chance that we could be mistaken about this, just as we can be mistaken about whether some adults have truly come to saving faith). In fact, we cannot have any assurance that God intends to save any newborn, infant or young child who, as far as we know, has yet to be "regenerated" by God, and has not yet given any indication that they really understand - let alone believe - the truth of the gospel. Even if my daughter does turn out to be one of those fortunate few whom God chose for salvation before the foundation of the world, the following would (according to Calvinist theology) still be the case: there are, in all likelihood, multitudes of human beings at various stages of life who came into this world whom God has never had any intention of saving, and who thus have only an eternity in hell to look forward to.

It should be emphasized that this article isn't "merely" about the possibility of infant damnation, only. The view of Calvin and other like-minded theologians on the subject of infant damnation was merely an extension of their view on election and salvation in general. Although John Calvin and other Reformed theologians clearly believed that some (perhaps even most) human beings who die in infancy are not regenerated by God before they die (and thus are among the non-elect, or reprobate), the issue I want to focus on is not whether one believes that some who die in infancy will be damned. Instead, the position I want to challenge is that there are ANY human beings who come into this world whom God has never had any intention of saving, and who thus have no hope of ever being saved by God. For it is this position that all honest, informed and consistent adherents of Reformed theology - the kind of theology to which my former denomination faithfully submits (as I will demonstrate shortly) - must affirm. To deny it would be to deny an essential and distinctively Reformed doctrine.

Consider, for example, the following excerpts from the Westminster Confession of Faith (a document containing an explicit affirmation of Reformed theology):

THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH. A.D. 1647

CHAPTER 3 - OF GOD'S ETERNAL DECREE

3.1 God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

3.2 Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

3.3 By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

3.4 These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.

3.5 Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto; and all to the praise of his glorious grace.

3.6 As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

3.7 The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy, as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.

3.8 The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men, attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.

CHAPTER 10 - OF EFFECTUAL CALLING

10.1 All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by his almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.

10.2 This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.

10.3 Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth: so also are all other elect persons who are uncapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

10.4 Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the laws of that religion they do profess. And, to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested.

Now, it is evident that the denomination to which my former church belongs (the “Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians,” or “ECO”) views this particular Reformed confession (among others) as a good expression of their theological position. Consider the following statements from ECO's "Essential Tenets and Confessional Standards"
[3]:

The Reformed understanding of the church’s confessional and theological tradition sees contemporary Christians as participants in an enduring theological and doctrinal conversation that shapes the patterns of the church’s faith and life. Communities of believers from every time and place engage in a continuous discussion about the shape of Christian faith and life, an exchange that is maintained through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Today’s church brings its insights into an ongoing dialogue with those who have lived and died the Faith before us. Voices from throughout the church’s life contribute to the interchange – ancient voices that articulate the enduring rule of faith, sixteenth and seventeenth century voices that shape the Reformed tradition, and twentieth century voices that proclaim the church’s faith in challenging contexts. The confessions in the Book of Confessions were not arbitrarily included, but were selected to give faithful voice to the whole communion of saints.

The Book of Confessions is an appropriate expression of the Reformed commitment to honor our fathers and mothers in the Faith. It begins with two foundational creeds, shared throughout the whole Church. The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is the decisive dogmatic articulation of Trinitarian faith. It establishes the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of Christian theology. The Apostles’ Creed is the Baptismal creed that expresses the shared belief of the faithful as persons are incorporated into the body of Christ. Two Reformation confessions, Scots and Second Helvetic, and one Reformation catechism, Heidelberg, give voice to the dawning of the Reformed tradition. The seventeenth century Westminster standards powerfully express God’s sovereignty over all of life. The Theological Declaration of Barmen, the Confession of 1967, and A Brief Statement of Faith articulate the church’s fidelity to the gospel in the midst of uncongenial and sometimes hazardous cultures. These confessions, from widely different contexts, are complementary. They do not sing in unison, but in a rich harmony that glorifies God and deepens our enjoyment of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit.

Are these the only voices that could be included in the church’s theological conversation? No, but they are faithful witnesses to the gospel and appropriate expressions of the Reformed perspective on Christian faith and life. Participating in their colloquy frees us from the narrow prison cell of our own time and place by listening to the voices of our brothers and sisters who struggled to be faithful in diverse circumstances. Through their confessions of faith we are privileged to hear their wisdom in the midst of our own struggle to be faithful. We overhear conversations among our forebears that expand and enrich our apprehension of the gospel. Sometimes we simply listen in on their discussion, at other times we pay particular attention to one of their voices, and many times we find ourselves participating actively in lively instruction.

The questions of our parents in the faith may not be identical to ours, but their different approaches enable us to understand our own questions better. Their answers may not be identical to ours, yet their answers startle us into new apprehensions of the truth. We may sometimes be puzzled by their particular questions or answers, but even that perplexity serves to clarify our own thinking and the shape of our faithfulness. Throughout the conversation we are aware that all councils may err, yet because we are not doctrinal progressives we acknowledge the confessions have a particular authority over us: we are answerable to them before they are answerable to us.

This section closes with the following words:

Neither the Fellowship nor the ECO can imagine that it should or could disavow the Reformed confessional heritage. Whatever the church’s confessional and theological failings may be, they are the failings of all of us. The task now is to embody faithful ways of being Presbyterian. The most appropriate footing for a new venture is the faithful doctrinal and theological foundation provided by the creeds, confessions, and catechisms of the Book of Confessions.

Not only does ECO implicitly affirm the Reformed theology expressed in the Westminster Confessions, but we find also an explicit affirmation of the Reformed doctrines of "Total
 Depravity," "Unconditional Election" and "Irresistible Grace." In the next section entitled "Essential Tenets," we read:

Presbyterians have been of two minds about essential tenets. We recognize that just as there are some central and foundational truths of the gospel affirmed by Christians everywhere, so too there are particular understandings of the gospel that define the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition. All Christians must affirm the central mysteries of the faith, and all those who are called to ordered ministries in a Presbyterian church must also affirm the essential tenets of the Reformed tradition. Recognizing the danger in reducing the truth of the gospel to propositions that demand assent, we also recognize that when the essentials become a matter primarily of individual discernment and local affirmation, they lose all power to unite us in common mission and ministry.

Essential tenets are tied to the teaching of the confessions as reliable expositions of Scripture. The essential tenets call out for explication, not as another confession, but as indispensable indicators of confessional convictions about what Scripture leads us to believe and doEssential tenets do not replace the confessions, but rather witness to the confessions’ common core. This document is thus intended not as a new confession but as a guide to the corporate exploration of and commitment to the great themes of Scripture and to the historic Reformed confessions that set forth those themes.

Under heading III ("Essentials of the Reformed Tradition"), A ("God’s grace in Christ"), we find an affirmation of the doctrine of Total Depravity (the "T" in the acronym "TULIP"):

As a result of sin, human life is poisoned by everlasting death. No part of human life is untouched by sin. Our desires are no longer trustworthy guides to goodness, and what seems natural to us no longer corresponds to God’s design. We are not merely wounded in our sin; we are dead, unable to save ourselves. Apart from God’s initiative, salvation is not possible for us. Our only hope is God's grace. We discover in Scripture that this is a great hope, for our God is the One whose mercy is from everlasting to everlasting.

This grace does not end when we turn to sin. Although we are each deserving of God’s eternal condemnation, the eternal Son assumed our human nature, joining us in our misery and offering Himself on the cross in order to free us from slavery to death and sin. Jesus takes our place both in bearing the weight of condemnation against our sin on the cross and in offering to God the perfect obedience that humanity owes to Him but is no longer able to give. All humanity participates in the fall into sin. Those who are united through faith with Jesus Christ are fully forgiven from all our sin, so that there is indeed a new creation. We are declared justified, not because of any good that we have done, but only because of God’s grace extended to us in Jesus Christ. In union with Christ through the power of the Spirit we are brought into right relation with the Father, who receives us as His adopted children.

Notice that, according to ECO, "all humanity participates in the fall into sin," and is thus "deserving of God's eternal condemnation." This means that newborns are just as deserving of God's eternal condemnation as adults (which, as we've seen, was the view of Calvin and the Westminster Divines). Moreover, according to the doctrine of Total Depravity (or "Total Inability"), we are, by nature, completely unable to respond positively to God and his grace, and must undergo a radical spiritual transformation (in which our heart is regenerated by God) before we are able to exercise faith in Christ and be saved. All who do not undergo this transformation of the heart and exercise faith in Christ before physical death must suffer the full outpouring of God’s wrath in hell for all eternity. And apart from God’s mercifully choosing to intervene in a person’s life and causing them to undergo this transformation, no one would be saved. We would all remain in a state of spiritual blindness and hardness of heart that makes us utterly incapable of responding to the gospel of Christ with saving faith.

To quote Reformed pastor and bestselling author Tim Keller,
 "...all human beings, given a hundred chances, a thousand chances, an infinite number of chances, will always – because their desires are such – will always choose to be their own lord and savior, and they'll never choose Jesus. And what God does, is he opens the eyes of some so they'll see the truth, but he doesn't open the eyes of everybody."[4] Although these words by Keller are part of his explanation of what he calls the "Doctrine of Election," this is actually a good summary explanation of the Reformed doctrine of "Total Depravity," and what it entails (i.e., that apart from God's choosing to "open the eyes of some so they'll see the truth," no one would ever "choose Jesus" and thus be saved).

Under section B ("Election for salvation and service") we find the doctrine of Total Depravity affirmed once more, along with the related doctrines of Unconditional Election and
 Irresistible Grace (the "U" and "I" in "TULIP"):

The call of God to the individual Christian is not merely an invitation that each person may accept or reject by his or her own free will. Having lost true freedom of will in the fall, we are incapable of turning toward God of our own volition. God chooses us for Himself in grace before the foundation of the world, not because of any merit on our part, but only because of His love and mercy. Each of us is chosen in Christ, who is eternally appointed to be head of the body of the elect, our brother and our high priest. He is the one who is bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, our divine Helper who is also our Bridegroom, sharing our human nature so that we may see His glory. We who receive Him and believe in His name do so not by our own will or wisdom, but because His glory compels us irresistibly to turn toward Him. By His enticing call on our lives, Jesus enlightens our minds, softens our hearts, and renews our wills, restoring the freedom that we lost in the fall.

As is evident from the above quote, the Calvinistic doctrines of "Total Depravity," "Unconditional Election" and "Irresistible Grace" are very much bound together in Reformed theology. This is also evident from the quote by Keller, where his explanation of the "doctrine of election" would make equal sense (if not more sense) when understood as an explanation of the doctrine of Total Depravity (and perhaps of Irresistible Grace as well). According to the Reformed doctrine of election affirmed by ECO, only those individuals who are chosen by God before the foundation of the world will escape "God's eternal condemnation," of which we are told all human beings (both young and old) are deserving. It is these elect individuals alone who will be finally and eternally saved. Those not chosen by God before the foundation of the world for salvation will suffer God's wrath for all eternity, forever excluded from heaven and without hope of ever being shown divine mercy. Thus, according to the theology affirmed by the Presbyterian church to which I belonged (and the denomination with which it is affiliated), there are some people born into the world whom God has never had any intention of actually saving. And having never had any intention of saving them, it means that God has never had any intention of doing what is in their best interests. In other words, God never truly loved them at all. This, dear reader, is the shocking (and, I believe, God-dishonoring) conclusion to which the Reformed doctrine of election leads.

Imagine, if you will, a newborn child who has just come into the world. She is being tenderly embraced by her mother as tears of joy stream down her cheeks. Her proud father looks on. Now, imagine that Calvinism is true, and that neither the child nor her parents are elect (keep in mind that, according to most Calvinists – indeed, most Christians – the majority of people born into this world will not be saved, and are thus not elect). According to Calvinism, the non-elect parents love their child more than God does (for he does not really love her at all). As the parents gaze lovingly into the eyes of their newborn daughter, they want only the best for her, and are prepared to do whatever they can to secure her future happiness in this world. But as God "looks down" from heaven, he knows full well that whatever happiness may be in store for this child during her relatively brief, mortal existence on earth will end as soon as she breathes her last. God - who brought her into existence, and continually sustains her in existence - knows full well what her eternal fate will be. He knew before she was even conceived. Being non-elect, she is destined for an eternity in hell. Even as her parents look to the future with hearts full of hope for their newborn child, God looks to the future and sees their daughter forever banished from his presence, and suffering eternal conscious torment in hell. And why must this awful, nightmarish fate be hers? Why will she not ultimately be counted among the redeemed in heaven? Answer: Simply because the Calvinist God, in his sovereignty, wanted it this way. It was his "good pleasure" and "sovereign will" to forever withhold his electing love and saving grace from this girl, and from all who will share her fate. 

My hope is that what you just read makes your blood run cold, and that you find the "God" depicted above - the "God" believed in and worshiped by Calvinists and "Reformed" Christians - as horrible and appalling, and as unworthy of our faith and love, as I now do (by the grace of God). For those whose consciences have not been seared by years of indoctrination, the disturbing scenario described above will, I trust, be a sufficient refutation of the God-dishonoring system of Christian theology known as "Calvinism."






[1] In Matthew 19:23-26, we read:

And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

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