Thursday, October 06, 2016

Universal Negatives in John's Gospel, Part 4

Universal Negatives in John's Gospel, Part 4

Universal Negatives in John's Gospel, Part 1
Universal Negatives in John's Gospel, Part 2
Universal Negatives in John's Gospel, Part 3

Everyone is a Calvinist sometimes; Everyone is an Arminian sometimes

Everyone (to first order) is a Calvinist when it comes to dead infants and the mentally disabled. We mostly all accept that at least some who died in infancy and in even in the womb are not lost even though they had no chance to hear the gospel let alone make a profession.

And on the flip side many Calvinists sprout Arminian tendencies about those of other religions and those who haven't heard the gospel. Suddenly God's sovereignty is not as powerful as we claim--NO, WAY GOD!! that man can't get into heaven because he didn't do the right thing! The latter is best demonstrated by a subset of the ‎ΓΌber-reformed who distort the doctrine of "Justification by Faith Alone" into the monstrous "Justification by affirmation of the doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone."

There is nuance here. Consider our benevolent Muslim friend from Part 3. We should not (with biblical backing) treat or regard him as a Christian. We should show every kindness and refrain from civic discrimination. We should clothe him if naked, feed him if hungry, and give him water if he thirsts. But we should not worship with him or permit him access to the communion table. However, should not make definitive statements about his salvation. That's not our purview, and that violates our Calvinism.

We have argued that, according to Christianity, only Christians are saved. But what is a Christian? We  have a normative definition:

A normative definition: A Christian is someone, by grace, is regenerated by God, responds to the gospel, lives out his faith displaying progress in his sanctification.
This leaves out our Muslim friend. It also leaves out dead infants and many mentally handicapped.
I would suggest the absolute definition of a Christian (consistent with John 14:6) is this:
A Christian is one who can stand before God in judgment and has been given the privilege to have God look at Christ’s righteousness rather than his own.

This allows for any possibility that pleases God—including dead infants. Including the mentally handicapped. Including members of other religions, i.e., "making Christians” of those who never had a chance to hear the gospel. It doesn’t demand that it happens often or ever (I hope it does) but it acknowledges God’s sovereignty in election and Christ’s necessary atonement.


Jump to Part 5

1 comment:

  1. It's great to see you blogging again! I never cleaned you out of my rss feed :-)

    I also LOVE that definition of "Christian". I may steal/borrow it.