It strikes me foremost, that “he hated the position” — here is someone seeking God, obviously doing a “through-the-Bible-read-in-six-months” program, and he’s reluctantly (kicking-and-screaming!) dragged towards a doctrine he hates! Why wasn’t this a giant red flag to him? “God is love” — and, “For God so loved the WORLD” — and here is someone being led into a doctrine where God creates most to be hated, and to burn; and the rest will belong to Him there is no way they can resist His predestination.
Jesus said that belonging to Him was joyful — “These things have I told you that My joy may be in you, and your joy may be made complete.” What is it in Reformed Theology that compels swallowing such a bitter pill, that certainly isn’t joyful? :hmmm:
Second, I’ve contended all along that “no one puts himself into a Sovereign-Predestined-Salvation outlook by reading the Bible; it is a position that must be taught.” And he clearly admits he was reading Sproul, MacArthur, Boice and White. I confess I don’t know Boice, but am well acquainted with the rest. He says he also read Hunt, Bryson, and Geisler. So what did he find convincing about the Calvinists, and not convincing from non-Calvinists?
He read commentaries – not stating which commentaries, but likely MacArthur, Gill, etcetera. I love to read Gill’s commentaries, he’s so blatantly wrong it’s very easy to refute!
He became convinced of “Reformed Theology” by reading John6 — obviously, verses 37, 39, 44, and 65. And he read Eph1 and Rom9 — passages that I call “foundational to Reformed Theology”.
In no way could he have read of God’s position of responding to men, rather than being causal to both wickedness and faithful righteousness. He could not have read Acts17:26-31 — no wait, he was on a “Bible-verse-reading-program” and went through the whole Bible twice a year. Well, at least the New Testament. He must have been leaning towards Reformed Theology, and then skimmed over the clear “responsibility passages” without allowing himself to be convicted.
And that takes WORK! Goodness — the entire letter of Galatians, the entire letter of 2Peter, and James, and worst Hebrews, painstakingly detail FALLING FROM SALVATION (and warning after warning “not to!”).
So – what’s our approach to them? I began this post with “someone seeking God” — perhaps it’s useful for us to begin showing them Acts17:26-31, where God makes sure all CAN seek Him and can FIND Him, He’s not far from anyone!
And then there is Matt7:14, “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Heurisko, find-by-seeking.
Then verses like Matt11:18-21 — “COME to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest!” What kind of two-faced theatrics is that if men absolutely do not decide their coming to Him at all? Why would Jesus even say it? :shrug:
I would think that a “balanced approach” would be effective against Reformed Theology. I bet it’s not unusual that someone “first hated the idea”; and balance that offensiveness, with solid Scriptural exegesis. It’s very convincing to RT’s when they read verses like Acts13:48; but how would they explain verse 46, how can Jews unelect themselves?
Immediate to presenting them with Acts17:26-31, give them Rom10:6-10, and the linked passage Deuteronomy30:11-20. In what Universe is Deut30:12 not an absolute violation of “Monergism”, the very basis of Reformed Theology? Is there any way to deny that God PUTS the “word-of-faith” in absolutely every heart, both those who can confess believe and be saved, AND in those who disobey turn away and perish? What makes the difference — something GOD decides, or something each person decides? (How do they make sense of Jn3:18-21?)
How can they deny Rom2:4-11, God’s kindness leads to repentance even those who refuse (and stores wrath for themselves); and each chooses his own eternity because God is not partial? Give them Acts10:34-35 and confront them that "partiality is their doctrine which Peter says GOD IS NOT!"
Imagine a Reformed Theology follower, who still remembers how he hated the idea of “predestining most men to sin and perishing, and predestining a few to irresistible belief” — who then begins to realize his initial hatred was because it was actually promoting a road that impugned God’s nature and His righteousness"? That very “hatred”, is what causes JOY in us who realize GOD IS LOVE, and truly sent the Son not to condemn the world but so that the WORLD might be saved through Him. Not “a few”, not “some-of-all-types”, but truly the WHOLE WORLD, holos-kosmos, 1Jn2:2!
Secondary to teaching RT’s about “God’s love, justness, righteousness, honesty and sincerity” (all of which simply cannot fit “Sovereign Predestined Salvation”) — there are so many warnings against APOSTASY. How does an RT handle 2Cor11:3 (we are at the SAME risk of deception away from Jesus, as Eve experienced in the Garden!)?
How about 1Tim4:16, “AS you persevere you will save yourselves”? Hebrews 4:11, “Let us be diligent to enter God’s rest, lest anyone fall by imitating Israel’s disobedience (and unbelief)”?
Honestly, how does a mindset become so fixed, that verses like these are just dismissed and not embraced?