I’ve certainly had my fair share of discussions and disagreements with Calvinists. As often as not, or at least within my limited sphere, I seem to encounter Calvinists who’re adamant that it’s God, “for his glory,” who has worked out EVERYTHING (including the free-will actions of people) per his [God’s] own sovereign will. Suffice it to say that I find much about this position troubling if only because there are literally hundreds of verses in which there are, for lack of a better word – suggestions regarding how we should go about decision making. For instance:
– The multitude of verses in the book of Proverbs
– Consider, too, how Paul went about making decisions (my interpretation)
· Phil 2:25 (I think it’s a good idea)
· 1 Cor 16:3-4 (If it seems the right thing to do)
· Acts 6:1-7 (We need to do something about this)
· Acts 15:24-29 (Believers got together, debated, decided, and acted)
Irrespective, this is how the one recent discussion went:
(Me) You’re stating that EVERYTHING is prescribed and otherwise ordained by God.
(CF – Calvinist Friend) Yes.
(Me) Then, if that’s true, you would agree that God brought about legalized abortion?
(CF) Well, we can’t think in God’s terms. We don’t have perfect understanding. Things that may not seem right to us make perfect sense to God.
(Me) Okay, I understand. But you would agree that all of mankind since Adam and Eve have been born with a sin nature?
(CF) Sure. That’s what total depravity is all about. None of us have it within us to live a sinless life much less even seek out a holy God. It’s God who has to put the desire to understand our sin nature much less bring us to faith in Christ to save us.
(Me) Fair enough. However, in spite of a sin nature, you would agree that unborn children have not yet sinned.
(CF) Well, I’m not sure that I understand your point.
(Me) Well, my point is that Jesus dying on a cross – his atonement for our sins is pointless.
(CF) Come again.
(Me) What I understand from your Calvinistic doctrine is that God intentionally destroys those who’ve never sinned.
(CF) Now wait a minute. I wouldn’t ever state that Jesus’ dying, his atonement for his elect, was for nothing. He knows his sheep. And we know him. He died to give us hope and eternal life. Also, your point that God destroys those who’ve never sinned is missing a particular detail.
(Me) Which is?
(CF) God has already chosen the elect – as it were from the foundation of the world. That is, God has already decided who he’ll reveal himself to. Those are the ones who Jesus died for. In addition, God, being able to see into the future because he’s not constrained by time, can know without a doubt which of those unborn children will never sin. It’s a safe bet that the number of unborn children who’ll never sin is zero. So, I don’t think it’s fair to state that God destroys those who’ve never sinned.
(Me) Fairness is God destroying those who’ve never sinned. Got it!
(CF) Sounds like you just don’t like having God in control.
(Me) No, I simply see too much in the Bible where it appears that God has provided us with principles on how we should go about making wise decisions. I think God gives us freedom and subsequently allows us to experience the blessings or consequences of those decisions.
(CF) I don’t trust in man. I trust in God.
The conversation more or less ended here. Sometimes when I think I have a significant point and toss it out, it often comes back as a contorted, albeit, logical explanation. Perhaps ‘dumping’ the abortion question into our little debate was unfair. But sometimes, when trying to understand something, it often seems reasonable to quickly take an argument to its logical conclusion. I don’t disagree that my Calvinist friend (more or less) effectively blunted my challenge. I don’t, however, find his argument persuasive if only because I can’t for a moment imagine a holy God bringing about a violent and abhorrent action upon an unborn child – whether that child was destined to sin or not. Maybe if I have another opportunity I’ll ask my Calvinist friend if he has ever voted for or against abortion laws. But, I guess that’s where I’ll have to leave it for now.