Announcement: This Saturday (Feb 12) at 10 AM is the last choir rehearsal for Youth Ablaze. Please contact Pastor Bard if you would like to be included.
Music Special: With Dan P. at the piano, Erma G. and Leah & Peter B. sang, “He The Pearly Gates Will Open”, a very beautiful melody. Listen to this hymn and find the lyrics at www.biblestudycharts.com.
Prayer: Prayer sheets were distributed to the congregation. Our song leader, Mateo V., called for any additional prayer requests before we broke up into groups for prayer. Please allow this blogger to make a special appeal for prayer for Rey C., who will be having hip replacement surgery next Tuesday.
Calvinism Part IV: Brother Scott Allis continued with his series on Calvinism teaching on the topic of “Irresistible Grace”. Calvinism is know by the acronym T.U.L.I.P, where the “I” means “Irresistible Grace” (IG). We were definitively shown how salvation in the bible is very different than what is taught by Calvinism. A summation of the concept of IG is helpful at this point:
“When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God.” – The Five Points of Calvinism, The Calvinist Corner.The problem of IG is that grace is actually very “resistable”, said Brother Allis. Such a thing is unheard of in the bible … there is no IG in the bible. What does the bible say? Well, here is what Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”, in Matt 23:37. Jesus is speaking to the people of Israel and how they refused to be “gathered” by God. This does not coincide with IG because the people had a chosen to resist. Steve was stoned by rebelling Jews for saying things like “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” in Acts 7:51. Clearly God’s grace was being resisted.
Calvinists teach contrarily that you cannot have the ability to resist God because you would be limiting the sovereignty of God. They say that, if grace were resistible, then you make yourself greater than God. However God limited himself with his promises, one of which was his covenant with Abraham. Abraham was free to choose God and did so, “and it was counted unto him for righteousness”, Romans 4:3.Calvinists will preach the message to everyone (this is known as the “general call”, “effectual call”, or “external call”), but they don’t mean it. With Calvinist theology, a god that calls out to everyone is a hypocrite, leading most men astray. This god holds out the promise of salvation and cruelly pulls it back, saying, “Sorry, this is for the ones I specifically elected”.
Brother Allis illustrated the point by calling everyone in the congregation to stand and come forward. When we were all up front, he chose three people to stay with him and sent everyone else back to their seats. The exercise was to show the cruel nature of Calvin’s theology.
If the elect are chosen from the foundation of the earth, and no one else can be saved but the elect, then why are many called? The God of the bible does call out to all people and He does mean it. Jesus invites all who are “heavy laden” and all who thirst; He is not insincere:
- “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28
- “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” John 7:37
Calvinists will point to the parable of the vineyard workers in Matthew chapter 6, especially verse 16 “for many be called, but few chosen”. However, Calvinists “yank it right out of context”, Brother Allis said. The parable is about service and reward, the reward coming not by works, but by grace. It is a message of salvation and redemption for sinners everywhere.
Beware: During the Q&A session afterwards, Brother mentioned the sale of the 1599 Geneva Bible that is being widely advertised on the internet. Although he admits there is not a lot of error in this version of the bible, he said this bible is bait. The snare is the that the bible contains Calvin’s notes and commentary!