Wednesday, November 30, 2005

C. H. Spurgeon on Calvinism (2)

You may be an Arminian in summer, but you must be a Calvinist in the roaring winds of winter. Arminianism is a very pretty sort of theology for a painted boat upon a glassy lake, but they that do business on deep waters, and weather the storms and hurricanes, must have a good substantial bark of everlasting immutable love; otherwise, if the vessel be not staunchly and well built, their tacklings are loose, they cannot well strengthen their mast, and the vessel drives upon the quicksands. Beloved, in my spiritual building I want to get more and more on to the rock, immediately on the rock. I know I am told that the rock does not yield a harvest, that election is not a practical truth; but after all, if I want a house built, let me have it on the rock, for if it does not yield me any present practical results, yet I must have some comfort, I must have some place to dwell in the storm. I can go out to other fields to sow my corn and reap my harvest, but for my everlasting confidence I want a rock.

Rest assured that the doctrines commonly called Calvinistic are the only doctrines that can shut the mouths of devils, and fill the mouths of saints in the day of famine and in the time of extremity. “The Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee.” When I am bowed down under sin, next to my Bible I love such books as “Elisha Coles on Divine Sovereignty,” or “Dr. Crisp’s Sermons.” Albeit that they do not contain all the truth, yet they teach very clearly that part of it which a troubled spirit needs. Does eternal love ordain sinners to eternal life irrespective of their works? Does the Lord absolutely, out of sovereign mercy, make men to be his children? Did God choose the chief of sinners, and does he never cast them away? Does he say, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy?” Does he declare that he is absolutely justified in doing whatever he wills with his own? Does he on such terms as that choose me? Then blessed be his name, such an election as this just suits my case; and I find that believing the doctrine in that light, I can say to all my doubts and fears “Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee.”
- C. H. Spurgeon, Zechariah’s Vision of Joshua The High Priest, January 22, 1865



Blogger naniecheng said...

wooq I hv a question. Guess I'm still trying to figure out this calvanism and arminian thingy. How can God only die for a preselected few when the Bible states that it is His will that none should perish? Why is his action not congruent with his will?

4/12/05 10:40 PM  
Blogger beowulf said...

The verse you are referring to would be 2 Peter 3:9, which states: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

Which group of people does "you" refers to? Is it everyone, including Christians and non-Christians? If it does, then you would be subscribing to universalism, which teaches that all people will eventually be saved and go to heaven. No one will go to hell.

However, when you read the verse in context, the apostle Peter was writing the epistle to the Christians. He wrote: "Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours." (2 Peter 1:1)

The immediate verse before 2 Peter 3:9 states: "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." (2 Peter 3:8)

With all the above in mind, it is very clear that the apostle Peter was referring to the Christians. To paraphrase 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is patient with the elect. The Lord does not want any of the elect to perish. The Lord wants every one of the elect to come to repentance."

5/12/05 1:00 PM  
Blogger naniecheng said...


I have been reading Matt 18:3 and it says that "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.".

I also read in Jeremiah 18:7-10 that "If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it."

These verses give me the impression that there is a responsibility on humans'in terms of our response to God. How does that fit in with pre-election? Why does the Bible state things in such a "conditional" manner?

5/12/05 2:24 PM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Who is the agent behind our change? Do we boast to ourselves that we heard the gospel and believe while others do not? Or is the reason for our change solely the work of God?

Verses like Matthew 18:3 and Jeremiah 18:7-10 do not conflict with the doctrine of unconditional election since it is recognized that the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit brings about faith and repentance. It is written we cannot seek God on our own (Romans 3:10-11, John 6:44, 1 Corinthians 2:14). Only God can draw us to Him.

Ephesians 2:4-10 states: "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

We were already dead in trangressions. We did not seek God on our own. But God in His grace made us alive in Christ by enabling us to have faith and repentance. Your salvation, which is a gift of God, is "not from yourselves." Salvation is not by any works, so that no one can boast that his response to the gospel is due to his own righteousness or intelligence.

The immediate two verses before Jeremiah 18:7-10 states: "Then the word of the LORD came to me: 'O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.'" (Jeremiah 18:5-6)

If you refer to Romans 9, there is another analogy of the potter and the clay.

Romans 9:18-21 states: "Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?"

Therefore, when you read Jeremiah 18, it must be seen in the light of Romans 9. Man's repentance is the result of God's mercy.

There is an article by J. Ligon Duncan called "The Openness of God Controversy" where he refutes Open Theism. There is a short explanation of Jeremiah 18 in this article.

Another good article that you might want to refer to is R.C. Sproul's "The New Genesis: The Holy Spirit and Regeneration."

7/12/05 4:12 PM  

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