The Value of Evangelism in Reform Theology

TibiasDad

Member
In the prologue of the book Deconstructing Calvinism by Hudson Smelley, is found this statement:

Calvinism completely compasses God's redemptive plan and teaches that God saves a small percentage of humanity based on His elective determination before creation and passes over the rest. Since God's redemptive plan excludes most people, there is no basis for us to tell a lost person that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, that they should believe in Christ for salvation, or that there is hope beyond the grave. If the lost person is not elect, we would be misleading them if we said any of those things. Indeed, it is difficult to see how we could make any honest gospel presentation knowing most people are by God's purposes not savable. Not only that, since salvation hangs on God's elective determination before creation and not on a present decision for Christ, we must make this TULIP reality personal. We must come to grips with the fact that many of those we know, and perhaps some of those closest to us, have no possibility of being reconciled to God because they are not elect.

What caught my eye is the idea that "there is no basis for us to tell a lost person that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, that they should believe in Christ for salvation, or that there is hope beyond the grave. If the lost person is not elect, we would be misleading them if we said any of those things."

I had always thought the Calvinistic evangelism was like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack,, the rare Elect person in the mass of reprobates, but had never thought of the effect of the presentation of the gospel to those who would never be able to experience it. Smelley terms it "misleading" them to think that they might be savable, when in fact, there isn't a sliver of hope that this would happen.

What are your thoughts, either pro or con to Smelley's thought?


Doug
 

TomFL

Well-known member
In the prologue of the book Deconstructing Calvinism by Hudson Smelley, is found this statement:

Calvinism completely compasses God's redemptive plan and teaches that God saves a small percentage of humanity based on His elective determination before creation and passes over the rest. Since God's redemptive plan excludes most people, there is no basis for us to tell a lost person that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, that they should believe in Christ for salvation, or that there is hope beyond the grave. If the lost person is not elect, we would be misleading them if we said any of those things. Indeed, it is difficult to see how we could make any honest gospel presentation knowing most people are by God's purposes not savable. Not only that, since salvation hangs on God's elective determination before creation and not on a present decision for Christ, we must make this TULIP reality personal. We must come to grips with the fact that many of those we know, and perhaps some of those closest to us, have no possibility of being reconciled to God because they are not elect.

What caught my eye is the idea that "there is no basis for us to tell a lost person that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, that they should believe in Christ for salvation, or that there is hope beyond the grave. If the lost person is not elect, we would be misleading them if we said any of those things."

I had always thought the Calvinistic evangelism was like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack,, the rare Elect person in the mass of reprobates, but had never thought of the effect of the presentation of the gospel to those who would never be able to experience it. Smelley terms it "misleading" them to think that they might be savable, when in fact, there isn't a sliver of hope that this would happen.

What are your thoughts, either pro or con to Smelley's thought?


Doug
It seems to me to be somewhat contradictory to what Paul preached

1 Corinthians 15 (KJV 1900)
15 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

Paul indiscriminately preached Christ died for our sins to the unconverted

2 Corinthians 5:14–21 (KJV 1900)
14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
 

TibiasDad

Member
It seems to me to be somewhat contradictory to what Paul preached

1 Corinthians 15 (KJV 1900)
15 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

Paul indiscriminately preached Christ died for our sins to the unconverted

2 Corinthians 5:14–21 (KJV 1900)
14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Thanks for replying, Tom, but I'm not sure why your objecting. Smelley is not saying that Reformist don't preach, though Hyper-Cals would lean in that direction, but that the preaching is, on its foundation, a little shady in its presentation.

If they preach 'God so loved the world', they don't say 'God so loved the elect of the world', which is what they really mean and understand the verse to say. They don't say to a group of people that God desires to save some of you but most of you are up the creek without a paddle, and thereby, is a type of "misleading" those they are reprobates and without hope. They can't truthfully say that Christ died for their sins and they can be forgiven.

Doug
 

TomFL

Well-known member
Thanks for replying, Tom, but I'm not sure why your objecting. Smelley is not saying that Reformist don't preach, though Hyper-Cals would lean in that direction, but that the preaching is, on its foundation, a little shady in its presentation.

If they preach 'God so loved the world', they don't say 'God so loved the elect of the world', which is what they really mean and understand the verse to say. They don't say to a group of people that God desires to save some of you but most of you are up the creek without a paddle, and thereby, is a type of "misleading" those they are reprobates and without hope. They can't truthfully say that Christ died for their sins and they can be forgiven.

Doug

Hi Doug
I am not objecting to what you wrote but defending the idea that one can safely preach that Christ died for you to all.
It is the idea that one cannot preach this indiscriminately I object to


Viz

What caught my eye is the idea that "there is no basis for us to tell a lost person that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, that they should believe in Christ for salvation, or that there is hope beyond the grave. If the lost person is not elect, we would be misleading them if we said any of those things."
 

TibiasDad

Member
Hi Doug
I am not objecting to what you wrote but defending the idea that one can safely preach that Christ died for you to all.
It is the idea that one cannot preach this indiscriminately I object to


Viz

What caught my eye is the idea that "there is no basis for us to tell a lost person that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, that they should believe in Christ for salvation, or that there is hope beyond the grave. If the lost person is not elect, we would be misleading them if we said any of those things."

Okay, I see your point!

Doug
 

Bob Carabbio

Active member
Hi Doug
I am not objecting to what you wrote but defending the idea that one can safely preach that Christ died for you to all.
It is the idea that one cannot preach this indiscriminately I object to


Viz

What caught my eye is the idea that "there is no basis for us to tell a lost person that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, that they should believe in Christ for salvation, or that there is hope beyond the grave. If the lost person is not elect, we would be misleading them if we said any of those things."
Whereas Paul became ALL THINGS to ALL MEN - that he might Win Some into salvation. It IS a Biblical truth that NOBODY comes to Jesus UNLESS Father God DRAWS THEM. The Hard-shell Calvinist obviously believes that there are many (maybe MOST) people that God DOESN'T Draw.

And the simple FACT is: No conviction of SIN = No "Born Again" possibility. The practical problem is that, Since people aren't properly labeled "Elect", and "Firewood", You have to assume that EVERYBODY has the CHANCE for Spiritual re-birth.
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
In the prologue of the book Deconstructing Calvinism by Hudson Smelley, is found this statement:

Calvinism completely compasses God's redemptive plan and teaches that God saves a small percentage of humanity based on His elective determination before creation and passes over the rest. Since God's redemptive plan excludes most people, there is no basis for us to tell a lost person that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, that they should believe in Christ for salvation, or that there is hope beyond the grave. If the lost person is not elect, we would be misleading them if we said any of those things. Indeed, it is difficult to see how we could make any honest gospel presentation knowing most people are by God's purposes not savable. Not only that, since salvation hangs on God's elective determination before creation and not on a present decision for Christ, we must make this TULIP reality personal. We must come to grips with the fact that many of those we know, and perhaps some of those closest to us, have no possibility of being reconciled to God because they are not elect.

What caught my eye is the idea that "there is no basis for us to tell a lost person that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, that they should believe in Christ for salvation, or that there is hope beyond the grave. If the lost person is not elect, we would be misleading them if we said any of those things."

I had always thought the Calvinistic evangelism was like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack,, the rare Elect person in the mass of reprobates, but had never thought of the effect of the presentation of the gospel to those who would never be able to experience it. Smelley terms it "misleading" them to think that they might be savable, when in fact, there isn't a sliver of hope that this would happen.

What are your thoughts, either pro or con to Smelley's thought?


Doug

1) Where does "Calvinism" teach that "God saves a small portion of humanity"?

2) "There is no basis for telling a lost person that God loves them." Well, neither Jesus nor the Apostles went around to strangers and claimed, "God loves you, and wants to save you...." So why should we proclaim the gospel in a way that is DIFFERENT from what Jesus did?

3) "Since God's redemptive plan excludes most people..." Again, where does Calvinism allegedly "teach" any such thing? Please give compelling and explicit quotes.

4) "It is difficult to see how we could make any honest gospel presentation". That's because he (and you) apparently don't understand Calvinism. The gospel is NOT "God loves everyone, and wants everyone to be saved". We present the gospel precisely the way JESUS presented it:
[1] You are a sinner.
[2] The wages of sin is death, for God is holy and just.
[3] God has sent His Son to atone for sin.
[4] If you repent and believe, you will be saved.

You only claim it is not an "honest gospel presentation" because it doesn't match your errant understanding of the gospel.

5) "We must come to grips with the fact that our family members have no possibility of being reconciled, because they are not part of the elect." I have no idea who the elect are (other than myself), so I have no way of knowing that any particular family member is "not part of the elect". But even so, there may be members of my family who will not be saved. That's sad, but it is simply the truth, and it is something people need to accept. It is no different than an atheist coming to terms that his family members will one day die. We are ALL deserving of eternal damnation, so that is the just consequence for ever member of my family. It is the just consequence for me, a wretched sinner. It is only by the grace of God that I will be saved, and hopefully other members of my family.

Sadly, this "argument" is fallacious, and it is an argument from emotion, saying that we shouldn't believe God elects who will be saved, because we don't like the idea. True doctrine is not determined by emotions, but by the revealed word of God.

6) "the rare elect person in the mass of reprobates". For the third time, please QUOTE where "Calvinism" allegedly teaches the elect are "rare".

7) What you are also missing is that the gospel is not intended for just the elect, but for EVERYONE. It is a condemnation of sin, and a praise of the grace of God, a message for EVERY person to hear.

8). "What are your thoughts?" My thought is that neither you nor Smelley understands Calvinism, and just as we see in politics with TDS, there is a hatred that prevents people from understanding the truth, because they don't want to give up their hate.
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
It seems to me to be somewhat contradictory to what Paul preached

1 Corinthians 15 (KJV 1900)
15 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

Paul indiscriminately preached Christ died for our sins to the unconverted

Where do you see the word, "uncovered" in 1 Cor. 15?

He said "Christ died for OUR sins".

He wrote it to the CHURCH (ie. believers, not "the unconverted").

"Our" does not mean "everyone".
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
If they preach 'God so loved the world', they don't say 'God so loved the elect of the world', which is what they really mean and understand the verse to say.

First of all, please do not presume to tell us what we "really mean", or what we "understand the verse to say". I guess the only way you can hope to win an argument is by engaging in straw-man argumentation? Sad.

We don't need for Jesus (or John, depending on your interpretation) to say "the elect of the world", because that is implied from what follows, "that whoever BELIEVES in him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

YOU preach, "God so loved the world", you DON'T say "God so loved every single person in the world", which is what YOU really mean and YOU understand the verse to say.

edit
 
Last edited by a moderator:

TibiasDad

Member
Where do you see the word, "uncovered" in 1 Cor. 15?

I believe you mean unconverted, not uncovered, but I don't want to presume what you intended!
He wrote it to the CHURCH (ie. believers, not "the unconverted").

"Our" does not mean "everyone".
But they were unconverted when Paul first preached the gospel to them. The gospel is not intended for the converted, but the unconverted sinner! Everyone is a sinner, so it can mean more than just those who are already saved.


Doug
 

TibiasDad

Member
1) Where does "Calvinism" teach that "God saves a small portion of humanity"?
Many are called, few are chosen! (Matt 22:14)

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matt 7:13-14)

Am I presuming too much to say that the Elect are "the few" and the many are the non-elect? Is not a small portion a similar if not identical way of expressing the "few"?

Doug
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
I believe you mean unconverted, not uncovered,

Thank you. I'm begging to hate "auto-correct".

But they were unconverted when Paul first preached the gospel to them. The gospel is not intended for the converted, but the unconverted sinner! Everyone is a sinner, so it can mean more than just those who are already saved.

Doug

But they WEREN'T "unconverted" when he WROTE THE LETTER to them.
Again, please stop playing these really stupid games, okay?
 

TibiasDad

Member
First of all, please do not presume to tell us what we "really mean", or what we "understand the verse to say". I guess the only way you can hope to win an argument is by engaging in straw-man argumentation? Sad.

It's not a presumption if it is true, and you said that "that is implied from what follows", so I don't think I was presuming anything. Thanks for confirming my assessment! 😀

Doug
 

TibiasDad

Member
But they WEREN'T "unconverted" when he WROTE THE LETTER to them.
Again, please stop playing these really stupid games, okay

Nobody denies this Theo, but he is talking about when he first came to them, before they had heard anything of the gospel. At that point of time, they were yet unsaved!

Doug
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
Nobody denies this Theo, but he is talking about when he first came to them, before they had heard anything of the gospel. At that point of time, they were yet unsaved!

Doug

<sigh>

Okay, let's be more specific and say that Christ died for the elect, even the "not-yet-converted" elect.

Happy now?
edit
 
Last edited by a moderator:

TibiasDad

Member
There reason we understand that John 3:16 is not speaking universally is NOT because "kosmos" allegedly means "the elect" (which is your false and misinterpreting claim), but because it is clarified by a LATER clause, "whoever BELIEVES".

So are you saying that the love that God demonstrated to the world was for the world of both elect and non-elect, i.e., all mankind?

Doug
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
So are you saying that the love that God demonstrated to the world was for the world of both elect and non-elect, i.e., all mankind?

Doug

That's not what "world" means, no.

Please REFRAIN from asking me, "So are you saying... ".
That's simply an underhanded way of trying to put words in someone's mouth.

It's incredibly sad that you feel the need to straw-man your opponents in order to try to win a cheap debating "point". You should be ashamed of yourself.
 

TibiasDad

Member
<sigh>

Okay, let's be more specific and say that Christ died for the elect, even the "not-yet-converted" elect.

Happy now?
Please stop paying these stupid games, okay? It's beneath you.
Is there a difference between unconverted and not- yet-unconverted? Especially since we've established that they were "unconverted" at the time. (Since we're getting more specific.)

Where does Paul say the elect in 1 Corinthians 15?

Doug
 

TibiasDad

Member
That's not what "world" means, no.

Please REFRAIN from asking me, "So are you saying... ".
That's simply an underhanded way of trying to put words in someone's mouth.

It's incredibly sad that you feel the need to straw-man your opponents in order to try to win a cheap debating "point". You should be ashamed of yourself.
Then pray tell what do you mean by it? (I don't want to presume.)

Doug
 
Top