Adrian Rogers on Calvinism—Part Six
This is the concluding excerpt from Reformed Theology by Adrian Rogers. (Archived by Louisiana College) Read the full sermon. Read part one. Read part two. Read part three. Read part four. Read part five.
Let me just say a few words in conclusion and then we’ll answer some questions and look at a few other Scriptures that seem to teach contrary to what we have said.
I want to say that God is sovereign. Do you agree to that? A sovereign is a king. You didn’t vote him in and you won’t vote him out. God is sovereign. Election and predestination are Biblical. Election is based on foreknowledge. Turn to 1 Peter 1:1-2… “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bythynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God.”
Now, God lives in eternity but we live in time. Don’t get the idea that eternity is just a whole lot more time. We get that sometimes when we sing songs like “Amazing Grace”… “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we first begun.” That’s just poetry, that’s not Bible. Friend, when you get in eternity, time is irrelevant. It does not pertain. We say that God is sovereign, but there are some things God can’t do. For example, God can’t lie. Isn’t that correct?
He cannot lie. I’ll tell you something else God cannot do. God can’t learn anything. How can God learn anything? He knows it all. He knows the beginning and He knows the end and He knows the middle…He knows it all…He sees it all. I mean, if God were to learn something, He would not be omniscient. God knew I was going to scratch my head. He knew that before the world came into existence. Has it ever occurred to you that nothing ever occurs to God? God is God!! He knows the beginning from the end…yet God gave you a will and God has already known what you’re going to do with that will. And because God knows what you’re going to do with that will, you are elect according to the foreknowledge of God.
Now, because God knows it doesn’t mean God has caused it. There was a man named Halley, who studied about a comet. He knew exactly when the comet was going to appear. Now knowing when the comet was going to appear didn’t mean that he made it appear. Halley’s Comet just appeared right on time because he had foreknowledge that the comet would appear…and God’s foreknowledge of my salvation does not mean that God gives me irresistible grace and I’m a part of a special elect group, and that He did not die for the whole world.
The order is foreknowledge, election and predestination. Election looks backward to foreknowledge. Predestination looks forward to destiny. You see, God saw a street fighting teenage boy in West Palm Beach, that’s me, a fifteen year old kid getting into a lot of trouble, skipping school, getting into fights, telling lies, cheating and using bad language. God saw that boy repenting of his sin. He said, “That’s one of My elect.” God saw him trusting Jesus and He said, “He’s one of My elect, and He’s going to be like Jesus. It is predestined.” “Whom He foreknew, them He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.” 1 Peter 1:2: “We are elect according to the foreknowledge of God.”
Now, if you take this kind of doctrine and tell some people, it will make infidels out of them, it will cause them to turn against God altogether. I’ll tell you why. Think about little babies that die. How many babies die in the world today? Think about the million and a half little babies that are aborted every year. Well, let me ask you a question. Are the little babies that die that are not part of the elect? Do they go to hell? Do those little babies who didn’t know their name, never did any good or evil; some of them were never even born. Do they go to hell? I have a little baby boy in heaven…I’m sure he’s there. Listen, I couldn’t be sure if I thought he might not be one of the elect. Well, you say, “Adrian, maybe your little boy’s not in heaven…maybe he wasn’t one of the elect.” I don’t believe that!
I just got back from India. Do you believe that God bunched all the elect over here in our country? Think about it! Let your mind just begin to work on this. See what this will do to your reasoning. If I believed that it’s already settled whether they’re going to heaven or hell and there’s nothing we can do about it, I wouldn’t have gone to India. Very frankly, it was a painful trip.
Turn to 2 Timothy for just a moment…2 Timothy 2:9-10…and by the way, few people have ever suffered as the Apostle Paul suffered. And notice what he says, “Therefore, I endure all things (and you know some of the things he endured…he was in prison, he was beaten, he was stoned, he was left for dead, he was shipwrecked…) I endure all things for the elect’s sakes that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” FOR THE ELECT’S SAKES THAT THEY MAY OBTAIN SALVATION… Hey Paul, if they’re going to be saved anyway, why don’t you just go fishing? I mean, why the shipwrecks, why the beatings, why the floggings, why the jail, why the prison? They’re going to be saved anyway! Paul said, “I do it for the elect’s sake that they might obtain salvation.”
Now, I know some people who are hyper-Calvinists who are soul-winners. And I know some people who believe as I believe who are not soul winners. But I’m going to tell you something else. As a class, as a class, the five-pointers are not red-hot soul winners, they’re proselytizers. They move in on people who have been won to Jesus in evangelistic services. And by the way, you’ll be surprised how many more get “elected” in a red-hot evangelistic service. I said that in a Bible conference one time and a man wrote me a letter and said, “You ought to know better than that…you ought to know that’s not when they’re elected.” I said, “Of course, I know better than that, you just don’t understand ‘tongue in cheek’ language when you hear it.” What I’m saying is this…when we have a passion for souls, we’re going to get people saved, and Paul said, “I endure all of these things for the elect’s sake.”
Turn to the Book of Ezekiel for a moment…Ezekiel 33:8… “When I say unto the wicked ‘oh wicked man, thou shalt surely die,’ if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity but his blood will I require at thine hand.” Now wait a minute…if he can’t go to heaven anyway, how could I be guilty…how could his blood be on my hands just because I didn’t warn him? He didn’t have a chance to go anyway. The verse doesn’t make sense. How could there be an unpardonable sin? It just doesn’t make sense. What about the little babies that die? You see, the logical conclusion of this five-point Calvinism is fatalism. Now, I’m not saying that there are no five-point Calvinists that are not soul winners. I know some fine ones who are. I know some fine evangelists who are. I’m saying as a class…I’m talking about as a class…you’ll find a smug, satisfied, the elite, the wine and cheese theologian…he likes that. Find the man with a passion for souls. Find the people who’re pushing back the frontiers of evangelism. Find the people with the hot heart. Find the people in the inner city sharing Jesus, and you’re going to find those same people who have the heartbeat of the Apostle Paul who said, “This I do for the elect’s sake that they might obtain salvation.” The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Let me give you a verse. Turn to 2 Thessalonians 2. Here’s a verse that these people love to use, so let’s look at it, beginning in verse 13: “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation.” Now that looks like some folks are just chosen for salvation. Again, classic… not finishing a verse…not reading the entire verse… “God hath…chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” The ones that are chosen for salvation are the ones that the Holy Spirit of God convicts and they believe the truth.
You see its 180 degrees. It’s not that they believe because they’re chosen, but they are chosen through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. Its 180 degrees from what people try to twist those verses to mean. The classic verse is in Romans 9. Turn there for just a moment. Let’s see Isaac and Jacob and Esau. Let’s begin in verse 10: “And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father, Isaac, for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of him that calleth, it was said unto her, ‘the elder shall serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.’”
Now someone will say, “There it is, folks.” Election…right there in the womb. Neither one has done a thing. God says He’s going to save Jacob and He’s going to damn Esau. I didn’t read that there. It didn’t say anything at all about salvation. It says that the elder shall serve the younger. How do you spell salvation? S-E-R-V-E? It doesn’t mention salvation there at all. If you will read this passage of Scripture, God is talking about his dealing with the nation of Israel. This is national, not personal. He’s not talking about personal salvation here and I defy you to show me where it mentions personal salvation, heaven or hell…it does not! It mentions exactly as it happened that the birthright came to the younger. Esau, the mountains of Edom and so forth became subservient to Israel. Well, you say, “What about that part where it says ‘as it is written, Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated?’” When did He say that? He didn’t say that before the twins were born. He said that 1300 years later. That’s a quote from the Book of Malachi. That shows where God laid waste the mountains of Edom because of the sin of these people and when the Bible says that God hated, even there it doesn’t mean that God hates as we use the word hates…when we say, “I hate you.” Jesus said, “If any man come after Me and hate not father and mother and houses and lands and all that he has, he cannot be My disciple.” It means to prefer one against the other. And God deals with the nations of the world! The Jews are God’s chosen people! Here, He’s talking about nations! Read the whole thing! Paul is explaining the nation Israel.