Dr. Adam Harwood
Associate Professor of Theology
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
*This a portion of an article taken from the Journal For Baptist Theology and Ministry and is used by permission. It was first published here at SBC Today on August 10, 2015.
The goal of this article is to address the question: “Is the gospel for all people or only some people?” The answer to this question undergirds one’s theology and practice of evangelism and missions. By the word “gospel,” I am referring to the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus for our sins (1 Cor 15:3–4). By asking whether the gospel is for all people, I am not asking whether it should be announced to all people, but whether it concerns all people. One’s view of whether the gospel is for all people or only some people is revealed by one’s answers to the following questions: Continue reading
Dr. Bob Rogers, Pastor
First Baptist Church
[Editor’s Note: This essay was originally posted here at SBC Today on September 28, 2013, and is being reposted today in keeping with our recent emphasis on Romans 9. Because this copyrighted material is under consideration for publication, any other reproduction is expressly forbidden.]
John Calvin was wrong about Romans 9.
Calvin, the famous Protestant Reformer of Geneva, Switzerland, was a great theologian. He became famous for his emphasis on the sovereignty of God and God’s predestination of our salvation. But in his commentary the ninth chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Romans, John Calvin took predestination beyond anything the apostle Paul intended to say. Continue reading
Dr. Leighton Flowers
Director of Apologetics and Youth
Evangelism for Texas Baptists
Paul used a literary device called “diatribe” by which he would anticipate the objections of his audience. Discovering who the objector is in the mind of the inspired apostle tells us everything we need to know to discern his soteriological position. Let’s consider the two options side by side:
Calvinism: The objector is an non-elect, salvifically hated reprobate who God has chosen from before the foundation of the world to pass over in a sovereignly decreed fallen condition from birth — a completely hardened condition from the time they are born until the time they die and thus without hope of salvation EVER.
Traditionalist: The objector is a Jew, who has freely rebelled in the face of God’s loving patience for generations (Rm. 10:21; Mt. 23:37), but who is now stumbling, being cut off, and hardened in their rebellion so as to accomplish a greater redemptive good through their rebellion. However, though he has stumbled he has not stumbled beyond recovery (Rm 11:12); though he has been hardened he may be provoked to envy and saved (Rm 11:14); though he has been cut off from the vine he may be grafted back in if he leaves his unbelief (Rm 11:23).
Which objector is the one represented in the text? You decide.
At this point, another objection I often hear from my Calvinistic brethren goes something like this:
“Well, how is that interpretation any better than ours? You still have God blinding Jews from hearing the gospel and blaming them for their rebellion. Don’t you believe that makes God unfair?”
I love this question because finally I get to say in response to my Calvinistic friend, “Who are you oh man to question God!?” And ironically it is probably the first time they have heard that reply where it actually fits the context of the original objection.
What many Calvinists do not realize is that we DO allow for the objector in Romans 9, but we just happen to believe it is the same objector Paul addresses in Romans 3:1-8. It is not the objection of a non-elect reprobate born hated by God and unable to respond to His clear truth. It is the objection of a Jew who has grown calloused by his own choices, but who now is being blinded by God in that rebellious condition so as to accomplish a greater good for all the world, including those hardened.
Pick up a copy of The Potter’s Promise for more.