It would seem that to submit humbly to Christ’s teaching would require a willful act on the part of the believer rather than a forced submission. Once again I would argue, the only part in salvation that man can play, and must play, is that of a beggar who in response to God’s calling cries out like the Publican, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
A modified Arminian-Calvinistic position will generally not please either Calvinists or Arminians, “both of whom will seek to emphasize certain words or texts and exclude from consideration other texts and words. But in spite of all the arguments to the contrary, this tension between the divine and human aspects of salvation cannot finally be resolved by our theological gymnastics.”
While the connection of creation and redemption can be made, and God’s sovereignty as creator is clear, it is extremely difficult to see divine unconditional election being taught in this verse. There is nothing in this opening verse that would even remotely suggest that God chose some individuals to receive salvation while others would be left hopelessly lost.
Are the doctrines of the Calvinist theological system the true doctrines of the Bible and all other beliefs false? Is belief in Calvinism the test for one’s love of God? Would the Apostle John consider his, and the other Apostles’, teachings to be the clear foundation for the five points of Calvinism? The answer to these questions, in this writer’s opinion, is a resounding no! But yet some would answer with a resounding yes.
Committees should investigate the candidate’s beliefs, point by point, without any hesitation to ask for clarification or to require a “yes or no” answer on any point. After all, your church is at stake, and no honest minister will be offended at your desire to know what he believes.