The TULIP’s Petals and Sepals, part 2

by Ronnie Rogers

  1. Unconditional Election: God chose for some to be the objects of His unmerited favor, and salvation is totally a work of God—monergistic.Calvinism’s understanding of unconditional election necessarily includes that God has selected to give the salvifically required new nature to only some of His vast humanity even though all are in equally desperate need of such in order to experience salvation. Accordingly, it has pleased God to select some of His created people to experience incomprehensible eternal bliss while being equally pleased to withhold this surety from the vast majority of His humanity; thereby, ensuring their equally incomprehensible eternal suffering in the cauldron of inescapable torment of pain and the absolute loss of love and hope in hell. This doctrine is maintained with full awareness that God could have just as easily chosen to provide such favor upon any and all of His humanity, but it pleased Him to select only a few, comparatively speaking, to be so favored. These inextricable realities of unconditional election are neither explicated nor moderated by retreating to phrases like, “God is just to send all to hell” or “God is gracious to save even one sinner” or “God loves the non-elect differently” because none of these contribute one whit to either explaining how this is perfect infinite love, mercy, and compassion, or explaining the scriptural portrayal of God’s exercise of such. I find all Calvinists’ attempts to assuage the reality of these entailments as dreadfully troubling and actually serving to enfeeble the doctrine of unconditional election.

Therefore, if a person believes the Scripture teaches the following, he cannot be a Calvinist: God salvifically loves all of His humanity and has graciously provided for everyone to be able to receive the treasures of the gospel by simple faith. Just as God is perfect holiness and would therefore never be pleased to act unholy; He is also perfect love and mercy, and would therefore not be pleased to withhold the offer of salvation from billions of His creation, thereby delightingly assuring their eternal doom in hell when He could have just as easily offered them salvation. God is not pleased to predestine the incomputable majority of His humanity to spend forever in the crucible of hell’s torment, which torment by comparison makes the most shuddersome, gruesome, ghastly, and torturous woes of crime or natural catastrophe nothing more than trifling annoyances. These truths are embraced by other biblical approaches but not Calvinism.

Ronnie is senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Norman, Okla., and is the author of  “Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist.”