I am starting a series of posts on the subject of Calvinism. My intent is to use the book Whosoever Will: A Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism by David L. Allen and Steve Lemke as a foil. I will present future posts in the form of a dialogue between a Calvinist informed by various books and a non-Calvinist informed by the contents of the book in question.
This post is a brief summary of my position on the topic. I am not out to prove anything here so much as to present a summary of my beliefs. The arguments for and against my position will come as I move into the series.
I believe that human beings are born in a state of bondage to sin. We simply do not want to do good things from pure motives. We do not do good things because we do not want to.
We do not choose to place our faith in Christ because that would involve an admission that we are inadequate on our own to earn salvation and a submission to Christ’s authority as the Lord of our lives. We would have to repent and believe. We do not choose Christ on our own because we do not want to.
God chooses to change the hearts of some people to give them the desire to repent of their sins and believe the gospel. He made this choice for reasons unknown to us. He did not choose to change the hearts of people because of their faith or because of any other virtue He foresaw in them. His choice was made before the foundation of the world.
God does not choose to change the hearts of all men. He leaves some to themselves and the way they have chosen to live. That is not unjust. He was never obligated to change anyone’s heart. That He did so is a testimony to His love and grace.
Christ lived and died to pay the penalty for the sins of some people and to provide for them a righteousness that can be credited to their account. Christ’s death will not pay the penalty for everyone’s sins, else there would be no one in hell.
Sins cannot be paid for twice, once by Christ and again by a person’s suffering in hell. That would be unjust.
God changes a person’s heart to enable them to repent and believe through a process that involves convincing them intellectually, appealing to their emotions, and giving them new desires. We can expect that God would be able to do these things if He wants to because He can do whatever needs to be done to convince (omnipotence) and knows everything He needs to know to convince (omniscience). When God chooses to change someone’s heart, He is always successful.
When God changes a person’s heart, that change is forever. Those who have truly repented and placed their faith in Christ will never go back on their pledge.
This post is a start. This is an introduction to the series I intend.
I have other posts on election and Calvinism here.