Sunday, 22 December 2013

Repairing fences

Arminians are often accused of saving themselves, as if we are the authors of our own salvation. Despite repeated defences that men can accept God's call and sacrifice, the charge is that Arminianism is salvation by man.

It seems to me that some of the confusion arises because Calvinists see a single transaction in a place that Arminians see two. Because Calvinists claim that God's call is effectual God's choice to save coincides with actual salvation; if not in time, at least in person. God chooses some whom he will save and saves them. Contrary to this Arminians think that man is able to resist God. Thus God both offers salvation and saves men. The acceptance of God's offer is distinct from his salvation. In the Calvinist view God offers salvation to the elect who are all saved. In the Arminian view God offers salvation to all men though only some respond.

Consider a road in disrepair and a builder stops at the houses along the road offering to repair the fences. The Calvinist position is that the builder stops at some houses offering to repair their fence to which the owner accepts the offer. The Arminian position is that the builder is stopping at every house. Some owners accept the offer of a new fence and some decline. Neither those that accept or decline the offer build their own fence, and if they attempt to do so they all fail! Even though Jesus is able to save all men, and no man is able to save himself; and even though Jesus desires to save all men, not all respond to his gracious and life giving offer.

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