Saturday, June 9, 2012

Muslim Questions to a Calvinist

Bassam Zawadi over at The Muslim Debate Initiative posted 5 questions for Calvinists.  I have included the questions and my answers below. May they be edifying. 
Question 1: How does God determine the elect? I understand that it is His sovereign will, but is it arbitrary? If not, then how and why not?

Answer 1: The purpose of election is the glory of God. Therefore he chooses based not upon arbitrary pointing but upon his own good pleasure. I am sure you have done things that often appeared arbitrary to those who did not understand or know what you were doing, until the purpose was complete. Read Romans 9:18-23 for more on this.
Question 2: Isn’t it unfair and unjust for God to create some human beings as totally depraved (despite them having free will, He purposely created them totally depraved) and then abandon them by not electing them and turning them into reprobates?

Answer 2: This commits what is known as the equal-ultimacy fallacy and is also covered in Romans 9:18-23.
Question 3: Isn’t election and not Jesus dying for the sins of people the ultimate cause and foundation of salvation? If yes, then doesn’t that demote the importance of Jesus dying for our sins and shouldn’t the main message of the gospel be figuring out how to know you were elected?

Answer 3: How do you know if you are elected? By looking to Christ. You must remember that we were chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world. God ordained that our election be by the means of Christ and him Crucified. The only way to be sure of our election is to repent and believe in Christ as our savior, and by faith look to him as the assurance of your calling. The only way to be elect is if Christ saved you, the only way to know is faith, which is a gift of God. How you know you're elected, and how God knows you are elected are two different things.
Question 4: Could the elect in reality be thought of as having sought forgiveness? I ask this because it appears that they weren’t really doing any “seeking”, but were themselves sought out and chosen by God to be forgiven. Please comment.

Answer 4: No, none of us were seeking God when he found us. John teaches us that we cannot even see the kingdom of God before we are born again from above. Paul tells us we were dead men whom God made alive in Christ Jesus. It is hard for a dead man to seek anything, but once made alive that man can repent and seek forgiveness.
Question 5: How would you respond to this Arminian argument: Calvinism is built upon the premise that fallen man is “too far gone for even God to be able to reach him [thus necessitating an Irresistible Grace].” However, ask the Calvinist, “Is it simply too difficult for God to enable an unregenerate sinner to receive Him, without using an Irresistible Grace?” If Calvinists answer, “no,” then the Total Depravity argument becomes moot, and then it’s no longer a matter of man’s depravity, but man’s accountability, when enabled by God’s prevenient grace. However, most Calvinists reluctantly answer, “yes,” thus making God to be the one who has Total Inability, that is, the total inability to reach fallen man without resorting to an Irresistible Grace, and thus it is the Calvinist who is shown to be the one denigrating God’s power.

Answer 5: This comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of irresistible grace, probably brought about by the name of the tulip loving Dutch. Irresistible grace does not mean that it cannot be resisted but that it can overcome all resistances. Once we settle this we realize the absurdity of this question. Allow me to rephrase: 'Is it simply too difficult for God to overcome an unregenerate sinner's resistance to receive Him, without overcoming an unregenerate sinner's resistance to receive Him?'  Proverbs 18:17

Soli Deo Gloria

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. - The Apostle Paul