What Does “Calling/Called” Refer to in the Bible?

Below are two posts that provide strong Biblical evidence that suggests the Biblical concept of Christian “Calling” has primary reference to “Naming” rather than a summons or invitation:

Brian Abasciano on Calling

Klein, William W. “PAUL’S USE OF KALEIN: A PROPOSAL”

Lack of Historical Precedent For Calvinistic Perseverance

Read Steve Witzki’s excellent article here.  The article will also link you to an article by Calvinist John Jefferson Davis who also traces the doctrine back no further than John Calvin.  While the truthfulness of such doctrines must ultimately be decided through careful exegesis of Scripture, the novelty of Calvinist doctrines like inevitable perseverance should not be discounted (and personally I would find such things very troubling if I were a Calvinist).  Nor should Calvinists continue to make wild claims that their doctrines represent historical Christian orthodoxy.  Such claims are simply false.

Related posts:

The Early Church and Calvinism

Tim Warner, “Perseverance of the Saints”

Tim Warner, “Eternal Security?”

Church History and Calvinism

Daniel Whedon on John 6

37. All—It is remarkable that this word is in the Greek neuter. It expresses not so much a person as a nature, a thing, a character: The whole sort that the Father giveth me. These gross men did not belong to those given, because, entertaining nothing but hopes of mercenary gain from Christ and his miracles, they truly believed not, as in the last verse is said. See note on verse 26. So in verse 45 it is more fully explained; it is only every one that hath learned of the Father that cometh unto me. The Father, finding the willing soul, teaches by his law; attracts, convinces, and convicts by his Spirit; but when the soul has perfectly obeyed all their influences with a living faith, the Father does not himself save, but He draws and hands him over to Christ. Thither coming, and embracing Christ with a full faith, the man is not cast out but accepted and redeemed. But the Father giveth none to Christ who reject his teachings and drawings; none who do not freely consent to be given and go to his Son. Such is the great scheme of salvation.

Shall come unto me—Will come unto me. It is the simple future; the shall expresses no authority or securement of the coming. Every one who freely yields to the teachings and drawings of the Father, is, by the Father, given, and comes to Christ. Such a person coming to Christ will be accepted. For the Father gives none but such as will freely come. The giving by the Father is consequent upon the obedient learning; not the learning upon the giving. See notes on verses 44, 45, and 65.

38. Not to do mine own will—Not to separate myself by personal self-will from the Father, but perfectly to cooperate and carry out his scheme of redeeming mercy.

39. Of all which he hath given me—Namely, all who fully obey the Father’s drawings and come to Christ. I should lose nothing—There will be no erratic self-will in Christ, darting off from the divine plan; no remissness, no oversight, no failure. All who perseveringly believe in him, he will as faithfully and powerfully save as the will of the Father can require. Raise it up—From the dead. At the last day—The day that closes the series of human history and inaugurates the final judgment.

40. Believeth on him—So long as he performs the condition, so long is he heir of the salvation. When he ceases to be a believer he loses all claim to the divine promise, and all interest in eternal life. That he has once believed no longer secures him heaven, any more than the fact that he has once disbelieved secures eternal death.

41. The Jews—Used in an adverse sense, as opposers of Christ. Murmured—The character and destiny he has assigned them (36-40) now elicit their hostility. Down from heaven—The popular view of the coming of the Son of man from heaven, was doubtless modeled on the scene described in Daniel 7.

42. Whose father and mother we know—These Jews therefore were familiar with Nazareth. Their terms are not now, as before, Rabbi and Lord. They have discarded from their memory the miraculous feeding, and so, doubtless, they carefully forget the Davidic descent of his parents, and all reference to his miraculous birth. They scout the idea of his having come down from heaven.

43. Murmur not—There is the stern authority of a future judge in this supreme silencing of the mutter of these unhappy men. He hushes them as reprobates condemned already.

44. No man can come to me—Men are by nature so depraved and lost that they have no power to attain salvation, but for a gracious ability bestowed. (John 1:4, 5.) That ability consists in a great degree of those special drawings purchased for them by the atonement. Except the Father… draw him—That is, attract him; shed drawing influences upon him, and inwardly empower him to a full obedience; but not obliging or securing that obedience. Nor will that drawing avail unless the man freely use his natural and grace-given power to obey.

45. The prophets—That section of the Old Testament popularly styled the prophets. The quotation is probably from Isaiah 54:13: All thy children shall be taught of Jehovah. This teaching is part of the great system of the Father’s drawing to Christ. Hath heard Hath willingly listened. Hath learned—Hath applied his powers to know. Such a man has complied with the Father’s drawings. Cometh unto me—He is assigned by the Father to the Son for salvation. He exercises repentance toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. To this class belonged not these Jews.

***

65. No man can come… except—Men, apart from the guidance and aid of the Father, furnished by the Spirit and the various means of grace, are hemmed into sin. They can neither will nor do acceptably to God. The Father first enables, but not obliges. For grace used, he adds more grace. For drawings obeyed, he adds more drawings. And when they so obey his drawings as to be ready for Christ, he gives and they come. But unless they use his grace and obey his drawings both will be withdrawn. But none ever missed the drawing of God who has not misused it. Given… of my Father—And it was not given in consequence of their not having obediently learned and accepted previous grace, and having sunk themselves into gross hardness. So that because of their primary willfulness the drawing could not reach them, and for want of those drawings it was not given them to come. See notes on verses 26, 37, 38, 39, 44, and 45.

Whedon pp. 324-326, 330, 331, Wesleyan Heritage Collection CD

Full Text of John Goodwin’s Puritan Defense of Arminianism and Polemic Against Calvinism Available at SEA

Big thanks to SEA member John Wagner!

John Goodwin (Redemption Redeemed)

Another Calvinist Who Isn’t Afraid to Tell it Like it Is

In my previous post I drew attention to a person who called Jesus the Calvinist Messiah.  As it turned out, this person was really just making fun of the way that some Calvinists tend towards elitist attitudes and equate their system of theology with the gospel itself.

But here is a guy who is quite for real.  In the following post he essentially equates anyone who believes that God has endowed His creatures with a measure of free will with demon possessed swine:

The End of Two-Thousand Arminians

That’s right, according to this guy if you do not hold to strict Calvinistic determinism then you are no better than a demon possessed pig!  Thankfully, most Calvinists would never say (and hopefully never think) such things.  Most Calvinists would consider this guy a hyper-Calvinist.  Unfortunately, it seems that more and more Calvinists (especially on the internet) are moving towards this sort of elitist and militant attitude towards all those who disagree with them.  I can’t count the times that Calvinists I have discussed my differences with have essentially questioned my salvation because I rejected their strange definition of sovereignty (exhaustive determinism).  Hopefully, more and more Calvinists will take a stand against such ungodly attitudes.  I fear that if they do not they will eventually be swept up in this same sort of thinking. 

Maybe this will eventually lead to the end of the Calvinist “resurgence”.  It has been said that Calvinist resurgences are almost always plagued with a move towards hyper-Calvinism that eventually kills the movement.  Could it be because hyper-Calvinism is the logical and consistent conclusion of exhaustive determinism?  I think so, but I am glad that so many Calvinists are willing to live with inconsistencies rather than pursue that route.  However, it seems that more and more Calvinists, in an effort to be consistent, are tending towards hyper-Calvinism.  If this leads to the demise of the movement, I can’t say that I will be overly disappointed (as much as I like being called a demon possessed pig and all).

William L. Craig on Free Will and Love

Excerpt:

Even omnipotence cannot do the logically impossible. God could produce certain chemical reactions in our brains that would issue in what we’d normally describe as loving behavior toward Him, but it would be a sham, a puppet-like response. To have a genuine love relationship with us, God must put up with the possibility of rebellion.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer?pagename=q_and_a

HT: Brennon Hartshorn

Daniel Whedon on John 10:27-28

27. My sheep hear my voice—As the blind-born did. Those who are bent on holiness and salvation show it by listening to Christ and his Gospel. It is very illogical to infer from all this the doctrine that no man will lose or abandon the character of a sheep of Christ, that is, of a true believer. Qualities or conduct ascribed to persons as possessed of a certain character, do not imply that the character itself may not change. A hireling fleeth because he is a hireling; but that does not prove but that the man may cease to be a hireling. A thief and a robber will kill and destroy; but that does not prove that a thief or robber may not, like Saul of Tarsus, cease to be a thief and robber. So a sheep will follow Christ; but that does not imply but that the man may cease to be a sheep and even become a goat. For a man may as truly from a sheep become a goat, as from a goat become a sheep.

28. Shall never perish—No sheep of Christ can ever perish. The unbeliever and the apostate will perish, but neither the unbeliever or the apostate is a sheep of Christ. Perish… pluck—The literal sheep of the human shepherd may perish by the robber, or be plucked away by the thief; but the spiritual sheep of the true Shepherd no robber can kill, no thief can steal. He must by his own free act abandon or forfeit his spiritual character before he can lose his eternal privilege. (Daniel Whedon, Commentary, pg. 376, Wesley Heritage Collection CD)