Friday, June 12, 2009

"Chosen" Does Not Mean Calvin

Again, on the Calvinist debate. I read this in a document sent to me by a friend.

In 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, Paul references election four times, and
then ties the doctrine of election to humility, “so that no human
being might boast” (v.29).

Let's look at 1 Corinthians 1:26-29.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29
26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before Him.

Hang on a sec, do you see where Paul references election four times? I don't! I do see the word "chose" in there three times and "called" in there once. Is that referring to election? I don't suppose so!

Can you be called whether or not election is true? Yes, you can.

Does it say here that God chose people, specifically for salvation? No; it says He chose "things". Foolish things to shame the wise.

It seems like every time a Calvinist sees the word "chose" or "called", he immediately points it out, happily shouting, "look! Calvinism!"

This attitude is one of the things that convinces me that Calvinists have no scriptural basis for their idea of "unconditional election". Surely if it were true they would point out more clear scriptures than this!

Let us also look at the parable of the wedding guests, one of the times when Jesus used the word "chose".

Matthew 22
1Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2"The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

4"Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.'

5"But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

8"Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' 10So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11"But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless.

13"Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

14"For many are invited, but few are chosen."

What does Jesus say here? Many are invited, but few are chosen! What does this mean? The Calvinists would say it means that many people are invited to accept the Gospel message on their own, but few are chosen to be filled with irresistible grace so that they may accept it.

But now let us look at this verse in context. Read the entire parable. Who are the chosen ones, do you suppose? They are the ones who were invited and wore the wedding clothes.

Who was thrown out? The man who did not wear the wedding clothes!

Let's think about what these "wedding clothes" symbolize.

Wedding clothes are traditionally white. Jesus' blood clothes us and makes us spotless and clean. We are not actually pure ourselves, but we are pure in the Father's eyes because of Christ's blood, shed for our sins.

The man without wedding clothes, as I see it, was not clothed with the blood of Christ, so he was not saved. He was cast out, because he was a sinner.

The chosen ones were the ones who were clothed with the blood of Christ. They were chosen because they were wearing the spotless wedding clothes of the Son. Those wedding clothes were, of course, not their own invention! Christ provided them. But that man refused to wear the clothes he was graciously offered, and was cast into Hell.

When were the chosen ones chosen? They were chosen not before the dawn of time, but once all was said and done, at the end. They were chosen because they took the second chance they were offered.

See, not all that says "chosen" means Calvinism!

No comments:

Post a Comment