The following A.W. Pink quote only spawned further, in my opinion, the division that exists in the body of Christ in these last days. And his quotes are still used even though he is gone. He says:
“True it is that by no means all who intellectually receive “Calvinism” as a philosophy or theology, give evidence (in their daily lives) of regeneration; yet equally true is it that those who continue to cavil against and steadfastly refuse any part of the truth, are not entitled to be regarded as Christians.” – A.W. Pink
I’m not sure what he means by “refuse any part of the truth”? The truth of which he speaks is of course the TULIP of Calvinism. Apparently if we accept just one area of his understanding then we would qualify as Christian.
What I do understand is what he means by to “cavil against” it. But in my opinion it is not so much being against what he believes as it is searching for scripture’s truth. Certainly I can agree on this one point. No man can come to Christ apart from the working of the Holy Spirit. If one is a believer I would also think that that one would need to accept this fact. But God The Holy Spirit is everywhere. David said where can I go from your Spirit? He even says that God’s Spirit is in hell. But Pink’s point is that the Holy Spirit must be the drawing force behind a man’s awakening to Christ and the gospel. And on that point he is correct.
The Omnipresence teaching is of course foundational within the Church. Jesus instructed the taking of the gospel to all nations. And Paul stated how can they hear without a preacher? The Holy Spirit is present and at work wherever the word is preached, and quite frankly wherever it is not preached. It’s clear what God says: My word will not return to me void.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 3:17,4:3-4 NASB
Satan has blinded the minds of a certain people — the unbelieving. At one time we were those unbelieving, blinded by Satan. Did Satan cause all to be unbelieving by blinding all? Or, were they first unbelieving and he thus was able to blind them? I should think that it would be the former. Man apparently could not believe when the message was heard because of this sin causing blindness, thus enter the Holy Spirit. — Other scripture says that they love the world and their sin more than they love God. And such would be us had we not believed when the Holy Spirit gave us a glimpse at truth. But the rest who remain unbelievers are herein judged to have loved the world more than God. In order for that judgment to be made concerning these, they must have the opportunity to make the choice between the World and God.
Herein is the problem with the Calvinist view. With them there is this contradiction in thinking that we were all at one time blinded to the Gospel’s truth; but at the same time we were chosen and others were not chosen but with no identifiable reason for God’s choosing. To the TULIP Calvinist God created Satan to keep blind only these who never will see. To them it’s not that God’s love drove Him to His sacrifice for a lost world in order to save some; but it’s that He came and died only for those He chose to save for no other reason than this is what He chose to do. To them He knew that no man that He had created could ever on his own even when exposed to His truth chose to do right. He actually created this evil for His purpose in creation. But what is that purpose?
I ask this question because, Even in the Calvinist thinking evil is not needed in order to save us, because to them we are without a choice in the matter of salvation; we have no will in the matter.
When Paul believed Jesus on the road to Damascus He had no choice but to believe. But there was another Saul in Scripture who was a king, called and anointed by God’s prophet Samuel, and he too received a new heart as a free gift. He prophesied with the prophets of God, but certainly it is revealed over the time of his life that he did not place his gift of faith and trust in this God who called him. How could one who is given this gift of faith so misplace it? At his end he is seen finally placing it upon the witch of Endor? In Calvinist theology he really had no choice, because God wanted to use him as an example to others who really had no choice either. What is that all about?
Michael Jeshurun on his blog has brought Pink’s quotes forward for our consideration. He has this to say to Christians not accepting of his truth.
“Without doubt the doctrine of Limited Atonement or [Particular Redemption] is the most offensive, controversial and difficult of the doctrines of grace. A testing doctrine! Only a Christian who has decided to preach the offence of the Cross will accept it.”
Limited atonement for those who don’t know states that Jesus only died for the sins of the chosen, who have no choice in the matter of salvation.
As you read scriptures in the Old Testament such as Isaiah 56 & 57, where God shows forth His anger for disobedience and His blessing for “choosing” obedience one quickly becomes aware that man is called to choose and God is angered when he refuses. He stated in 57:16-17 that He well not always contend with man because of his backsliding.
I think that the divisiveness of these two men whom I have quoted here is obvious in their statements. Im not sure where Jeshurun gets his information on those who preach on the cross of Christ, but he is obviously way off base. Without Jesus cruel death on the cross there is no salvation. No matter how offensive to man that fact is, still it is truth. I find that most systems of theology that claim to know it all, are coming at us with pride not with the humility that is necessary to allow others to see Christ in us. I know from scripture that God has predestined certain things to be true, and those things He predestined before the foundation of the earth. I also know that Jesus dying for the sins of the world is true.
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
John 3:16-21 NASB
Verse 21 is an interesting verse, because no one can practice the truth without first being exposed to it, and then they must believe it. So the one who does this has his deeds manifest as being Godly.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 NASB
Only those who believe in Him can seek Him. It would seem that this faith which is a gift from God comes to the man who has heard and believed the preaching of the word.
However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “ Lord, who has believed our report?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; “ Their voice has gone out into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world .” But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, “ I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, By a nation without understanding will I anger you .” And Isaiah is very bold and says, “ I was found by those who did not seek Me, I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me .” But as for Israel He says, “ All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
Romans 10:16-21 NASB
What is this saying? The Gentiles who were not seeking God heard and believed. God had chosen Israel, but they refused to hear. The hearing of the word and believing it is necessary for faith to llbe given by God. If Israel was chosen and did not hear does that not fly in the face of predestination as pure Calvinist’s understand it? Gentiles were called and grafted in because they heard a message without seeking, and because they heard — in other words believed, then they received the gift of faith and were grafted into Israel’s own Olive Tree, and thus Israel will one day be made jealous. How will this happen? When will this happen? It could not happen when there was no nation. It has not happened since there is a restored nation.
The church is the body of Christ. Translation: we are the body of Israel’s Messiah. We have inherited her promises and covenants with her ancestors who were the saints of God (Ephesians 2). One day we will because of God’s answer to Jesus’ John 17 prayer be united as a body and when that occurs Israel’s jealousy will turn her remnant to her Messiah and ours. And then the end will come.
Please don’t hesitate to post your questions, comments, and yes even your disagreements here, because this is how we learn.