Whereas Hyper-Calvinists have no reservations in affirming that God predestined people to Hell, moderate Calvinists very much do have a problem with this, and typically insist that there is “no doctrine of Reprobation in Scripture.” Moderates simply insist that God is gracious enough to elect certain people to Heaven, while the rest are simply “passed by,” being undeserving rebel sinners anyway, just getting what they deserve. Essentially, then, the moderates believe that Hyper-Calvinists are in error by erroneously supposing that God positively decrees some to Heaven, while positively decreeing the rest to Hell. Instead, Moderates believe that while God positively elects some to Heaven, He merely negatively decrees the rest to Hell, insomuch that the latter is simply an act of omission. However, this reasoning doesn’t work, since we know from Scripture that there are instances in which an act of omission indeed reduces to an act of commission. Failure to testify of Christ, is a perfect example:
So it is very naive for a moderate Calvinist to suppose that an act of omission, concerning an alleged non-election, is not also an act of commission, and thus logically speaking, they might as well affirm full blown Reprobation and predestination to Hell, and in fact, this is indeed what many Calvinists indeed do:
Calvinist, George Whitefield, writes: “For, without doubt, the doctrine of election and reprobation must stand or fall together.” (Whitefield’s Letter to Wesley, emphasis mine)
Whitefield adds: “I believe the doctrine of reprobation, in this view, that God intends to give saving grace, through Jesus Christ, only to a certain number, and that the rest of mankind, after the fall of Adam, being justly left of God to continue in sin, will at last suffer that eternal death which is its proper wages.” (Whitefield’s Letter to Wesley, emphasis mine)
Double Predestination involves Unconditional Reprobation while Single Predestination involves Preterition, that is, being left out of the plan of God. While not all Calvinists prescribe to Double Predestination, Arminians wonder what the big difference is? Does God create people to go to Hell, or does He merely abandon them to Hell? What’s the difference?
Arminian, John Wesley, writes: “...if God has absolutely decreed he will make only others alive, and not you, he hath absolutely decreed your everlasting death; you are absolutely consigned to damnation. So then, though you use softer words than some, you mean the self-same thing; and God’s decree concerning the election of grace, according to your account of it, amounts to neither more nor less than what others call God’s decree of reprobation.” (Free Grace, emphasis mine) One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians responds: “According to the Calvinist who believes that God predetermined every detail of history (because He has a total and all-encompassing plan), that would mean that the plan was developed in eternity when only God existed. But if that is so, then those selected for salvation and those selected for damnation (since both types are part of the total plan), had to have been selected before they ever existed. But if this selection was made before they ever existed, in eternity, not in time, then neither they nor their actions existed when the choices were made. But if neither they nor their actions existed when the choices were made, then how can it not be unconditional? Reprobation could only be conditional if God was responding to the reprobates’ actions, and then reprobated them. But in five point Calvinism, where God has a total plan made in eternity, God’s choices were made when the Reprobates did not exist, when they had done nothing meriting damnation. Unconditional means the choice is made by God apart from, and not in consideration of, any actions done by the person. And we must never forget that Calvinists deny ordinary foreknowledge (so they deny that God foreknows what a person will freely choose to do: instead they believe that God only foreknows a future event because He preplanned/predetermined it/it is part of his total plan developed in eternity.) What I am saying is that both Election and Reprobation have to be unconditional if God has this total plan that was made in eternity when no one else existed, when humans had done no actions whatsoever.” (SEA) One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians explains: “Talk by Calvinists that God is merciful because He selects some from the mass of condemnation-deserving humanity, intentionally ignores, intentionally neglects, sweeps under the rug, the reality that if that mass of humanity is sinful and worthy of condemnation, they are only that way because God Himself predetermined for them to be sinful and worthy of condemnation (i.e. He made them that way, He wanted them to be that way, and it was impossible for them to be anything other than what He made them to be).” (SEA) One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians adds: “If God predecides everything that occurs, then he is just like an author of a novel in the sense that they decide beforehand every detail of the story they desire to create. The author decides beforehand every detail of their story. They decide who will be the ‘good guys’ the heroes, as well as who will be the ‘villains.’ They decide every detail of every part of the story. If someone ends up being a villain in the story, no one in their right mind would say: ‘Well the author passed over that character and so that character ON THEIR OWN became the hated villain.’ This would not be said by any rational thinking person because the characters in an author’s story do not become what they are ON THEIR OWN. In fact, this is IMPOSSIBLE as they can only think, be or do, whatever the author decides for them to think, be or do. If the author decides that ‘Joe’ will be a villain, then that is what he will be, and he has to be that, and it is impossible that he not be that. Likewise, this fact that whatever the author decides beforehand is what will be part of the story, APPLIES EQUALLY TO EVERY PART OF THE STORY, WITH NO EXCEPTIONS. There are not degrees of Determinism, where everything is decided beforehand by a single author (or in the case of Calvinism by God). No, everything is EQUALLY decided beforehand. It is not like one character in the story is what the author wants them to be and another ON THEIR OWN becomes something the author did not decide for them to be. If this is all true, then both the heroes and villains in the Calvinist story are equally predecided by God (so a consistent theological Determinist has to hold to Double Predestination, the idea that both the elect and the reprobate are both predecided by God, that these decisions on the part of God are ACTIVE and made in eternity before any of these persons exists or does anything good or bad, that the characters in the story do not do anything ON THEIR OWN, but instead only and always follow the predecided script).” (SEA)
I agree with pointing out the time element to such Calvinists as Phil Johnson who appear to reject that God has an all-encompassing, total plan (i.e. “the sovereign decree”), that most Calvinists insist that God has. Secondly, the idea that Calvinistic Reprobation is in lieu of man’s actions, totally ignores Calvinism’s alleged Prime Directive, which according to John Calvin is to illustrate God’s Himself:
John Calvin writes: “Solomon also teaches us that not only was the destruction of the ungodly foreknown, but the ungodly themselves have been created for the specific purpose of perishing (Prov. 16:4).” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, pp.207-208, emphasis mine)
Calvin adds: “...the wicked were created for the day of evil simply because God willed to illustrate His own glory in them; just as elsewhere He declares that Pharaoh was raised up by Him that He might show forth His name among the Gentiles (Ex 9:16).” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.97, emphasis mine)
In other words, God is not acting upon their actions, but rather, acting upon His own eternal need to create a class of the damned so that God could “illustrate His own glory in them,” without which, God would be left wanting. So Johnson’s argument misses the fact that Calvinists affirm both a “sovereign decree” and the driving need behind it.
Calvin writes: “But here he runs full sail against God for determining some from their very creation to destruction.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.78, emphasis mine)
Calvin writes: “At this point in particular the flesh rages when it hears that the predestination to death of those who perish is referred to the will of God.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.208, emphasis mine)
Calvin writes: “For Paul teaches that the race of Abraham consisted of both elect and reprobate. Further, he declares in general that there come from the human race vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy for the manifestation of the glory of God.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.160, emphasis mine)
Calvin writes: “Hence Augustine, having treated of the elect, and taught that their salvation reposes in the faithful custody of God so that none perishes, continues: The rest of mortal men who are not of this number, but rather taken out of the common mass and made vessels of wrath, are born for the use of the elect.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.107, emphasis mine)
The Reprobation view is essentially that God creates reprobate people like Goliath for no other purpose than for the spiritual growth of elect people like David, and that once God is finished with a reprobate person, he is then cast aside forever, having fulfilled the purpose for which he was made. Again, according to Calvin, these are “not found but made worthy of destruction,” which is all a part of the “will of God” in the “predestination to death.” This is a very dark and fatalistic world-view.
Robert Shank comments: “Thus the mass of mankind are created with no prospect of salvation, but exist only for the benefit of the arbitrarily and unconditionally elect minority, to provide the milieu within which the purpose of election may be unfolded.” (Elect in the Son, p.225)
It’s frustrating when you have to remind Calvinists that they are Calvinists, when you get the kind of double-speak espoused by Ware. Ware knows full well of his views on predestination [Determinism], and yet expounds upon on people deserving punishment for the actions that are pre-scripted for them to perform. According to Calvinism, everything is predetermined, that is, every thought, word and deed, from eternity to eternity, and that if God did not script it thus, that He could not otherwise know it. So with everything meticulously determined, we are told about “justice” and what people deserve. That doesn’t make sense, and it’s not like it’s some higher form of divinity that man is unable to ascertain. 1 + 1 does not equal 3, neither now, nor in eternity. God says, “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.’” (Isaiah 1:18) Now how can we do that if God’s ways are inscrutable and beyond human understanding?