“Extreme” Calvinism or Inevitable Calvinism?
Often, Southern Baptist preachers and theologians will take a bite of the Calvinist apple, while trying to reject the rest of it as “extreme,” such as when they embrace the Calvinist doctrine of Unconditional Election, while trying to deny Total Inability and Irresistible Grace. How can you? Once you exercise, aren’t you physically committed to sweating? Once you eat and drink, aren’t you physically committed to, well, you know what? Once you embrace Election, as defined by Calvinism, you are on the hook for all that which comes with it, and denials to the contrary, prove only to be absurd:
Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon, once prayed: “Lord, hasten to bring in all Thine elect—and then elect some more.” (An Intimate Interlude, emphasis mine)
While many non-Calvinists would applaud Spurgeon on a brilliant assessment of Election, the reality is that when you consider the eternal aspect of Election, according to Ephesians 1:4 and 2nd Timothy 1:9, Spurgeon’s statement becomes logically absurd, which just goes to show that when you embrace the “U” in TULIP (with the possible exception of “L”, Limited Atonement), trying to reject the rest of TULIP will succeed only in making you into a salmon in the hands of a hungry bear, as a determined Calvinist will theologically pick your bones clean. For if you embrace Unconditional Election, obviously only the “elect” in such a system can be saved, and thus the rest of humanity has to have Total Inability to one degree or another, while the predetermined “elect” must ultimately be saved, which can only lead to an Irresistible Grace, to one degree or another. Logically speaking, there is simply no way around it. For once you start down that path, there is no turning back, until you reach all of its logical conclusions. You may try to dismiss the rest of Calvinism as “Extremism,” but in doing so, you will merely end up being the salmon.
Let me tell you about what happens to those types of people. After years of resisting Calvinism, and being a frustrated Single Predestinationist, they end up surrendering to full-blown Calvinism. It’s just a matter of time when logical inescapability, finally catches up with them. If you are going to agree with Election, as defined by Calvinism, then you are a Calvinist, and it’s only a matter of time before you finally, grudgingly, concede to it.