And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
Steven Hitchcock: “If God’s will is that the gospel should go into all the world then it’s very reasonable that He also wills that all men should be saved.” (Recanting Calvinism, p.267)
Dave Hunt: “If salvation is not genuinely available to all, why did Christ command His disciples to go into all the world and ‘preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15)? Is that not giving a false impression, both to His disciples and to all who would read their account of Christ’s teachings in the four Gospels?” (What Love is This?, p.260)
Question: Does this instance of “the world” mean the world of the elect?
Answer: The elect are those who are “in Christ” [meaning actual Christians], and the only world that is exclusively comprised of actual Christians is in Heaven, and that world, will only come to this world, when Jesus returns and brings it back with Him.
Jephunneh Palit-ang: “If the word ‘WORLD’ means the world of the elect, according to Calvinists, then we have a problem here. Jesus said in Mark 16:15, ‘Go ye into all the WORLD, and preach the gospel to every creature.’ Should a Calvinist want to become a missionary, where is this WORLD OF THE ELECT he will be going?”
Calvinists can’t pick & choose when “the world” means the whole world vs. just an alleged, elect world, and the fact that Mark 16:15 prefixes “the world” with “all” doesn’t change anything because 1st John 2:1-2 also says “whole” world, and yet Calvinists still infer an alleged “elect world” there too. Moreover, I’m sure that Calvinists will agree that Mark 16:15 means the whole world, as in everyone, but the problem is that it leaves them will little leverage to demand that John 3:16’s “world” can’t also mean the same thing, and that’s precisely the pickle that Calvinists faces. Furthermore, Calvinists can’t point to a single Scriptural usage of an “elect world,” in order to link it to John 3:16’s “world.”
Question: So why do Calvinists infer a different “world” at John 3:16, than “the world” described at Mark 16:15?
Answer: Arminians don’t have to play that game, and just let “the world” mean what it is.
Question: If Christ died for all men, how do you account for the fact that not all of creation has heard the Gospel?
Answer: Those who died without hearing the Gospel, indeed perish in Hell, though perhaps with a less severe punishment, as per Jesus’ parable at Luke 12:48: “But the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” Nevertheless, the main point, as demonstrated at Ezekiel 33:7-11 and Acts 18:5-6, is that God does not accept blame for people perishing without ever having heard the Gospel. God points the finger back upon believers. Paul stated: “But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’” Therefore, these indeed had a Savior (or else his preaching to them doesn’t make any sense), but they rejected the Savior, and now Paul cannot be held unclean or responsible for them perishing. So that’s why I believe that when we look to God, regarding a lost world that hasn’t heard the Gospel, God doesn’t say say, “Ah yeah, My bad,” but instead looks back at us and says, “What did I command?” (Mark 16:15)
A Pastor once stated: “You have 3 options. One, you can become a Missionary. Two, you can support a Missionary. Or Three, you can repent.”