“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
Having to defer to a “secret will,” is something that I find very troubling about Calvinism.
Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon, states: “I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.” (A Defense of Calvinism, emphasis mine)
So did the apostle Paul, at Acts 17:24-31, fail to truly preach Christ and Him crucified?
Spurgeon adds: “I do not come into this pulpit hoping that perhaps somebody will of his own free will return to Christ. My hope lies in another quarter. I hope that my Master will lay hold of some of them and say, ‘You are mine, and you shall be mine. I claim you for myself.’ My hope arises from the freeness of grace, and not from the freedom of the will.” (Spurgeon’s Sermons, emphasis mine)
John Calvin states: “If we are not ashamed of the gospel, we must confess what is there plainly declared. God, by His eternal goodwill, which has no cause outside itself, destined those whom He pleased to salvation, rejecting the rest; those whom He dignified by gratuitous adoption He illumined by His Spirit, so that they receive the life offered in Christ, while others voluntarily disbelieve, so that they remain in darkness destitute of the light of faith.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.58, emphasis mine)
Calvinist, Colin of Good Night Safe Home, explains: “I take the line that Calvinism is the Gospel in its fullest expression, and that is how Spurgeon viewed it, especially seeing his other views on John Wesley and Arminians in general which were quite gracious. I do not think that the Evangelical alternatives deny the gospel, but I do think that they dilute it.” (ExaminingCalvinism, emphasis mine)
Do you believe that Paul preached a diluted Gospel at 1st Corinthians 15:1-11?
Calvinist, Colin of Good Night Safe Home, explains: “When I preach the gospel (in the open air and through the printed page etc.,) I keep to the basics such as you have in 1 Corinthians 15 rather than go into the specific details of Romans 8-9 etc., It is in the details of the gospel that I think Calvinism gives the fuller expression, rather than the alternative from the other school within the Evangelical fold. To say (as some do) ‘Elected because I selected’ makes me think that God wept with with gratitude that someone deigned to pick Him to be their God.” (ExaminingCalvinism, emphasis mine)
“Elected because I selected” is the Calvinist perspective of the Arminian teaching that God the Father has chosen Christians for salvation, and Calvinists are free to their perspectives, just as Arminians do the same. However, the problem that I have is that these purported “details of the gospel,” as alleged by Calvinists, do not appear to have been as unpacked by the apostles, as they have been by the Calvinists, and that’s perhaps the most serious issue of all. In other words, there is a serious disconnect between the zealousness of the Calvinists for Calvinism, and the zealousness of the apostles to meticulously spell it out in they way that Calvinists believe and teach. Simply read a theology book by a Calvinist, and then compare that with the New Testament, and the problem should be plainly evident. However, Calvinists absolutely insist that Calvinism is blanketed across each chapter of the New Testament, but my protest is that this is only the case if the Calvinist reads Calvinism into every place where he claims that he is getting it out of.
Paul’s sermon at Acts 17 mentions nothing about “the depravity of man,” but instead indicates that God expects us seek, grope and find Him. Of course, I do acknowledge the depravity of man, and the fallen nature, but based upon Paul’s sermon, God does not seem to think that the depravity of man necessarily equates to a Calvinist doctrine of Total Inability, or prevents people from repentance, or prevents people from seeking and finding Him, especially since God indicated that He is “not far from each one of us.” Paul placed all of mankind under the collective umbrella of “His children” and if God wants people to repent, then it’s implicit that God would welcome such repentance, but if, as Calvinism teaches, that there is a Limited Atonement (whereby Jesus didn’t die for all), then the calling to repentance would be a calling to a non-Atonement for the alleged non-elect. So the mere fact of the universal calling to repentance implies that all men have to have a Savior, Jesus, who will welcome repentance, and return it with forgiveness through His blood. Thus, an Unlimited Atonement seems inevitable from Paul’s sermon. Really, Paul’s sermon does significant damage to TULIP Calvinism, which is probably why it’s rare to ever see a Calvinist theologian quote from it.
Yes, as I believe that Paul was correct to say so, at Acts 17:28-29. The point in Hosea was to reflect the condition of Israel, in terms of how Israel had left God. It was not meant to imply that God did not want them anymore. Quite the contrary. In fact, God did this very thing with Hosea, because He wanted Israel to turn back to Him.
Here is a Blog discussion on this point.