Ezekiel 33:8

Ezekiel 33:7-11 (see also Acts 18:6; Jeremiah 18:6; Ezekiel 18:23)
“Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to warn them about changing their ways, then they will die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will not be held responsible. Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: You are saying, ‘Our sins are heavy upon us; we are wasting away! How can we survive?’ As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?” [TLB

The apostle Paul echoes similar language at Acts 18:6: “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.’

John Calvin comments: “By these words, teachers are warned that if they do not want to be guilty of blood before the Lord, they must do whatever they can to bring wanderers back to the way, and that they must not allow anyone to perish through ignorance.” (Acts: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.309, emphasis mine)

However, compare this with what Calvin had elsewhere taught:

Calvin says: “Two people may hear the same teaching together; yet one is willing to learn, and the other persists in his obstinacy. They do not differ in nature, but God illumines one and not the other.”  (Acts: Calvin, Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.229, emphasis mine)

If God illumes the one and not the other, then the other perishes, not because of what you failed to do, but because God was disinterested in illuminating them, allegedly, and it gets worse:

Calvin says: “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. For God created no one of them casually or fortuitously, nor is He ignorant of whatever good may be worked through them. For that He created human nature in them and adorned the order of this present life by them is in itself a good work. But He brings none of them to the spiritual repentance by which a man is reconciled with God.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.107, emphasis mine)

According to God, He only wants for them to “turn from their wicked ways so they can live,” while yet according to Calvinism, they are “born for the use of the elect.”

Calvin writes: “When God prefers some to others, choosing some and passing others by, the difference does not depend on human dignity or indignity. It is therefore wrong to say that the reprobate are worthy of eternal destruction.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp.120-121, emphasis mine)

Calvin adds: “If what I teach is true, that those who perish are destined to death by the eternal good pleasure of God though the reason does not appear, then they are not found but made worthy of destruction.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.121, emphasis mine)

Calvin is actually characterizing the comments of the opposition towards Calvinism, but it’s inevitable:

John Calvin writes:All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.” (Institutes of Christian Religion: Book 3, Chapter 21, Section 5, emphasis mine)

John Calvin introduces a secret will explanation:

John Calvin comments: “But, it is alleged, we thereby ascribe a double will to God, whereas He is not variable and not the least shadow of turning falls upon Him. What is this, says Pighius, but to mock men, if God professes to will what He does not will? But if in fairness the two are read together: I will that the sinner turn and live, the calumny is dissolved without bother. God demands conversion from us; wherever He finds it, a man is not disappointed of the promised regard of life. Hence God is said to will life, as also repentance. But the latter He wills, because He invites all to it by His word. Now this is not contradictory of His secret counsel, by which He determined to convert none but His elect. He cannot rightly on this account be through variable, because as lawgiver He illuminates all with the external doctrine of life, in this first sense calling all men to life. But in the other sense, He brings to life whom He will, as Father regenerating by the Spirit only His Sons.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.106, emphasis mine)

So by the Revealed Will, God wants for them to repent, but by the Secret Will, God does nothing for it to have any real chance of actually happening. God said that He wants for them to turn and live. He even asks: “Why should you die?” (Ezekiel 33:11) But Calvinism answers, they were “born for the use of the elect.”

Here at Ezekiel 33:11 (and Jeremiah 18:1-13), we see God making a plea. God had purposely arranged to have one’s destiny be determined by whether an individual turns back to Him. I see that as God’s sovereign choice, as God specifically wants a kingdom of people that chose to be with Him under adverse circumstances. I get that. It makes sense. Therefore it also makes sense that God should plea with those who are perishing, to turn back to Him, in order to change the course of their destiny. However, I’m told that what the text actually says is not the real issue, but that the real issue is the philosophical question of whether if God foreknows that they will reject Him, how does it make sense that God should plea with them to change their destiny? Of course, God knows what they will decide, but what it is that they will chose is their own self-determined choice, and of that self-determined choice, God is indeed making a plea for them to change it, and to change course. But again, what about the text? One can make philosophical arguments all day long, but what about what the text is actually telling us. With that in mind, here is what I’m told about the importance of Scripture:

One Calvinist explains: “What is truly an affront to God is that although He has clearly revealed Himself to man through the scriptures that some will ignore and reinterpret certain passages to fit how they feel God is. Let us not sit by and merely critique each other but let us go to the word of God and let Him who is above all tell us about Himself, His power, His control, His love, His mercy. May the Lamb which was slain receive the reward of His suffering.” (Emphasis mine)

Of course, this particular Calvinist was not commenting in regard to Ezekiel 33:11, and that’s why it’s hard to take this comment seriously.

Adrian Rogers continues: “God did not say that some people can be saved and other people cannot be saved, that some are in a select group. No! There is no respect of persons with God. None whatsoever. The Lord is not willing that any should perish. If you go to hell, a broken-hearted God will watch you drop into hell. It is not God’s plan that you die and go to hell. The Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (The Christ of the New Testament: Acts 10:43)

Adrian Rogers adds: “Some people submit to the will of God, some people do not. All are called, but not all respond. Those who do not say to God, ‘Not my will, but thine,’ will one day in hell hear God say to them, ‘Not My will, but thine be done.’ What a terrible way to end, resisting God.”  (Foundations For Our Faith, Vol.II, A Study In Romans Chapters 5-9, p.94)

I agree.

One Calvinist, who goes by the name “chalee,” explains: “You have quoted Adrian Rogers as saying: ‘If you go to hell, a broken-hearted God will watch you drop into hell.’ Of course, the bible doesn’t teach this sappy nonsense at all. God hates the wicked, not just their sin but them specifically. (Psa 5:5; 11:5) In the end, God will not simply watch as the unrepentant “drop” into Hell as if pulled down by gravity…rather He will judge the wicked and cast them into Hell. (Luke 12:5; Rev 20:12-15)”

But God also loves His enemies, and tells us to do the same, if we want to be more like Him. (Matthew 5:43-48) So I don’t see the comments of Adrian Rogers as “sappy nonsense” at all, but rather God being God. If God decided that He gets more joy by rejecting Calvinism in favor of the Arminian approach, then who are we to make fun of God as being “sappy”?

Adrian Rogers states: “Now if you believe that there is a kind of Predestination and Election that men are going to be saved no matter what, or lost no matter what, this verse makes no sense to me whatsoever.” (Let the Earth Hear His Voice, emphasis mine)

Same here. This passage also tells me that if there are unreached people, God is not accepting blame, but assigning blame.
Question:  If they are not found, but made, worthy of destruction, how could God simultaneously, genuinely want them to turn back to Him? Furthermore, what would God mean by, O people of Israel! Why should you die?

Answer:  According to Calvinism, if God genuinely wanted them to live, then the Giver of Life would have granted them spiritual life, and effectually draw them to Himself, and hence live. Therefore, there is no explanation that Calvinism could offer, whereby God was being sincere.
Imagine if a husband and wife are getting divorced, and the father announces that he wants his daughter to live well and be provided for, and to go to college, but then just walks out of their life for good, and never pays one cent for child support. Would you say that the talk is matching up with the walk? Would you say that he was in any way, sincere, about what he said that he wants?
Question:  Why does God take no pleasure in the death of the wicked?

Answer:  Because that’s not His will for them. Mankind wasn’t created for Hell.  (Matthew 25:41) God desires that any and all repent and not perish. However, if God did create a non-elect class (being for the purpose of displaying the divine attribute of wrath) then their death and suffering was something that pleased God to immutably decree. So a “secret will defense” is inevitable for Calvinism.