But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
God has standards for what defines a good father,
and also what defines a bad father, in which a bad
father is deemed by God as worse than an unbeliever.
God’s standards would make God into a hypocrite if
He followed the principles of Calvinism, particularly
in regard to the Calvinist doctrine of Preterition,
specifically considering that God says that everyone
is a child of God: “...as even some of your own poets
have said, ‘For we also are His children.' Being then
the children of God....” (Acts 17:28-29)
In the Calvinist doctrine of a Limited Atonement, God has allegedly “passed by” most of creation, and excluded them from the hope of salvation and any intention of having them spend eternity with Him in Heaven. This is the Calvinist doctrine of Preterition. But if everyone constitutes His children, at least by creation, then what would these verses say about God?
1st John 3:17: “But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”
James 2:15-16: “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?”
John Calvin: “People who deliberately shut their eyes to God’s light are more culpable than unbelievers. Second, this is an obligation that nature itself teaches. If unbelievers do this in response to what is natural, how are we to think of those who are unmoved by natural affections? Are they not worse than unbelievers?” (1 & 2 Timothy & Titus: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.84, emphasis mine)
Question: Does Calvinism ultimately end up portraying God as “worse than an unbeliever”?
Answer: It depends upon who His children are.
Question: Who are God’s children?
Answer: Speaking to the Athenian idol-worshippers, Paul states: “‘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.’” (Acts 17:28-29)
There are children of God by creation, and children of God by new birth. (Romans 8:14-17) When Paul said “we,” he grouped himself in together with Athenian idol worshippers as mutually children of God by creation.
Question: How does God care for His children by creation?
Answer: Yes, God does indeed provide rain for the just and the unjust. But that’s superficial. The real question is whether God provides for His children by creation in a deeper and more meaningful sense, such as Calvary.
The Calvinistic, Westminster Confession of Faith: “III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.” Additionally, it states: “VII. The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unreachable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy, as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, III. Of God’s Eternal Decree, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “...the secret counsel of God whereby He chooses some to salvation and destines others for eternal destruction.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.53, emphasis mine)
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)
John Calvin: “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)
John Calvin: “When predestination is discussed, it is from the start to be constantly maintained, as I today teach, that all the reprobate are justly left in death, for in Adam they are dead and condemned.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.121, emphasis mine)
Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon: “That God saves from corruption and damnation those whom he has chosen from the foundations of the world, not for any disposition, faith, or holiness that he foresaw in them, but of his mere mercy in Christ Jesus his Son, passing by all the rest according to the irreprehensible reason of his own free-will and justice. (Spurgeon’s Sermons, Vol. 2, p.69, emphasis mine)
Question: What would God think of the kind of God that Calvinism portrays?
Answer: Certainly, God has the right to judge the unrepentant wicked among His creation, but to suggest that He might actually foreordain to abort the vast majority of His own, would seem unthinkable, given all that He has declared about parental care and genuine love.
John Wesley responds concerning Calvinism: “You represent God as worse than the devil; more false, more cruel, more unjust. But you say you will prove it by scripture. Hold! What will you prove by Scripture? That God is worse than the devil?” (Free Grace, emphasis mine)
When you consider that, to God, all mankind are His “offspring” or “children” (Acts 17:28-29), and given His opinion of a man who abandons his children as being worse than a heretic (1st Timothy 5:8), you must conclude that God absolutely would not “pass by,” refuse to provide for, or even predestine them to perdition, or else He would be calling Himself worse than a heretic. However, not to worry, God has not only stated His standards for parental care, but has also backed it up with action, when He gave His children by creation the absolute greatest gift that He could ever give, namely, His only begotten Son, Jesus, through whom, God desires that all believe in and become saved. That’s why it should be of no surprise to find the Bible explicitly stating that God, for His part, is willing that “none perish” and that all come to “repentance” (2nd Peter 3:9), desiring that all men become “saved.” (1st Timothy 2:3-4) And that’s simply God providing for His own “offspring,” that is, the means by which to be saved, and to go from His children by creation to His children by adoption via New Birth.
Calvinist, James White: “God is under no obligation to extend His grace to the rebel sinner, and every single person who enters into eternal punishment would, were they given the opportunity, freely choose to remain under punishment rather than bow the knee in loving adoration of the God they hate.” (Debating Calvinism, p.19, emphasis mine)
That’s why Calvary was such a gracious gift, given for each rebel sinner, that they might be saved, if they will believe in His Son, whom He does not leave to their free will, but actively chases.
Former Calvinist, Steven Hitchcock: “We ought to stop and question a gospel that proclaims, ‘The wonder is not that He withholds mercy from some, but that He should be gracious to any.’ It sounds so spiritual, so humble, so weighty, and awesome, and yet it is a lie. Because of Calvinism we have actually come to think that God’s great willingness to be gracious is more unlikely than likely.” (Recanting Calvinism, pp.xxvi-xxvii, emphasis mine)