(Socrates on Facebook)
I’m a Reformed-Calvinist theologian (as opposed to Wesleyan-Arminian even though I’ve been educated in both). I’m also Southern Baptist and we are of the Reformed-Calvinist tradition. However, there are a few Wesleyan-Arminian doctrines that I appreciate.
I believe in Election but like my Wesleyan-Arminian brothers and sisters, I don’t (or can’t) believe in Reprobation. Both of these doctrines are taught and believed by my church tradition.
Allow me to define the two terms by L. Berkhof, a conservative Reformed-Calvinist theologian:
“That eternal decree of God whereby he has determined to pass some men by with the operation of his special grace, and to punish them for their sins, to the manifestation of his justice.”
Berkhof continues, “The decree of election inevitably implies the decree of reprobation…he purposed to save some, then he ipso facto also purposed not to save others.”
As I have written elsewhere, one of my primary guidelines for interpretation of scripture (with literal, figurative and symbolic language), and the ways of God, are his good, loving, just, and perfect moral character.
It seems incompressible that this good, loving, just and perfectly moral God would “determine” from the beginning that some people would not be selected for his “special grace” and he will “punish them for their sins” (with a literal burning fire for ever I may add).
I fully understand and appreciate interpreting scripture with the arts of Hermeneutics but we also must interpret scripture in the revealed light of God’s character.
Either we have a God who is perfectly good, loving, and just, with impeccable moral character or we do not. If we do not have such a God as described, then we have a capricious God whose actions cannot be predicted based on his character; and we all are in trouble.
It seems impossible that we have a God who has decided to allow millions to come into the world that he has “determined” to “punish them for their sins” and consign them to a literal fire burning hell to be tormented forever.
That is not the character of God that I have come to know in scripture.
And Bible scholars: please name for me the very scripture that informs us that God embraces this doctrine of Reprobation. I cannot find it.
Wesleyan-Arminian theology seems more in line with God’s good, loving, just, and perfect moral character.
Frankly, I have come to believe that the doctrine of Reprobation is, if not a horrible doctrine, certainly a disingenuous one to characterize the God I have come to know.
Like Wesleyan-Arminians, I believe all people are called and offered salvation. This salvation is made known to them and offered, as I have recently written, by Special & General Revelation.
However, this God designed his humans with free will! Therefore, most will not acknowledge either of those two revelations, and will not positively answer God’s call; they will be lost forever.