A Calvinist Asked Me This Question, and My Reply Follows

“If all men are under the same propensity to believe and under the same affects (sic) of the fall, what would make a believer better than a nonbeliever that he should choose Christ?”

1. The issue is not that a believer is better (that idea may arise from viewing my position through the lens of compatibilism, which I reject). With a Libertarian free choice, it simply means that one can choose to believe the gospel or not believe the gospel, and whichever he did in fact do, he could have done otherwise. No one is better. They are not under the same “propensity,” but rather have the grace enablement of God to have the same freedom to choose to believe or not believe.

2. Extensivism believes (as would other approaches that do not accept Calvinism) that God created Adam with the ability to choose to obey or distrust God and disobey–such salvific choices do not exist in Calvinism. Of course, God knew what man with true otherwise choice would do, and that is why God’s sovereign choice to create such freedom included coextensively creating and providing redemption.

3. I simply believe the Scripture is quite ubiquitously clear that God graciously offers the gospel to all unconditionally, but requires the reception of the gospel to be by grace enabled faith. Faith is not the reason for salvation but the means of receiving salvation. Man did not determine his fate by himself, but rather God determined (because of what is in God, i.e. perfect love, mercy, etc., and not what is in man) to create man with otherwise choice; hence, God sovereignly chose this path.

4. I do give a host of Scriptures in my book. Others who neither claim to be Calvinist nor Arminian do likewise in their writings. There are several things that God does that I categorize as grace enablements. To mention just a few: we believe the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17) and the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11) and that God really does love His created humanity and both desires and provided for their salvation through grace enabled faith (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-10) and provides a sufficient call to salvation to all who hear. Any freedom that man exercises redounds to the glory of God since He sovereignly created man as He did, and just as sovereignly chose to grant him to be sufficiently able to be delivered from his just dessert. Total depravity, biblically defined, does not require regeneration prior to faith. The necessity of that order is Calvinism’s embracing of compatibilism.

We simply believe that when Jesus came preaching the gospel (Mark 1:14-15) and calling on the hearers to repent and believe, that the gospel was good news to everyone because everyone to whom He spoke could be delivered from their just dessert by the grace of God. Further, that Jesus really desired them to be saved and believed they could be saved; therefore, Jesus had not helped develop a plan that excluded many hearers, which would not be good news.

Ronnie W. Rogers