Thursday, September 13, 2007
Lies Arminians tell. 1. 'Calvinism makes God a Respecter of Persons'
We begin a series with a startling title. Our aim is to deal with a few Arminian misrepresentations of Calvinism. First we shall deal with one that is a great favourite:
"Calvinism makes God a Respecter of Persons."
How many times have you heard this? More times than you care to remember, we suspect, if you're a Calvinist! It has been an Arminian favourite for centuries and is still used today by free-willers who refuse the title of the Dutch theologian. I am sure that Arminius would agree with their refusing the name, however - he was a theologian, after all!!!
And yet the answer to this objection is that the Arminian has things completely backwards! HE makes God a respecter of persons!
The Biblical basis is Acts 10.34, in which Peter confesses that "God is no respecter of persons". The Arminian then ASSUMES that unconditional election equals respect of persons (because someone told him it does), and armed with this text he faces the Calvinist.
The well-read and Biblically literate Calvinist (we know some who are not, alas), will instantly turn up James chapter 2, "My brethren, have not the faith of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, with respect of persons..."
How was James afraid these Christians would have 'respect of persons'? By treating a rich man differently from a poor man! In other words, to have respect of persons is to treat one man differently from another because of something in the two men - in the case of James' example, wealth. The heading in our Cruden explains 'respect of persons' as "Favour or partiality toward the rich or powerful".
Now the Free-willer says that God saves those whom he sees will exercise faith. So, the Calvinist presses home his argument, in fact because YOU say that God saves some men because they believe and damns others because they do not, have YOU not made God a respecter of persons? While WE say that God UNCONDITIONALLY chooses sinners out of 'the one lump' of corrupt and sinful humanity, purely by His own will. So that we can say, Biblically, that God is no respecter of persons, and does not save based on what we do. The Free-willer, with his conditional election, is revealed to be the one who makes God a respecter of persons.