Sunday, July 19, 2015
Response to Mr. Neville Briggs
There was going to be some difficulty to respond to Mr. Briggs the way I wanted to on Kevin DeYoung's blog so I am going to do it here.
Here is his response with my thoughts in italics:
It’s not my definition of love but the Biblical definition.
That is what we are debating, isn't it?!
The apostle Paul in his wonderful poem about the meaning of love, said that love is not self seeking. If God is looking for glory, that sounds like self seeking. Jesus said that His love was manifest in His laying down of His life for others, He also said that He came not to be served but to serve. . So I take it that God’s love is about others. Not getting something for Himself.
Two things here: Love is not self-seeking and God is not looking for glory. The first is only partially right and the second is just wrong according to Scripture.
1) Love is not self-seeking - This is true in the context of man. Jesus, the God-man, set us an example (Phil. 2) of looking not on our own interests but on the interests of others so He made Himself nothing. He gave us this example so that we should walk in His steps. So for man, by the example of Jesus, love will always look like giving, serving, sacrificing... never in making much of ourselves. Does this apply to God proper, God the Father? This brings us to...
2)God is not looking for glory - The whole scope of Scripture simply does not support this claim:
Isaiah 43:7 (NASB95)
Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom have made.”
Isaiah 48:11 (NASB95)
“For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.
John 17:24 (NASB95)
“Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
Ephesians 1:5–6 (NASB95)
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Yes, Christ came and made Himself nothing but gave, leaving us an example that we should do
likewise. But to conclude that this is the only way the Godhead loves, or to say that for God to be
seeking His own glory is not loving just does not line up with Scripture. God seeks His glory, and He
takes it seriously! The beautiful thing about our God is that in seeking His Glory, that is great for us
because He is a loving, giving, merciful God. Therefore He seeks His glory in being a gracious God
and saving sinners. Seeking His glory does not preclude Him from being a gracious, giving God according to Scripture.
The Calvinist doctrine of election looks like abortion because the abortion practice is usually self seeking so called ” right to choose”. If you are going to go against abortion, to be consistent you must go against Calvinist election and God’s alleged right to choose those not to be saved.
What's missing in this assessment is the complete difference between a mortal person choosing who lives and dies and the Creator God choosing who lives and dies. There is a great immorality in a human choosing which other humans live or die, but God has that right because He is the Creator.
I can’t find this alleged God’s choice anywhere in the Bible, what I see all the way through the Bible is God urging and pleading with us to make the choice to relate to Him.
Nowhere in the Bible?
John 6:44 (NASB95)
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
Romans 9:15 (NASB95)
For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
Romans 9:18 (NASB95)
So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
The other puzzle I have about Calvinist doctrine is this idea that the unelect/ unsaved are suffering God’s wrath, when God has decided before they ever existed that they would be unelect/unsaved, How can God have wrath against someone before they ever came into being, before they said or did anything. The Bible clearly states that God’s wrath is against people because of their thoughts and deeds. Calvinist election is illogical and sounds unjust and cruel, God deciding beforehand who He is going to be against or for, without conditions, that’s rubbish, the Bible clearly states the conditions.
I am not aware of any Calvinistic doctrine that states God is already wrathful at the non-elect before they are ever born. If He is, it is because He is outside of time and the sins we commit in time, He already knows about and is experiencing the anger He has against them. Let's also remember just because something "sounds" a certain way is by no means a marker for whether it is Biblical or not.
Does Jesus love all the little children, He must , because Jesus said, ” God so loved the world,” which would be everyone including children. Jesus certainly never said ” God so loved His own glory ”
God does love the world, and He does love children. Yet how he does this yet is fully committed to His glory are not competing ideas, but complementary ones.
Sorry if I sound a bit strident, but I will contend for the character of God who is Love, not to be misrepresented.
No apology needed. These are important issues that we all feel strongly about. My conviction is that we cannot let our emotions or our preconceptions of God determine what truth is. We must let the Bible, the whole Bible, every verse, be the standard by which we frame our thoughts of God, His love, and His choice.