ONLY SOME ARE ELECT? I DON’T THINK SO.

Calvinism is a doctrine that evolved from John Calvin’s work in the Reformation. A most important part of that teaching is the idea that Christ died only for the elect- those chosen by God even before creation to be saved while the rest are left to their deserved punishment in hell.

That might seem reasonable for a beneficent dictator and demiurge. But that is not the loving action of the intimate and involved God who so loved ‘the world’ that he gave his only Son to die to remove the barrier of sin from creation.

See, the Calvinist types don’t ever want to contemplate that Christ wasted a single drop of blood or iota of atonement.

So let’s go to the video. 1John 2:2

Christ is the one whose death removes our sin and not ours only but the sin of the world. Or as the Message version has it, “When Christ served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good- not only ours, but the whole world’s.

 The Calvinists believe, and I do as well, that if Christ literally removed, pays for and atones for any sin, then the Grace of God is operative in that person and wherever grace is operative, faith, at some level is established. So indeed the whole world has been effectively changed to be able to trust that God both exists and loves his whole creation.

John 1:29 ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’

Christ, before he died, said that when he would be crucified he would draw all people to himself. (See John 12).

Now I realize that there are verses in the Bible that would indicate other than what I have just written. Let’s read all of them and get the grand picture. The panorama of God’s grace is such that I believe God will find a way to bring all creation back to himself. And it will be done with justice and above all with love.

So if you are reading this and have been somewhat unconscious to this reality, please let your heart and mind be awakened to what the love of God means for you.

That is another taste of what some call Christian Universalism.

Why Tell Anybody About Jesus

So I was asking myself the question, ‘Why tell others about Jesus?’ Why not just leave people alone to their own beliefs or lack thereof? Then I thought, “Why did Jesus tell his disciples to go and train other people to be disciples?’ Was it to propagate a new philosophy of life? Was it to keep everyone from going to hell because that’s not a very attractive way of love or grace? I rather think that Jesus wanted people to follow him, trust him, and place their confidence in him for all the positive reasons. Consider the following:

  1. He believed himself sent from God, embodying God to reveal the fullest picture of who God is, clearer than anyone had ever portrayed God.
  1. He was offering people a way to life. He, the author of life, knew exactly the way life could best be lived, not be external acts or ceremonies but by a heart formed in Godly love.
  1. He wanted people to know how to live each day according to what was most real, ‘THE KINGDOM OF GOD’.
  1. In the most positive sense he wanted us to know that through his ultimate sacrifice, one of justice and love that our sins, our separation from God was forgiven, that God himself was paying the price we should have had to pay for rebellion against a just God.
  1. Jesus came as the epitome of the new creation that God was initiating to bring all things together in a final wonderful way starting with this present creation and finishing with a new heaven and new earth, a re-creation of all that was God.
  1. Jesus promised hope not for this life only but for eternity. His resurrection is the validation of all that is to be new.
  1. Jesus is the perfect Jew chose to complete the Abrahamic Covenant to bless the WHOLE world.
  1. Jesus came to make sure that we knew just how much God loves the brokenhearted, the downtrodden, the lost, and the marginalized.
  1. Jesus came to bring us freedom. Guilt and shame are gone. People were rescued from the false promises and power of idols.

Take for example a man whose life was controlled by his addiction to alcohol and he, through the 12-step program, is released from that idol. He wants to share with others that message, not to beat them over the head but to share what is REAL, what WORKS, what is GOOD.

And because Jesus lives He knows each one of us, what sorrows, sins, hurts, joys and He promises to be with us forever.

So these and I am sure many other reasons are good motivation for sharing the Good News, sharing not shoving. May God help us to be faithful to Christ as we do so.