Apparently my honest statement (in answer to a student’s honest question) that, if somehow it were revealed to me that God is as TULIP Calvinism says and as its good and necessary consequences imply, I would not worship that god, has stirred some people up to the point of questioning my salvation (and calling my religion humanistic).
I don’t know if this will help at all, but I will clarify my statement this way: IF it were revealed to me that God is as TULIP Calvinism says AND as he must logically be if all the good and necessary consequences of TULIP are true of him, I would not worship him.
I have been saying for a long time now that IF I WERE A CALVINIST I would have to believe things most Calvinists do not believe. Most Calvinists insist that God is good and loving and merciful and kind and faithful and reliable and gracious, etc. I think some of the things they believe about God’s sovereignty flatly contradict those characteristics.
I think those who object by calling into question my conversion or calling my religion “humanistic” are missing my point entirely. My point is that they, the TULIP Calvinists, are being inconsistent. They attribute to the true God, worthy of worship, characteristics and actions impossible for a good God. I will say that IF they drew out their doctrine of God’s sovereignty to its good and necessary conclusions (which they usually don’t) they would also not be able to worship that god. Somewhere a line would be crossed and they would realize that the god they are trying to believe in and worship is not good.
Now, they say something similar about me and other Arminians. They say that IF we believed in all the good and necessary consequences of our own doctrine of salvation we would find that we are Pelagians. In effect, they are saying that IF we Arminians drew our doctrine of salvation to its good and necessary consequences God would not be doing the saving at all. That would, then, be a different gospel.
I’ll just mention one example. John Piper has said publicly that Arminians “must say” that the cross did not save anyone but only gave people an opportunity to save themselves. But of course, no Arminian says that. What he means by “must say” is that IF we did what we don’t do, draw out and believe all the good and necessary consequences of what we do actually believe (e.g., universal atonement without universal salvation), we would have to believe we are saving ourselves. In other words, he is saying that our theology is on the precipice of heresy (his very words to me) even though we do not fall into heresy because of (here using Sproul’s words) our “felicitous inconsistency.” But surely Piper is saying that IF HE believed what Arminians believe he would have to go to the logical conclusion and believe we must save ourselves and that would not be the gospel and then he would not be a Christian.
It seems to me that people who don’t understand what I mean when I say that if I believed what Calvinists believe I could not worship God are missing the point. They need to start over and hear me clearly and consider what I really mean and not what they jumped to the conclusion that I mean. Or maybe for some of them this is all just too deep.