ExaminingCalvinism (EC) has a web page that acknowledges one typical Calvinistic complaint against those who claim that God desires and wants (not in a merely outward sense, but wholy and completely) the salvation of each and every person.
EC quotes Dr. White as saying: “…the Father can seek the salvation of each individual, the Son can die to secure it, and the Spirit come to bring conviction of sin, and yet the entire desire and work of the triune God collapse because of the unwillingness of the sovereign creature, man? Yes, this is indeed Mr. Hunt’s view, and I simply do not understand its appeal to the person who boasts only in the Lord.” (Debating Calvinism, p.332 [emphasis and reference thereto omitted])
EC then begins EC's response with a quotation from Mr. Hunt: “Only Calvinists would say that if His love is rejected, God fails.” (Debating Calvinism, p.332)
EC continues in EC's own words:
Only a Calvinist would be swayed to believe in a doctrine out of pure emotional “appeal.” For the Arminian, the only “appeal” is what the Bible says. God is sovereign and He can do whatever He wants. If God wanted to be the author of sin, and enact Deterministic Decrees, then, as God, He has full right to do so.
Let's examine the fundamental issue before taking apart EC's response.
The fundamental issues are this:
1) Is God's entire desire and work to save each and every human being?
The typical Anti-Calvinist's answer would be "yes" if the Anti-Calvinist will give a straight answer. More often then not, the Anti-Calvinist will hem and haw, seeking to avoid answering the question. One tactic is not to respond with a "yes" but simply to quote I Timothy 2:3-4 and 2 Corinthians 5:15 or I Timothy 2:5-6. The response to such quotation is: "is that a yes or a no"? After all, if we Calvinists agreed with the Anti-Calvinists regarding the sense of those passages, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
2) Does God's entire desire and work to save each and every human being result in the salvation of each and every human being?
The typical Anti-Calvinist's answer would be "no" if the Anti-Calvinist will give a straight answer. Here they are typically more willing to boldly deny universalism.
Conclusion: God's entire desire and work did not succeed, but failed (at least partially).
If an Anti-Calvinist answers questions one and two with "yes" and "no" respectively, then the conclusion logically follows. It is the enescapable logical conclusion.
As for EC's individual claims:
- "Only a Calvinist would be swayed to believe in a doctrine out of pure emotional “appeal.” "
As illustrated above, the issue is not "pure emotional 'appeal.'" Even if it were, both Calvinists and anti-Calvinists can (and sometimes are) unduly swayed by emotions.
Query: Is EC saying: "Yes God failed, but so what?"
- "For the Arminian, the only “appeal” is what the Bible says. "
It should be that way: but is a deity failing consistent with the clear Biblical teaching regarding God's omnipotence? If so, what the Bible says should make the anti-Calvinist question whether his understanding of the Bible is correct.
- "God is sovereign and He can do whatever He wants."
If the anti-Calvinist believes this, and the Anti-Calvinist believe that God does "want" in that sense to "do" the act of saving each and every person, then the result is universalism, not Arminianism or Huntism.
- "If God wanted to be the author of sin, and enact Deterministic Decrees, then, as God, He has full right to do so."
God enacted the Deterministic Decree that Christ be crucified. If that makes God the "author of sin" in EC's definition of the term, so be it. It does not make God the "author of sin" in the traditional sense of the term, or in any sense that matters.
Praise be to God who has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass,
One anonymous poster reponded:
To say that "God has failed" is looking at Arminianism through they eyes of a Calvin. When free-will is applied, it is not a matter of succeeding or failing. God desires all to be saved, and God always makes the first move. At that point, it is man's choice to accept or deny...So, it is not God who has failed, but man.
I am well aware of Arminian ideas of libertarian free will, and the Arminian idea of LFW does not change anything in the simple logical conclusion expressed above.
The question is: Does God succeed or fail in getting what He desires?
In a non-universalist anti-Calvinist world-view, the god who wants each and every person to be saved fails to get what he wants. WHY he fails to get what he wants is an important question (and it is one that is answered implicitly in the above objector's comments). The "WHY," however, is subservient to the "THAT."
This objector's works-salvation is showing itself: note how this objector indicates that God makes a first move and then it is man that fails or succeeds. That is a great definition of works-salvation. It is to be contrasted with a salvation in which God is both the author (first mover) and finisher (last mover) of our faith.
Praise be to the Author of our Salvation!