Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Does Jesus cry crocodile tears?

According to John Wesley, if Calvinism is true, he does:

This premised, let it be observed, that this doctrine represents our blessed Lord, "Jesus Christ the righteous," "the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth," as an hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity. For it cannot be denied, that he everywhere speaks as if he was willing that all men should be saved. Therefore, to say he was not willing that all men should be saved, is to represent him as a mere hypocrite and dissembler. It cannot be denied that the gracious words which came out of his mouth are full of invitations to all sinners. To say, then, he did not intend to save all sinners, is to represent him as a gross deceiver of the people. You cannot deny that he says, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden." If, then, you say he calls those that cannot come; those whom he knows to be unable to come; those whom he can make able to come, but will not; how is it possible to describe greater insincerity? You represent him as mocking his helpless creatures, by offering what he never intends to give. You describe him as saying one thing, and meaning another; as pretending the love which his had not. Him, in "whose mouth was no guile," you make full of deceit, void of common sincerity; -- then especially, when, drawing nigh the city, He wept over it, and said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, -- and ye would not;" EthelEsa -- kai ouk EthelEsate. Now, if you say, they would, but he would not, you represent him (which who could hear?) as weeping crocodiles' tears; weeping over the prey which himself had doomed to destruction!


Darek Barefoot said...

In the Bondage of the Will Luther, commenting on Jesus weeping over Jerusalem as I recall, proposed two "wills" in God: his revealed will that all men repent and be saved and another will, inscrutable to all but himself, that some be saved and some be lost. At the time, I was repelled by this travesty of reasoning according to which God has opposing wills.

I still find _The Bondage of the Will_ tendentious and unbalanced biblically. However, reflecting much later I saw that in a certain way Luther had a point. If God has the power to graciously grant his creatures choice, then this results in a kind of opposed will. God really does want all to repent, yet he also wants all to make a choice that he knows will result in some refusing to repent.

God makes men willing. Amen. But how do you "make" someone do something willingly except by enabling them to choose to do it? But by the same means you "make" some unwilling (John 15:22). I think that the granting of choice (Josh 24:15; Rev 22:17) as God's way of choosing is deeply mysterious (Phil 3:12). Calvinists, or at least some of them, think that if choice is genuine the creature gets God's glory. I just don't see that (Luke 17:10). But I also sense that choice is in its own way so unfathomable that I'm not about to get as cocky as Wesley.

Ilíon said...

Darek Barefoot: "Calvinists, or at least some of them, think that if choice is genuine the creature gets God's glory."

If I may be pardoned for quoting myself: "The foundations of Calvinism include the fundamental error of denying the reality of human moral agency (i.e. "free will"). Calvinist falsely believe that if we are indeed free then God is diminished.

To put it bluntly (and, one hopes, thereby induce someone to stop and actually think about the content and meaning of his beliefs), the Calvinists are so concerned to uphold God's honor (as though we even can do that!) as the
Sovereign Lord that they essential call him a liar (on top of calling hin unjust); for they effectively deny that we are made in his image."

Ilíon said...

oops, too bad I didn't correct the spelling errors (dropped letters) in that quite.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing this up Victor. A major problem that I have with theological determinism, calvinism, claiming that God predetermines all events, is their “two wills of God doctrine.”

God has one will, the **secret** and sovereign will which is behind the scenes but predetermines every outcome that makes up actual history. Then there is God’s **expressed** will in scripture where He tells us to do and not do certain things. The problem is that He says one thing in His revealed will in scripture but then predetermines another thing by his “secret will” that predetermines and encompasses all events.

For example, in line with what you have been poking at: God says in scripture that He loves the world and desires the salvation of all and takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He also says in the bible that Jesus died for the sins of the world. But according to the calvinistic secret will, what is actually the case is that He only wants to save a preselected few and He wants to reprobate, damn the vast majority of the human race. So what He says in the bible really isn’t the story that He is actually bringing to pass.

You cited Wesley on the Matthew 23 passage. Wesley saw this same problem clearly. So Jesus’ tears for Jerusalem were “crocodile tears” because while Jesus and the bible reveals that He loved the Jewish people and truly wanted them to repent of their sins and turn to Him (that is the expressed will of God in scripture), but in reality, according to the secret will, He willed and predetermined their unbelief and their rejection of Him. No wonder Wesley was aghast at this theology. The theology and secret will end up contradicting the revealed will as Wesley pointed out in the quote you shared.

He tells believers in the bible to love our neighbors and be gentle in our dealings with nonbelievers, and yet He has no intention of saving these folks that he has reprobated and He has less love for the nonbelievers then we do as He is damning most of them for His own glory and pleasure (check out Jonathan Edwards on this as he has a sermon in which he argues for the goodness of reprobation of people for the sake of God’s glory). If you want to see what the secret will is, just look at whatever happens. Everything that happens, happens according to the secret will, so whatever happens was predetermined to happen. And of course whatever happens is all done for His glory according to the calvinist, even when those events include some awful evils and suffering.


Edwardtbabinski said...



Both Luther and Calvin taught that after the Fall, "free" will is just a word.

It's God who decides to either bestow grace [literally, "divine favor"] on an individual or not. No one can "choose" Him. No one can "choose" to have "faith," as even Paul in Ephesians admits. God chooses those whom he will, i.e., gives his elect the divine favor to have faith "and that not of ouselves" [Ephesians].

That's Calvinism in a nutshell.

IF you focus on the verses mentioning "the elect" and the "predestination" and giving of "grace" to whom He will, and God "giving" people to Jesus, then you are a Calvinist...

and THEN you simply have to spend time EXPLAINING AWAY the other verses that show God begging or inviting people to come to Him or follow His will.

There are methods of EXPLAINING AWAY those other verses.

Meanwhile if you are an Arminian or an Open Theist (the most radical of Arminians)l, you start by focusing on DIFFERENT VERSES, and then EXPLAIN AWAY the OTHER verses, the Calvinist ones.

So you pays your money and makes your choice, and then despise those who choose differently.

One side winds up believing they were predestined to believe in predestination, while the other side winds up believing in free will of their own free will.