Let's Think Through This Together

     If you haven't figured it out yet...I am unapologetic in my  Calvinism.  If I were to raise one objection it would be with the application of the name Calvin.  I suppose Augustinian would be a better fit.  If I were trying to be especially provocative, then I would call myself Pauline.  I think that could be a step too far for this venue.  I digress.
     To avoid provocation and to bring some clarity to the issues I hope to raise, I will use the term monergist.  When I use the word monergist, I mean that when it comes to the atonement, I consider it a complete work of God.  I was dead in my sins.  I could not come to faith in Christ without a supernatural work on God's part.  I remain secure in the family of God, not by how hard I follow after him, but in how secure he holds me. 
     Monergy gets a bad name when it comes to evangelism.  I wanted to address some of that in this post.  Monergist believe (along with Paul....sorry I will try not to do that again) God has called a people to himself before the foundation of the world.  Some would argue that if God has already elected his people, then we have no need to evangelize.  I wanted to take a minute to point out a few reasons why that is not a legitimate argument.
     Follow along with me for a moment.  God has called a people to himself from the foundations of the world.  One of the ways that his "effectual call" extends to his elect, is through the preaching of the Gospel.  Our obedience to his commandment in the Great Commission is one of the means he calls his people to himself.  We proclaim the gospel to all people, and those to whom God has prepared repent and believe.  This should be a relief to the timid disciple.  God has never asked anyone to be the most eloquent preacher.  God only asks that we are obedient in sharing the gospel.  God will do the rest.  We should never compare ourselves to a Billy Graham or George Whitfield, because God still did all the work.  Even if they had a silver tongue, that was still a gracious gift of the spirit.  Each of the lives changed through their ministry was really changed by an internal work of the Holy Spirit.  God took each of their hearts of stone and gave them a heart of flesh.
     I have found that monergy has lead to an exceptional humility.  If I am honest with myself, then I really have nothing to hold over anyone.  I didn't find Jesus, he found me.  Even my good deeds are not my own.  I am not a Christian because I had a single thing to offer the kingdom.  Were it not for the unconditional election of God, then I would be right in the gutter with everyone else. 
     When I meet unbelievers, I should keep in mind that they are dead in their tresspasses and sins.  Without the regeneration of the Spirit, they will act in accordance to their own fallen nature.  This does not absolve them from moral responsibility for their actions, but my interactions should be informed and guided by this understanding.  It would be tempting to pray that they would abandon their sin, but shouldn't I plead with God to take their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh?  Wouldn't I be in just as dark a place had God not taken my heart of stone?  Shouldn't I extend grace rather than condemnation?
     I have kind of become a theology snob.  I heard a worship song recently.  The song was fine, but the preacher made me crazy.  (He is a friend so I can do this!)  I had this squirmy feeling that he was emphasizing the wrong part of the song.  The song stated something about being called by name and running out of the grave.  Taken in that order this song should gain a monergist seal of approval.  Preacher, don't tell me about when I ran out of that grave!  He called me.  He called me by name!  That is the craziest part of the whole story.  I know who I am, but he called ME.  He called me by name.  It makes me think about the raising of Lazarus.  Lazarus was dead for days.  It is interesting that he stayed in the tomb all that time.  It wasn't until Jesus called him by name, that he shuffled his way out of the grave.  When I was dead in my sin, I could not move toward God.  After God called me and gave me a heart of flesh, then I came running out of that tomb.  Don't bury the headline!  God called me by name!  That is the good news!
     If I am elect before the foundations of the world and I am eternally secure, then why am I so scared to take the Gospel to the darkest places?  I am held by God, and not the other way around.  I have always been frustrated by Christians that are so caught up with being holy.  Someone said that some Christians are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.  If the only people we ever kick with are already in the kingdom, then how do we keep the great commission? 
     How can I know who is a part of God's elect?  That was a trick question.  I can't.  This side of glory, I can not know who are God's elect.  How do I navigate that?  Live the gospel, share the gospel, God will do the rest. 


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