Contend Earnestly: Refutation of Dr. John Goetsch - Irresistible Grace

Monday, February 26, 2007

Refutation of Dr. John Goetsch - Irresistible Grace

As we have gone through this refutation we have seen the misrepresentation and also the mishandling of some key texts involved with the Doctrines of Grace, or more popularly known as Calvinism. At this point, we come to the doctrine of Irresistible Grace or better named: Efficacious Grace. This, for me, was the easiest and most fluent point coming from the other three points of Calvinism. As we read Dr. Goetsch though, he again does nothing, in my humble opinion, to add to the discussion but just lists some verses and says, “See! It’s obvious!”

We must understand that as we interpret Scripture we must interpret it as a whole and not just in the funnel of a couple of passages and then overlook some definitive passages on the subjects at hand. If one is to take the verses that Dr. Goetsch lists below and say they are obvious then they also must take the verses that I will engage and exegete and give Scriptural exegesis on how they all fit together without separating from the whole. This is my main argument against Arminianism, that I cannot thoroughly refute here, that it does not take all of Scripture but ignores some to prove a system.

As we should see in this section, if I have done a good enough job in showing Scriptural proof of the first three points, Efficacious Grace is the outcome of the first three points.

Efficacious Grace flows because of the following:

- if man is totally depraved, continually doing evil, without searching for God
- if God chooses, before the foundation of the world, a select group of people by the determination and counsel of only His holy will and nothing else, and;
- if Christ then died for only the elect and not those who were in and going to be in hell, then; It only makes sense that God would irresistibly draw the elect to Himself. Why would God choose someone before the foundation of the world, allow His Son to die on the cross for their sins and then not be able to draw this person to Himself?

Is this not the Creator of heaven and earth, the Creator of man and animal, failing those He sovereignly chose? This is the same God that spoke through Moses to His people in Deut 31:6

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

But, this A=B scenario is not good enough for the babe or mature Christian, so, we must look to Scripture to find our guidance on the subject. But, first comes the refutation of Dr. Goetsch on this particular point.

The first set of Scripture that Dr. Goetsch turns to is Proverbs 1:22-24 which states:

“How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge? Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;"

What is interesting is that we see right from the start who God is talking to here in this passage of Scripture, which by the way is speaking of wisdom in the entire first chapter of Proverbs. So, follow me here. God is speaking about HIS wisdom here and is talking to “naïve ones” in the first of this short passage in verse 22. He is speaking to those who will never turn and who will never listen. He is speaking to those who have been “passed over;” the reprobate. They are naïve and will never learn from God the wisdom that only comes from Him. Look to John 6:45

“It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me’

Notice that EVERYONE who has heard and learned from the Father, does what? Comes. Not sometimes, not almost every time, but this is a definitive statement: all will come to Me. Who comes? Those who have heard and learned from the Father. So who are those that haven’t heard and learned from the Father? The naïve ones spoken of in Proverbs 1:22-24. What is interesting about this passage is that God doesn’t feel sorry for these people in the slightest, for in verse 26 in the same chapter it states this:

I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes

We also learn in Isaiah 66 at the end of the chapter that those in heaven will come to watch the bodies of those who refused God, burn and be eaten by the worm that will never die. This seems cold and heartless but this is the fate of those who turn a deaf ear.

The mistake that Dr. Goetsch then makes is that he states the following based on Proverbs 1:

God was pleading with the nation. He was pleading with the people. He was saying, “ I have done everything that I know to do to bring you to Myself, but you would not.”

Sorry to say, but God doesn’t say this at all anywhere in Scripture, EVER. Where does Dr. Goetsch find this in our text? This is simply a classic look at eisegesis; adding your interpretation to Scripture instead of letting the text speak for itself. We actually find the opposite true in Scripture. We find that God does NOT do everything in His power for the reprobate. Take a look at this open and shut passage:
Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. “Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. “Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”

Matthew 11:20-24

Did you catch that? Jesus Christ just said that the Father’s perfect knowledge knew that if certain miracles were done in Tyre and Sidon that they would have repented! So, if this is true, why didn’t God do those miracles so that they would repent? Simply put, these people were not chosen to be saved. We don’t know the secret will of God, nor do we pretend to, but we do know that if God is omniscient then He knows exactly what we need to “see” or “experience” (which is always the word of God according to Romans 10:17) to be saved, and for those who are His elect He reveals, and for those He does not choose, He withholds.

God sends that chosen one to church that Sunday to hear the preacher cry out, “Repent! For your day is near” and that is exactly what that chosen one does; he repents. But guess what? There is also, in that same congregation, one that hears the very same message, by the very same pastor, with the very same passion, that turns their heart even more cold by denying the message and calling the message foolish (Heb 3:15). This person is the one who is reprobate and does not have the Holy Spirit opening his heart to the ways of the Saviour. Why? God’s ways are higher than our ways.

Dr. Goetsch then goes on to show Isaiah 65:12; Jeremiah 7:13; Matthew 22:3; John 5:40 which all point to God calling for repentance and man refusing. Why wouldn't they refuse? They are all totally depraved and think the things of God to be foolishness (1 Corinthians 2:14). They are blinded by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and do no good and don't fear God (Romans 3). Dr. Goetsch, on the other hand, says that this is clearly God doing all He can but man being able to refuse that calling. We Calvinist don’t deny that God calls everyone to repentance, but there is a general call and a specific or special call. The general call is shown in all those above mentioned verses. It is also shown in Romans 1 where God is said to show all His invisible attributes in creation. But notice why these verses are all given: to show the sinner is fully responsible for their sin and they are the reason they are going to hell. I do believe the Scripture when it says, “Many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14).”

The sinner is the only one that sends himself to hell and it because they hardened their heart and turned from God. They, because of their sin, chose evil all the days of their lives and did not choose God. They will pay for their sin in hell forever because of this bondage in sin that they chose. Many say, “Wait, they didn’t really have a choice if God is the only one who can make them choose good!” We must think another way: If it wasn’t for God, none of us would choose good, so praise God that out of His goodness He chose some to escape hell and didn’t leave us all where we deserve: in sin. This discussion is better left for another time as we focus our attention on efficacious grace. If you want a good illustration of this point go to Jeremiah 25 where God says that HE sends Babylon to bring judgment to Judah and that in the end Babylon will be judged for their sin. This doesn’t sound fair if God is the one doing the determining how can Babylon be punished for something that God foreordained and determined? Left in our sin, we will sin endlessly and care not about the things of God.

As I stated at the beginning of this post it comes down to the belief of the first three points of the doctrines of Grace: total depravity, unconditional election and limited atonement. The main focus of my attention will be placed in John 6 for this ending part of this post.

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. “It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me."
John 6:37,44,45

Notice these references. Christ says that “all,” or every single person, that God gives Christ, or the elect, will come to Me (Christ). This is definitive, there are no outs, there are no times when these people will not come, this grace that is shown these gifts from the Father to Christ is irresistible. If we could resist God that would mean that God intended to give Christ a gift (a person) but didn’t have the power to carry out that gift. Does this not fly in face of God’s omnipotence? Isn’t God all powerful? Did not Job state in Job 42:2

“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. "

Would not a person, the gift, which is to be given from the Father to the Son, would not this person be a “purpose of God” mentioned in Job 42? If so, then how can God’s plan to give this gift be thwarted, even by the person themselves resisting that grace? The answer lies in John 6: They can’t thwart God’s plan! They, or better put, we, cannot resist God’s drawing, it is irresistible. Most say, “well, if Paul refused God on the road to Damascus, God would have just used someone else.” No! Paul is apart of God’s plan, not just the preaching to the Gentiles. People get this so mixed up, as if God doesn’t care about the specifics. If God wants a tribe in Africa to come to Him in the year 2010, He not only has the specific tribe in mind but He has the specific person that will preach to that tribe! They are all apart of God’s purpose. So, if this “so-called preacher” is not a believer as of 2007, that preacher will be saved by the year 2010, and will hear the call to Africa to that tribe so that God’s purpose will stand. All of God’s plan, all of it, not one “jot or tittle” will go be removed.

We do notice in John 6:44,45 that there are some things that happen to make it irresistible and these are the drawing of the Father and the hearing and learning from the Father. These must happen, and this is called specific or special revelation, and only is given to the elect. And every single one of them, all of them, will come to God. If God’s grace is resistible then what Jesus says in John 6 is a complete fabrication and should have put some “outs” for those who could deny the drawing. But there isn’t. I know that sounds strong but there is no way around Christ’s words. Either all will come or not; you can’t have it both ways. So either there is a general revelation and a special revelation or there is just one revelation to all man kind. The Calvinist says there has to be two kinds of revelation because we see that some can resist God’s “call” but this is not the special revelation mentioned in John 6. The non-Calvinist states that there is only one call so man can resist. But how do they come to grips with John 6 that says that “all” will come that has heard and learned of the Father?

There has to be two types of revelation, or John 6 makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Those who deny Efficacious Grace show a God that is sitting in heaven hoping that His plans of salvation come true. Hope that those He chose, will indeed choose. Simply put, could have Jeremiah, Moses, Noah, David or Abraham resisted absolutely God’s call? If so, God’s plan could have been thwarted and when God said that He foreknew Jeremiah this was just a, “well, I thought I foreknew you and I am glad that you chose Me or I would have gone another way!” That is not the God that I serve. The God of the Bible states:

The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD;
He turns it wherever He wishes.
Proverbs 21:1

And they observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had caused them to rejoice, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them to encourage them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
Ezra 6:22

The God of the Bible is in complete control and nothing can thwart the great El Shaddai, the Lord of Hosts, the Almighty Yahweh.

This includes drawing perfectly His chosen elect whom will worship Him forever in the presence of the Prince of Peace.


Related Posts with Thumbnails