John 3:16 Conference Steve Lemke – Irresistible Grace

Desires to go forward in unity. Those these discussions are appropriate.

References Dordt and it being a response to the Remonstrance.

Reads some long quotes of God’s grace that man has not saving grace within himself, etc. that we can’t do anything that is good. All good deeds must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ.  Then, tells everyone that this was the Remonstrance and what the Calvinists were reacting against.

We should not confuse hyper-Calvinists and Calvinists just as we should not call Arminians pelagian.  We should all do better with these labels.

SBCer’s are not Pelagians nor Arminians and not particularly Calvinist.  We’re SBC.

So why were the the Dordtian’s so harsh towards the Remonstrance?  One of the main points was irresistible grace.

God’s grace must come before, during and after salvation.  So why is it that some don’t receive the grace of God?  The Remonstrance refused to blame God for it.  So they put the responsibility squarely on man.

Dordt – Cannot resist the Grace of God as He brings grace omnipotently to bend man’s will.

You can’t start with the I, but must start with the T which will lead you logically to the I.  The outward general call “never works” while the God works within that call to the elect that is irresistible.  The elect hear a “special call” though they didn’t come to be saved, God saves them anyways.

Calvinists don’t agree so it’s difficult for Lemke to have conversations with them.  Many Calvinists would rather not use the term irrisistable.  Calvinists like to put a “bow” on it and quotes Piper.  Irresistable grace never implies that God forces us against our will.

RC Sproul – Exegetical case out of John 6:44 and his study of the word “draw.”  Sproul says that draws is a violent word and it’s not a wooing.

Nathan Finn – At Building Bridges and how non-Calvinists misrepresent Calvinists and quoted Roy Fish.  The I in the TULIP means people have no other option, no choice.  Finn said this is a stereo-type.  Lemke jokes that irresistible means irresistible.

James White – No power in heaven or earth can stop God from doing even without our permission.

He says the Bible doesn’t say much about irresistible grace and gets a laugh.  He concludes that the Bible doesn’t say “Trinity” either.

Most used verse is Acts 7:51 for resistiable grace.  Always resisting the Holy Spirit.

Luke 7:30 where the Pharisees resisted the council of God.

He says Calvinists have anwers, but that the Jews were God’s chosen under a Covenant.  The Jews were the elect, but still resisted.  Jesus ministry shows a pattern not consistent with irresistible grace.

Matt. 23:37 and Luke 13:24 showing that people resisted and were not willing.  And not just the current generation, but many.  Rich young ruler turns away.  Jesus would have never suggested that it’s harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom if He were a Calvinist.  Jesus was suggesting that salvation was tied in some measure to our response to His calling.

Calvinists are helping the SBC to get a better grip on a regeneration church membership.

  • Parable of the two sons.  Distinction between the sons is that one repented and one resisted.
  • Parable of the vineyard.  Kingdom taken away and given to a nation producing His fruit showing those had to be willing to do the will of God.
  • Saul on Damascus.  Saul struggled and resisted. Lemke things the Holy Spirit had been working on Saul a while.

Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.  God is not willing that any should perish.

All means all and references that ALL Scripture is inspired and the recent SBC battles.  All things will be gathered and redeemed and not a partial redemption.

Matt. 7 – Whosoever – greek pas.  All.  Scripture constantly speaks of all inclusive invitations.

Peter’s answer was not to ask if you are elect or not, but to repent and believe.

Some Concerns

He said it would help some of them if we clearly differentiated from the others.

  1. Irresistible grace can lead to the denial of the need for conversion.  i.e. double predestination.  If we affirm Dordt we should know what we are affirming. When baptists go out of there way to organize with presbyterians and accept those who’ve not been baptized as believers it confused them.
  2. IG reverses the logical chain of salvation as presented in Scripture.

– Which comes first regeneration or faith?  Quotes Sproul that we are born again to believe.  Goes to the serpent text that all who look upon Him will have eternal life.  John 3:36 he who believes has live i.e. obedience and belief first then life.

– John 5:24, John 5:40 – Come first and then have life.

– John 6:51 – Must eat first.  John 6:54 – Eating, drinking first then life.

– John 11:25 – Believe then live.

– John 20:31 – Written so we may believe in Christ and have life. Belief then life.

– 1 John 5:1 – Who believes is born of God.

What comes first belief or Holy Spirit?

– John 7:38, Acts 2:38, John 4:6 – Believe first

What comes first repentance and faith or regeneration?

– Quotes Boettner that a man is saved then believes.

– John 20:31 – Believe and have life.

Practical questions

– Logically prior, but simultaneous.  But think about your own conversion experience.  If someone gets regenerated on a Wed., but doesn’t hear the Gospel until Sunday to get saved.  How do you go from regeneration to salvation.  Mentions CS Lewis that it took him a long time to be saved.  Can you be among the elect and not be saved.  Why go to church if a man is totally depraved?

3. IG goes against preaching the word in evangelism and missions.

– IG is different than what Romans 10 says where a preacher must be sent to tell the hearer.  Quotes Calvin that Romans 10 does not describe the effectual call.  Terrance Thiessen’s book Who Can Be Saved? says that people can be saved apart from the church and that other revelatory experiences can lead to salvation.  Folks can be saved without explicitly knowing Christ.  Unsaved will have one last opportunity to accept Christ upon death bed.

Issue of the well meant offer

– David Ingelsma – God has a will or sincere desire that all men hear the Gospel.  Dordt comes down on the side of the denial of the well meant offer.  And Dordt is in error.

– Hosea 11 – How can God give up and destroy those He loves.  The character of God is in sight here in that He was gracious and did not give up.

The disciples wanted to cease the throne and take over Israel.  Though Jesus’ plan wasn’t that of His disciples.  Jesus came to save all and this shows the Fathers true glory.


tagged as , , , , , in Arminianism,Baptist,calvinism,Church Issues,Gospel,Southern Baptist,theology

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Dr. James Willingham January 3, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Sirs: A friend of mine, a Mr. Spurgeon, and I were first introduced to the doctrines of grace at East Texas Baptist College in the Fall of 1958. In 1965-66 we met again at Lincoln University in MO. By that time I had come to believe that grace was irresistible and told him so. Mr. Spurgeon had not. He went out on visitation once and won a young lady to Christ. When he asked her why she responded so readily, she replied, “O, it was so wonderful that I could not resist it.” He said, “When she said that, What you had said popped into my mind.” I asked, “Well, have you changed your mind.” “No,” he replied, “but I am thinking about it” In 2002-3 (?) I spoke with him again (by phone). Once again, he said he was still thinking about it. In Jan. 2007 I called him, and he said, “Where have you been.” To make a long story short, he had changed his mind. O yes, some genealogy researcher of the family said he was some kin to C.G. Spurgeon. Now I believe Grace is Irresistible. IT IS SO WONDERFUL THAT NO ONE WOULD EVEN WANT TO RESIST IT, IF THEY COULD. My prayer is for a world wide awakening that takes every last soul in one generation. Mr. Spurgeon, Charles that is, in his Evening Devotions for Aug. 6 & Dec. 24 prayed for the whole world to be converted. Strange is it not that a limited atonement, irresistible grace believe like that Mr. Spurgeon should pray for and expect the whole world to be converted? Tell me how that can be? Hats off to Charles Haddon Spurgeon and his relative, one of our own Southern Baptist Preachers.


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