Only The Elect are Lost; The Reprobate are Not
Only The Elect are Lost – The Reprobate are Not
Elect, Can you Solve this Riddle?
I assume you already know that the Reformed fraternity is celebrating the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth on 10 July 1509 this year. You don’t? Well, then it’s about time you dust off the cobwebs from your history books.
First off, I must warn you that this is a Calvinistic riddle and they are usually tougher than a genuine South African Boere-toffee. Those of you who do not know the real meaning of the words ‘world, whomsoever, and all men’, should not even try to solve the riddle and rather bow out right now.
OK! Let’s set the scene with a few very potent quotes from the lips of some of the most famous and distinguished Calvinists.
Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an invidious charge admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobated (Bernard. in Die Ascensionis, Serm. 2).
This they do ignorantly and childishly since there could be no election without its opposite, reprobation. God is said to set apart those whom he adopts for salvation.
It were most absurd to say, that he admits others fortuitously, or that they by their industry acquire what election alone confers on a few.
Those, therefore, whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children (John Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion Book 3, Chapter 23, Sec. 2226)
Scripture clearly proves that God by his eternal and immutable counsel determined once for all those whom it was his pleasure one day to admit to salvation, and those whom, on the other hand, it was his pleasure to doom to destruction. – (John Calvin: Institutes oof the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 7, Sec. 2210)
For he is speaking of the greatness of God, whose pleasure it is to inflict punishment on fools and transgressors though he is not pleased to bestow his Spirit upon them. It is a monstrous infatuation in men to seek to subject that which has no bounds to the little measure of their reason.
Paul gives the name of elect to the angels who maintained their integrity. If their steadfastness was owing to the good pleasure of God, the revolt of the others proves that they were abandoned. Of this no other cause can be adduced than reprobation, which is hidden in the secret counsel of God. (John Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion Book 3, Chapter 23, Sec. 2229)
Now, since the arrangement of all things is in the hand of God, since to him belongs the disposal of life and death, he arranges all things by his sovereign counsel, in such a way that individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction. (John Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Sec. 2231) (Emphasis added)
God, according to the good pleasure of his will, without any regard to merit, elects those whom he chooses for sons, while he rejects and reprobates others . . . it is right for him to show by punishing that he is a just judge . . .
The Lord therefore may show favor to whom he will, because he is merciful; not show it to all, because he is a just judge. (John Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Faith, Book 3, Chapter 23, Section 2234) (Emphasis added).
I am particularly thrilled, enthralled, fascinated and spellbound by Calvin’s vast knowledge of God’s Word. I would never have picked up the part in Scripture which says, ‘it pleased God to exclude the reprobate from the inheritance which he predestined to his children’ if I hadn’t been enlightened by John Calvin’s brilliant insights and Institutes.
I’m not much of a Berean, but I really try to check out the things I hear from the lips of people who are most esteemed by other much esteemed scholars in divinity. I searched the Scriptures and came upon the following passages that don’t seem to gel with John Calvin’s view of God being pleased to exclude the reprobates . . . blah . . . blah . . . blah. Let’s see what they say.
Ezekiel 18:32 ‘For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,’ declares the Lord God. ‘Therefore, repent and live.’
Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’ (Emphasis added)
Now! Is there anybody out there somewhere who could point out the liar to me? Calvin said it pleases God to send the reprobate (the irretrievably wicked) to hell while God Himself says He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Someone is lying and I’m pretty sure it cannot be God who said:
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man [such as John Calvin], that He should lie, . . .
Wow! Imagine that. God never tells a lie; He always tells the truth because He is God, the Way, God the Truth and God the Life. There is no shadow of turning in Him (James 1:17). That’s it! Capiche? If God always tells the truth, where do lies come from? Where do they originate? Let’s do the right thing and turn to God who never tells a lie to find out where lies come from. God says:
John 8:44-45 He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. ‘But because?? I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.’
Do you see the problem here? Once you fail to see that Jesus speaks the truth you begin to fall prey to the lies of the father of all lies, Satan himself. Some may ask of me: ‘How dare you suggest that John Calvin, one of the greatest reformers in the history of the church was a liar? Blasphemy! Blasphemy!’
No, no, no, no, my friend, whoever you may be, I am not suggesting that John Calvin was a liar. I’m proving that God who is no liar said something totally different from what John Calvin claimed He said. I am merely juxtaposing God’s words with those of Calvin and making a reasonable choice.
If God speaks the truth, then follow Him but if Calvin speaks the truth, then follow him. You cannot have it both ways. Either you believe God who says that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked or you believe Calvin who said that God is pleased to exclude the reprobate from the inheritance which he predestined to his children.
However, bear in mind that if you choose to believe John Calvin’s doctrine of predestination you are actually making God a liar. And please don’t tell me that I do not understand what Calvin said in the above quote from his Institutes.
Ah! But even when you quote Calvin word for word our dear Calvinist friends would still accuse you of misunderstanding him. If Calvinism is the purist expression of the Bible and if the Bible is not an obscure book, why must Calvinism be so esoteric?
Here are a few more quotes from the elected and sanctified lips of a few elect.
Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners . . . The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, thereby guaranteeing their salvation (David N Steele and Curtis C Thomas, The Five Points of Calvinism (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. 196, 17) (Emphasis added)
This is called godly favouritism and partiality although Calvinists prefer to call it divine sovereignty. Once again we must determine who is the liar. Could it be God who said that He shows no favouritism whatsoever to anyone? (Romans 2:11) or is it our two distinguished elected favourites who have no qualms whatsoever to twist and turn and mutilate God’s Word?
The following statement by another favourite of God is a real humdinger.
If Jesus died for every person, but not every person is saved, His death did not actually save anybody . . . . If Christ died for people who will be in hell, His efforts cannot actually be called a ‘saving work’ [and] there is no real saving power in the blood. Rather, the power would seem to be in the will of the creature . . .
These points lie at the heart of the Christian message, for they rest at the foot of the cross. (Michael Scott Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, p. 89) (Emphasis added).
Since when is the efficaciousness and value of Jesus Christ’s blood determined by the amount of saved sinners, in this case every single person? The reasoning here is that if Christ died for all people but all people are not saved, then his blood sacrifice cannot be seen as a saving work. Such a scenario renders his blood sacrifice worthless an a complete failure.
Therefore, to make it effectual ‘all people’ must be saved, but it is not ‘all people’ in the sense of it being the entire world. It is ‘all people within the fold of the elect.’ Voila! All the elect who are and will be saved without exception give the blood of Jesus its efficaciousness and value.
Here’s another one of the elect’s bright and illumined ideas.
Because God has loved certain ones and not all, because He has sovereignly and immutably determined that these particular ones will be saved. He sent His Son to die for them, to save them, and not all the world. (Edwin H Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism (Baker Books, enlarged ed. 20th prtg, 1999, p. 50) (Emphasis added)
And now, at last, we come to the riddle which is tied up with Jesus’ words in Luke 19:10: ‘For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’ Please bear in mind that in the Calvinists’ world there are two groups of people: ‘the elect’ and ‘the reprobate’ and not ‘believers’ and ‘unbelievers’ as the Bible distinguishes between them.
As we’ve seen from the above quotes Jesus died on the cross for the elect only because they alone have been predestined before the foundation of the world to be saved monergistically. On the other hand, the reprobates have been chosen or elected by God, even before the foundation of the earth, to be cast into the lake of fire because Christ did not die for them.
He only died for the elect. If Jesus Christ came to seek and to save the ‘lost’ and only the elect are saved the obvious conclusion to make is that only the elect were/are lost.
Moreover, if the reprobate cannot be saved because they have been predestined to eternal damnation before the foundation of the world, Jesus did not come to seek and to save them and therefore one must conclude that they are not lost. Allow me to summarize it as follows.
- Jesus came to our world to seek and to save the lost.
- Only the elect are saved.
- Therefore, only the elect are lost and not the so-called reprobates.
- If the reprobates are not lost, simply because Jesus came to seek and save the lost (the elect only), it would mean (according to Calvinistic thinking) that every single reprobate will go to heaven because not a single one of them is lost.
The final question that needs to be answered is:
Are the reprobate lost? If your answer is in the affirmative, then you must agree that Jesus came to the earth to seek and to save them as well. If that is true, then Jesus actually died on the cross for them as well. If your answer is in the negative, then it confirms my assertion that only the elect are lost.
The 5 points of Calvnism, acronym: T.U.L.I.P.
- Total Depravity (or Total Inability and Original Sin)
- Unconditional Election
- Limited Atonement (or Particular Atonement)
- Irresistible Grace
- Perseverance of the Saints (known in the Word of Faith movement as ‘Once Saved Always Saved’)