Aug 29, 2012

Why The Difference?

"For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"  (I Cor. 4: 7 KJV)

This verse was the subject of a minor debate that I had with Peter Lumpkins of  See herehere, here, and here.  Peter objected to my use of this passage to prove the essential elements of Calvinism and of the doctrine of unconditional election.  He at first stated that this verse was not made use of by Calvinists to prove such and yet I offered numerous Calvinistic authors to show otherwise, beginning with Augustine.  Peter never retracted his false charge, however. 

Peter objected to applying this verse to salvation.  I responded by asking "why?"  Why would Peter object to the verse affirming that it is God who makes one to differ from another in the context of salvation?  Is it not because he denies that God is the one who makes the difference?  Is it not the foundation of Arminianism to affirm that the sinner, by his use of his free will, makes himself to differ? 

"But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel."  (Exo. 11: 7)

Certainly the difference that existed, in the eyes of God, between the Egyptians and the Israelites was owing to God's sovereign will and choice.  Who can deny that this is so in the context of being true Israelites, truly elect?  If God's choice of a sinner to salvation is determined by which sinners do this or that thing, then the ultimate difference is not made by God but by the sinners themselves.  Thus, sinners may claim that they had made the difference, and not God.  This is the chief error of Arminianism and conditional election.  It gives sinners reason to boast. 


Jason Brown said...

I enjoyed the post, brother Garrett, and your recent series on the implications of hamartia. Fruitful study.

The Arminian notion of prevenient grace establishes indeed that men must bring something to a resistible grace, which logically necessitates a locus of righteousness apart from grace in those who respond and those who do not.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Brother Jason:

I appreciate your approval. But, I would also add that this is true with conversion as well as with regeneration, a truth that is denied by "Primitive Baptists" today. They do not believe that God makes the difference as regards their conversion or "time salvation."

God makes the difference in every aspect of our salvation.

As you can see, I have been busy with writings here and have not had time to write for the Old Baptist blog. Hopefully, that will change in the future.

I am glad that we have gotten to know each other and I commend you for your willingness to challenge today's Hardshells regarding their deparatures from the Old Baptist faith.



Jason Brown said...

I have enjoyed our debate correspondence, brother Garrett, and hope the Lord blesses you in your study and defense of the doctrines of grace.

I agree that any that argue that conversion is not a work of God have obviously not considered the implications of 2 Peter 1:3, as God is the author of all things that pertain to life and godliness in the lives of His children, which plainly must encompass gospel faith.

However, though God makes the difference in all aspects of salvation, God does not sanctify His children equally, manifestly, as the thief on the cross proves. Even contrasting Old and New testament saints, it is clear that God blesses some with a greater clarity of gospel truth than others.

I know you've been busy, and look forward to future dialogue. I've listened to your debates - your recent one is up on the 46th Street CoC website, by the way.

Kevin Fralick said...

Brother Stephen,

I love the God-honoring comments of Gill on this passage:

"...but the grand distinction God has made among men, lies in his special, distinguishing, and everlasting love to some, and not others; in his choice of them in Christ unto everlasting salvation; in the gift of them to Christ in the eternal covenant; in the redemption of them by his blood; in his powerful and prevalent intercession for them; in God's effectual calling of them by his grace; in his resurrection of them from the dead to everlasting life, placing them at Christ's right hand, and their entrance into everlasting glory; when the distinction will be kept up, as in the above instances, throughout the endless ages of eternity; all which is owing, not to anything of man's, but to the free grace, sovereign will, and good pleasure of God."

This passage certainly should be traced up to the fountainhead of God's eternal purpose.