Monday, August 20, 2012

Romans 9 Revisited; Non-Calvinist Views

We previously gave quotes by Traditionalists (also called non-Calvinists; Moderate Calvinists; Biblicists) on Romans 9, in particular Romans 9:13 concerning Jacob and Esau. The previous quotes were by Adrian Rogers, The New Bible Commentary: Revised, Norman Geisler, R. L. Sumner, Steve W. Lemke, Warren W. Wiersbe, and H. A. Ironside.

In short, Roman 9:13 is not speaking of personal salvation, but of God’s choosing one nation over another nation. There is no warrant in this passage to make it refer to whether an individual goes to Heaven or Hell.

Please check out the quotes at the previous post (Romans 9, Calvinism, Traditionalism).

Here are some additional quotes to ponder on Romans 9.

“High above human thought, beyond the scope of human sight, of the human mind, the Omnipotence and Omniscience is ruling, and his rule is supreme, and yet nobody is taken by the hair and dragged into Hell, and nobody is taken by the hair and dragged into Heaven, as he will show more particularly later.”
“The election of the Jewish nation looked to the salvation of the Jews and Gentiles that received the message of God, also the covenants, and the coming of Christ from them according to the flesh. That election looked through them to others and, so far as salvation in heaven is concerned, the Jews that believed were saved, and so far as other nations were concerned he quotes certain parts in Hosea and the Old Testament, the paragraph referring to the ingathering of the Gentiles: ‘I will call them my people which were not my people.’”
-B. H. Carroll, Interpretation of the English Bible, Romans 9. Carroll (AD 1843-1914) was the founding president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Carroll was pretty Calvinistic, but his above comments are noteworthy.

“But election in Romans 9:10-13 is not selection for eternal salvation or damnation. Rather, it is selection for the roles God has called individuals and nations to play in their earthly life.”
-The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, NT Editor Everett F. Harrison, Moody; 1962.

“That entire passage of Scripture we have just read [Romans 9:10-18] above does not even mention salvation. When God chose Isaac to be the head of the nation Israel instead of Ishmael, it was not a ‘matter of salvation.’ When God chose Jacob instead of Esau to have the birthright and the headship of the nation, it had nothing to do with salvation.”
-John R. Rice, Predestined For Hell? No!, Sword of the Lord; 1958. Rice was an influential independent Baptist author and evangelist.

“So by the examples of Moses and Pharaoh, Paul demonstrates that in His sovereignty God shows both mercy and justice - mercy where man’s free will makes it possible; justice where man’s free will makes it necessary. In both cases God acts in a manner true to His nature and without the counsel or consent of anyone outside Himself.”
“Salvation and glory are God’s will in election and predestination, but they are for those who through faith in Christ respond positively to God’s gracious offer.”
-Hershel H. Hobbs, Romans, Word Books; 1977. Hobbs is a past SBC president and chairman of the 1963 Baptist Faith & Message committee.

Concerning Romans 9:21-22, “Such a question demands a reasonable answer. Here Paul argues that the justice and grace of God are displayed in humans, both through the persistent unbeliever (whom he calls a vessel prepared for wrath) and through the believer (a vessel of mercy). Notice that Paul does not say God created one vessel for wrath and another for mercy. It says He endured the vessels of wrath that were prepared for destruction. The expression ‘fitted for destruction’ is in the Greek middle voice and should be interpreted ‘man fits himself for destruction.’”
-Woodrow Kroll, Romans: Righteousness in Christ, AMG Publishers; 2002. Editors Mal Couch & Ed Hindson.

“Paul goes back again into Jewish history and shows God in His sovereignty pardoning erring Israel (v. 14-15) and punishing erring Pharaoh (v. 16-18)…”
“Those marked for destruction are ‘fitted to destruction,’ but it is not stated that God so fitted them, as if God had prepared those vessels for wrath in contrast with those He prepared for mercy.
God does not create people in order to damn them. However, when people behave like Pharaoh, God so deals with them that the inbred wickedness reveals itself in such a way that they become fit objects for His punishment.”
-John Phillips, Exploring Romans, Kregel; 1969.

“Among modern scholars the list of those who see no individual predestination to eternal life or death [in Romans 9] is impressive.”
-John Piper, The Justification of God, Baker Books; 1983, 1996.
He goes on to say the list of scholars on the other side is just as impressive. As most know, Piper is a leading voice for strong 5-point Calvinists. My point here is that in contrast to some Calvinists who believe no one credible would disagree with the Calvinist interpretation of Romans 9, even Piper acknowledges the list of those who do is impressive.

“In the very next verse (Romans 9:22) Paul told of the great patience God showed toward those who deserve wrath. And in the following chapter he discussed the liberty and responsibility of human beings. God’s freedom operates within a moral framework. Human logic cannot harmonize divine sovereignty and human freedom, but both are clearly taught in Scripture. Neither should be adjusted to fit the parameters of the other. They form an antimony that by definition eludes our best attempts at explanation.”
“The grammatical structure of vv. 22-24 is difficult. The NIV has chosen to separate the final clause of v. 22 along with all of v. 23 from the narrative both before and after. As a result, v. 24 would explain that even believers were at one time ‘objects of wrath.’ Even though God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, those who turn to him in faith, both Jew and Gentile, find themselves called by God. Far from being an arbitrary despot, God allows those who believe to take their place as ‘objects of his mercy.’”
-Robert H. Mounce, Romans, New American Commentary, Broadman & Holman; 1995.

“It is important to remember that the preceding verses and illustrations do not deal with individual salvation or the origin of evil, and in like manner, neither do these [Romans 9:22-23]. They actually refer to the same thing, particularly to God’s dealing with Pharaoh. Therefore, the emphasis is upon God’s patience toward evil and rebellious sinners. God’s delay in exercising His wrath is not because of inability or unwillingness, as it might seem to some, but rather to make His power known.”
-Ronnie W. Rogers, Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist, Crossbooks; 2012. Rogers’ book has a good, fairly extensive study of Romans 9.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 20, AD 2012. 

Other Articles: 
Romans 9, Calvinism, Traditionalism
“A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.” 
Books on Calvinism, Predestination
2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America
Dr. Brad Reynolds' Book Recommendations on Alcohol
Traditional Baptists (Non-Calvinists) Of 1840
More articles in lower right margin.

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