Saturday, June 13, 2015

An Example of Evangelical Irrationalism

It is no exaggeration to state that contradictory theological claims dominate the evangelical landscape today. In an article entitled Five Lies I Used to Believe About Being Christian, Tyler Speegle starts with a very sound affirmation regarding the Love of God for his people:
"But the truth is you don’t have to try to use your behavior to earn God’s love. He loves you despite your behavior." (Tyler Speegle)
I completely agree with this statement. The love of God for his chosen people is not based on anything found in them, neither is it based upon any actions they have ever taken, but is rather, in spite of the fact that they, in their natural state (Ephesians 2:3), are completely lacking either of those things (Romans 3:10-18). Had Speegle stopped there he would have done well. Instead he goes on to say...
"God’s love for you isn’t based on what you do or don’t do, it's based on His Son Jesus AND YOUR DECISION TO ACCEPT HIM" (Speegle)

Despite Your Behavior PROVIDED You Decide to Accept Him? Huh?

Wait a minute. This is a direct contradiction to the previous statement. If man's decision of acceptance is in any sense a basis for God's love for you, then God's love for you is unavoidably based on your behavior, irrespective of Speegle's claims to the contrary. One's "acceptance of him" is most certainly something that one "does or does not do" and so this statement not only flatly contradicts Speegle's first assertion, but also flatly contradicts itself. I am not being unnecessarily hyperbolic when I say that errors of this exact same form are so liberally peppered throughout the writings and sermons of most evangelicals as to make them utterly indigestible to those who have a modicum of discernment where salvation by sovereign grace is concerned (Titus 3:5).

The bible teaches that we love because he first loved us (I John 4:19). That means that God loved us before we "do or don't do" anything (Romans 9:11), and that undoubtedly includes any "decision to accept him" that is ever made. This observation makes it absolutely certain that no such "decision" could ever form the basis of God's love for us.

Furthermore, it is evident that there are those who do not love God (Romans 8:7). Are we to assume that they DO NOT love because God first loved them? Clearly not. Stated more plainly, if God's love for us is the determining factor in our love for God (I John 4:19), and some do not love God (Romans 8:7), then either God does not love them (Psalm 5:5), or God's love is not the determining factor in eternal salvation after all, even though the bible teaches us that it is.

This Double-Speak is Literally Everywhere in Modern Evangelicalism 

Speegle's double-speak models one of the most prevalent examples of evangelical irrationalism in the Christian marketplace today, but it is easily resolved provided we affirm the following biblical precepts:

1) God chose a people from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5).
2) He sent His Son to save them (Matthew 1:21).
3) He loves them in spite of their sin (Romans 5:6).
4) Nothing can separate them from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39).
5) God does not love every man (Romans 9:13, Psalm 5:5, Matthew 25:41).
6) Neither is he obligated to love them (Exodus 33:19).


At the end of the day, one's theology must either embrace some form of Speegle's irrationalism and in so doing be at odds with the Lord's statement that the scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35), or it must come to embrace the unpopular precepts that are clearly spelled out in the word of God (Romans 9:13) that are not appealing to our carnal opinions of how we think things should work.

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