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Searching out the Unsearchable November 22, 2006

Posted by Joe in Random Musings, Scripture Meditation.
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Lar,

That was a good FYI, but I still think there are some questions to be asked.  I am currently reading Grudem’s Systematic Theology and enjoying it a great deal (which is why I recommended it a few weeks ago of course!), so I am very hesitant to disagree with Grudem.  Of course, I am also very hesitant to disagree with him because he is much more learned and smarter than I, but that’s another matter.  With that being said, I still have some reservations with his definition and with many in the reformed camp.  I know this is a tough matter and one that I do not have figured out (nor have thought about enough), but in response to Grudem’s definition, I found myself asking, “Is God really and/or ultimately passive in anything?

I think you will agree that Grudem’s definition pointed to his being passive in His act of reprobation.  I don’t completely disagree with this and understand from where he is coming, but words like this come to mind, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’  So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills” (Romans 9:17-18).

Now what do we do with words like that?  And what do we do with a Bible that displays a God who is actively working all things according to the counsel of His own will–even in the minor details of life like the death of a sparrow?  I’m not sure, but I just think it is too easy for us to say that God is passive in His act of reprobation.  If we don’t use the term ‘double predestination’ then what will we use?  And I do think we need to use something that points to the absolute dominion of our God.  The Lord might not work in the same way for both things (salvation and reprobation), however, I think it is important to preserve the reality that He still works to bring about both.  I’m not sure how we can do that, but I do believe it is necessary.  The Lord uses and ordains means to bring the elect to salvation.  Does He not also use and ordain means to harden the reprobate to reprobation?

Tough stuff.  I’m not completely sure of the answer, but they are questions that must be asked.  May the Lord grant us grace to be faithful to His Word and the glory and goodness of His Person.  I doubt we’ll figure everything out on this blog, but I trust that such questions are good for our own souls and the souls of others.  Too often we shy away from difficult matters, but when we do, we stifle our own joy and power as we stop ourselves from enjoying a grand vision of God.  Thanks for being one who refuses to do so.  It serves the body and the world well.

Humbly searching out the unsearchable with you,

Joe

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