John Piper is a Calvinist. He sets out to show how his Calvinist view of Romans 9 positively affects a person. Number 4, he says, it helps him to keep amazed at his salvation.
A Calvinist, first off, has no assurance that he’s saved. He’s only got a feeling. To a Calvinist, the saved person is specially elected by God. Calvinism distorts the doctrines of election, predestination, and the like, to mean that before the world was created, God specially selected the exact individuals who would be saved and all the rest, the ones He didn’t elect, are doomed and there’s not a thing they can do. The problem Piper has is that he’s not seen the list God elected to save. He doesn’t have a clue as to who is elect. And the most that he can do is compare his own life with that of others. It’s works based. He thinks he is the elect based on his own feelings and estimations. He doesn’t know if he’s saved or whether he is persevering.
So Piper is amazed at his salvation that he can’t know he has. What he means is that he sure is glad that he’s one of God’s elect. It’s a marvel to him that by good fortune, God elected to save him when all of his neighbors are doomed to go to hell by virtue of God’s decree. I don’t know about you, but that’s not amazing to me.
We aren’t talking here about one guy getting lucky and winning the lottery while everyone else continues in their regular lives. No, we are talking about one guy winning the lottery, rejoicing in it, know that the rest are losers who are not merely staying in their regular lives, but are in fact going to hell. That takes a special kind of person who feels positive about that.
That’s right, John Piper, you are amazed at being the elect. You weren’t selected for salvation by God because you loved God and believed in the unseen over the material world. No, God didn’t care about those things – not according to your doctrine. God just picked you for salvation for no good reason. “But isn’t that what Romans 9 says, that before the boys did good or evil, God chose Jacob over Esau?” That’s not talking about salvation. It doesn’t say God saved Jacob and damned Esau to hell. The only thing involved in that choice was God’s prerogative to determine who would be Israel and who would not be and the lineage through which Messiah would come.
“But it says, ‘Jacob I loved, and Esau I hated” and “The older shall serve the younger.” Genesis 25:23 shows that these judgments didn’t apply to the two boys but to the nations that would spring from them. The descendants of Esau were the Edomites and they were evil. God hated them, Malachi 1:2-4. The descendants of Esau served Jacob. But Esau in his life never did. So it is a gross misrepresentation of the narrative to conclude that God doesn’t decide who is elect on the basis of faith: who has it and who does not.
Calvinism is just about as wrong as any doctrine of man could be. There’s nothing good to say about Calvinism. In so many ways does Calvinism distort the Bible. Piper wishes to pretend that only those who believe like him could be amazed at salvation. Wrong. A true disciple is one who hears the Gospel of Christ dying on the cross for his sins which makes him repent and be immersed for the forgiveness of sins. This person who comes to salvation by obedient faith is amazed at his salvation and he glorifies God that all sinners are offered the same chance. That’s amazing.
I wouldn’t say Calvinism is amazing. I would say it’s so wrong that it’s scary as hell.
God bless you. Dan Mayfield