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In some places there is a fairly great division in the church over Calvinism. Many are staunch Calvinists and many others are fierce anti-Calvinists.

I feel that this and similar issues should not be approached from the point of view of an overall theology. Although to be honest, I think it is suspect to take any theological system whole cloth. Rather, we should seek to come to understanding of scriptures that lead to certain positions.

Possibly the thornyest issue is the question of limited atonement. How do you reconcile John 3:16 and John 6:44?

John 3:16 tells us God loves the entire world, and gives life to all who believe in Him.

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

But in John 6:44 Jesus said,
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.”

Can you honestly say God loves people He is not calling to salvation? I think you can, but you cannot say this is simple.

Some years ago there was a fire on the hill that stretches above the houses on our street. They managed to get the fire out without losing any houses, but it was close. After the fire, the Fire Chief held a town meeting to answer people's questions about how they had addressed the fire. One of the homeowners was angry. He demanded to know why the fire fighters had not sprayed water on his house but they had his neighbor's.

The Fire Chief said, “We didn't see any point in hosing down houses that have cedar roofs or Juniper trees because we couldn't have saved them anyway if the fire hit them.” I am pretty sure that was simple reality rather than some biased intention on the part of the fire department. And we have to assume that God knows who would respond if they were called. There may also be other reasons why He does not call some that we don't and probably couldn't understand. We have to trust that to Him.

I am convinced that praying for people may remove some of the barriers to a person's being drawn to Christ. Of course, some will argue that God's choosing took place before the foundation of the world. There is some legitimacy to this. Ephesians 1:4 says, “He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world.”

But I believe it is wrong to press God and eternity into the sequence of time. Before the

foundation of the world God had already heard my prayer for a person whose heart is hard. And because God loves that person, I am convinced my prayers for people who need Jesus are obedient to Him.



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