In the last section I said, "Reformed Theology has no North Star other than the ever-changing winds of human conclusion. While they claim Bible authority, the truth is that the teaching of reformed leaders such as Luther, Calvin, Zwingly, and scores of modern-day Calvinists are always used as the filter through which they interpret Scripture. Without a rock-solid, unmovable anchor point (biblical harmony), doctrine becomes the proverbial beach ball. Everyone tries to keep it aloft by poking at it with their own versions of human opinion."
In this section, let's take a look at one example of these human opinions.
"…God gets as much glory out of His wrath as He gets out of His grace…."
Some time ago, I came across this quote by one of today's highly respected Reformed Theologists. I have to admit that one of my first thoughts was, "Really?!! How tragic! Islam teaches the same thing!"
It is the tunnel vision of Calvinism that prompts such extreme conclusions. They take Romans 9:22-23 and develop it into an entire doctrine without filtering it through the rest of the Bible. They compromise the harmony of God's Word in order to justify their own obsession with the doctrines of men. (See Matthew 15:9.)
Q: Does God receive glory through wrath?
A: Perhaps indirectly. Romans 9:23 does indicate that God's glory is made known through wrath.
The harmony of God's Word gives balance to that idea. Remember, the very best Bible commentary is the Bible itself. Let God's Word interpret God's Word.
Notice what God also says in other places. (Note: The following passages - Ezekiel 33:11 and 2 Peter 3:9 - either contradict Romans 9:22-23 or they must be viewed as harmonious. What say you?)
Ezekiel 33:11 (NKJV)
"‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.'"
2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
So what about the quote above? Does God get "as much glory out of His wrath as He gets out of His grace"? Only if you are trying to prop up the perverse doctrine of original sin. I believe this quote and the promotion of it is a man-made conclusion drawn from tunnel vision rather than a God-made conclusion drawn from the harmony of Scripture.
For more information about the way Romans 9 harmonizes with the rest of Scripture, please visit http://www.heybrothersonny.com/predestination.html.
To continue this study, go to:
The Evolution of Reformed Theology: "When Calvinism is Applied - Part 4"
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