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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

2 Peter 1

When I was in Boston in July, members of the Mendon Mennonite Church handed me a tract from Christian Light Publications entitled "Calvinism--Arminianism, WHICH?" As Mennonites, they were naturally promoting the Arminian view.

After some criticisms of the Calvinistic concept of eternal security, the tract launches into five points of Arminian teaching, the first of which is as follows:

God created man with a free will so that he may choose to accept or reject God. "[God] will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (I Timothy 2:4). "Give diligence to make your calling and election sure..." (II Peter 1:10a).

But does 2nd Peter truly say that man may choose to accept or reject God? Let's look at the first chapter of 2 Peter, starting with verse 1:

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

The recipients of the letter received a faith, but how did they receive it? Through their own initiative? According to verse 1, they received through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Let's look at verse 3:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

We knew Him, but He called us.

Now let's look at verses 5 through 11, including verse 10a.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Yes, the verses refer to the possibility of a "fall" and an implication that you will not be received into the eternal kingdom if you fall. But there is no indication in these verses that you are the one who accepts Christ in the first place. Even verse 10 refers to a "calling" - and the unsaved don't know God's phone number, but He certainly knows theirs.