You've abandoned Common grace, general reconciliation


#1

One of the recurring themes that has popped up in our discussions. I’m copying the Google+ discussion so far (with Luke’s permission), hopefully we’ll just continue it here…

Luke wrote:
If all activity is for the salvation of all people, then that makes evil a desirable and good part of God’s activity, this is something that really upsets me about Universalism. (Residual corruption in the elect is different to the rebellion of the reprobate, unless you believe in “Sinless perfectionism.” ) General reconciliation is a way of describing God controlling everything without being considered morally responsible for it.


#2

Is Salvific Grace is better than Common Grace? I think it is, both from receiver’s perspective and God’s. Therefore, I haven’t just abandoned Common Grace, I simply think God is doing something much greater than “making it rain on the righteous & the wicked”. I think God created us out of love and has never stopped loving anyone, and never will.

Sorry but General Reconciliation to me seems like a play on words, it’s like the government saying we’ve achieved Reconciliation with the Aborigines but we will never help them with anything and we will never say sorry about anything and we will never acknowledge them anywhere. In normal English usage reconciliation is a positive term, usually involving forgiveness and people working cooperatively to rebuilt relationships. General Reconciliation seems to be purely negative for one party, at best subjugation. I don’t deny ultimately God is, and always will be, in control of everything, without being considered morally responsible for it. The Prodigal Son’s father wasn’t considered morally responsible for the son’s rebellion.

Sounds like we really need to talk this over, as I know it’s an issue for you and I’d love to be able to explain this to you better. Firstly not all activity is for the salvation of people. When the Prodigal Son says to the Father, “Give me my inheritance now!”, that wasn’t an action of God for his salvation, that was a deliberate, undesirable act of rebellion & sin, away from God. The Prodigal Son continues to rebel & sin. The Father would’ve preferred the son to have returned much sooner. I think the Father was glad the son learned the essential lesson (probably wished the older brother would too, but still wouldn’t want the son to rebel).

The Prodigal Son’s father allowed the son to leave, God allowed us to leave. The Prodigal Son sinned, we all have sinned. The father forgave the son, our Father forgave all of us. If the Prodigal Son had 1000 brothers who also rebelled and left, then returned, it wouldn’t be a problem if the father forgave each one of them. Like just because we have billions of brothers, doesn’t mean God can’t or won’t forgive them all. The father didn’t cause the son’s rebellion, God didn’t cause ours.

Sorry I don’t know what you mean by “(Residual corruption in the elect is different to the rebellion of the reprobate, unless you believe in “Sinless perfectionism.”)”


#3

Luke wrote:
I should of set the definition up a little clearer. Common grace is the idea that God allows the trajectories of those who reject him play out (mostly). In other-words common grace is the explanation for why evil is allowed to continue without God annihilating it instantly.

“Firstly not all activity is for the salvation of people.” But the predestination of the elect takes place before our births from the moment of conception, the Holy Spirit is at work regenerating the redeemed. Would you agree that right now God is bringing every single person to salvation, that every event in the world is part of someone’s journey to salvation. The only way to escape this iron trap is to be an Arminian Universalist!

“*(Residual corruption in the elect is different to the rebellion of the reprobate, unless you believe in “Sinless perfectionism.”)” *You might ask, or Shelly did just a few minutes ago on Facebook what about sin in Christians. Christians have residual corruption that God allows in this world to manifest itself. Some dodgy types say that as soon as you profess you are a Christian you become perfect.


#4

Ah, ok. That seems different from the definition I had in mind, “referring to the grace ofGod that is either common to all humankind [in this lifetime]” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_grace) As I said on FB, the only way to annihilate evil is to convert the sinners.

Regardless of when election takes place, there is a period where the elect sins whilst not being a Christian. This sin is still sin and not activity drawing them closer to salvation. When the Prodigal Son was walking away from the house, he was walking away, he wasn’t even intending to walk back to the father.

I think I’m beginning to see the misunderstanding between us. I do think the Holy Spirit is trying to bring everyone to God, however many are resisting & pulling away, preferring their own way, not yet realising it’s a downward spiral to the pig pen. People’s steps away aren’t “part of someone’s journey TO salvation”.

Sorry lost me on Arminian Universalist? As far as I know, an EU could be explained just a Calvinistic Arminian (we believe God is able to save whoever He wants & He wants to save everyone). So that would make it an Arminian Calvinistic Arminian :smiley: Sounds very interesting, possibly a big breakthrough, so please could you expand?

I think I see our issue now with “Residual corruption”. I’m not concerned here with sin after someone becomes a Christian, but before they become a Christian. (And no, I don’t believe in “Sinless perfectionism”)


#5

So you’d allow for Scriptural references to common grace or reconciliation that simply meant submission?


#6

:confused: sorry, I don’t understand the question.


#7

You’re OK with the concept of common grace as distinct from saving grace?


#8

I understand what the concept is, I’m just not sure it’s possible to divide them :confused: i.e. I’m not sure there’s any loving action of God that doesn’t try to reconcile people to God. For example, even the “rain & sunshine on the wicked” could be said to be God showing that He even loves His enemies, and wants people to see this, and come back to Him.

Certainly for our perspective, during this life, some of the grace/love from God appears to be wasted on people and not to be bringing them any closer to repentance/reconciliation.


#9

A question and a clarification.

The question: So really you’d reject common grace, because all of God’s loving actions eventually bring someone to salvation?

Clarification: Common grace doesn’t say God’s grace is wasted, but that it’s a demonstration of his mercy, even temporarily on the non-elect.


#10

Undecided. At a basic level, love involves doing something for someone else’s benefit. A reconciled relationship with God is the greatest benefit for anyone. So the question is, is every act of God seeking the greatest benefit? From our perspective, God does loving things that don’t appear to be aimed (or effective) at bringing people to Himself, however, I just don’t know if this is only because I can’t see the big picture from His perspective :confused:

I agree, it’s only “wasted” if the sole purpose of grace is seeking the greatest benefit (i.e. a reconciled relationship), which I’m not sure about.


#11

When you say benefit, who do you mean? Because God isn’t benefited by everyone being saved, people are, but God isn’t (because that would imply God is missing something, needs something or could gain something).


#12

Just posting so forum correctly shows I posted last… :unamused: