Below is a quote from a paper entitled "Salvation and the Sovereignty of God: The Great Commission as the Expression of the Divine Will"1 by Dr. Kenneth Keathley, Professor of Theology, Dean of the Faculty, and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Keathley's blog is here) >>>
Let us remember that there is no disagreement about human responsibility. Augustinians, Calvinists, Arminians, and all other orthodox Christians agree that the lost are lost because of their own sin. But that is not the question at hand. The question is not, “Why are the lost lost?” but “Why aren’t the lost saved?” The nasty, awful, “deep, dark, dirty, little secret” of Calvinism is that it teaches there is one and only one answer to the second question, and it is that God does not want them saved.48 Other theological systems may have similar problems49 but Reformed theology has the distinction of making this difficulty the foundational cornerstone for its understanding of salvation (pp.17-18)
The context is a discussion on whether God's will is simple and undivided or whether God's will is complex (Keathley offers two examples of the complex view: 1) God has both a revealed will and a hidden will; 2) God has an antecedent will and a consequent will). Many Calvinists today argue number one of the complex will option. God has two wills: the revealed will is primarily contained in scriptural revelation while the hidden will remains unknowable (presumably, at least, for now). John Piper represents this view well.
After offering a thorough critique of Reformed thinking's acceptance of the revealed/hidden wills, the Southeastern professor makes a veritable case for God's will being complex as in God's antecedent/consequent will. Keathley writes:
The antecedent/consequent wills position seems to be the clear teaching of Scripture. God antecedently “so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,” that consequently “whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Christ antecedently orders the Gospel preached “to every creature,” but he consequently decrees that “he that believeth not shall be damned.” The antecedent/consequent wills paradigm fits very nicely with the Great Commission... . [concluding] God’s antecedent will is perfectly gracious; his consequent will is perfectly just (pp.18-19)
The Calvinist Resurgence may be the hottest new trend on the theological market today. Nonetheless, scholars pose many theo-biblical reasons why Calvinism, specifically as it is routinely expressed in pop theological circles, remains an incohesive theological paradigm.
With that, I am...
1Vol. 19: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society Volume 19. 2006 (36). Irving, TX: The Grace Evangelical Society
48See Daane, The Freedom of God, 184. Both Dort and Westminster warn about preaching decretal theology publicly. Many thoughtful Calvinists concede that the moral and logical problems with the doctrine of reprobation are irresolvable. See Paul Jewett, Election and Predestination (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), 76–77, 99–100; and Thomas Schreiner, “Does Scripture Teach Prevenient Grace in the Wesleyan Sense?” The Grace of God, the Bondage of the Will (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995) 381-82. Both the point and the phrase come from Walls and Dongell, Why I am not a Calvinist, 186–87, Keathley's footnote original
49See Jerry Walls, “Is Molinism as Bad as Calvinism?” Faith and Philosophy 7 (1990), 85–98, Keathley's original footnote