What does a typical non-Calvinist affirm or deny so far as the foundation of his or her relationship with God is concerned? Is the relationship based solely upon grace through faith as Paul reveals in Ephesians 2:8-9? Or does a typical non-Calvinist believe the basis of his or her salvation is essentially because he or she works so hard to be saved?
And finally, what should our response to the doctrine of election be? I think it should be the response of the Apostle Paul here in 2 Thessalonians 2:13. How did he start things out? We ought to do what? I can't hear you. We ought to do what? 'We ought to give thanks always, brothers loved by the Lord, for He chose you.' The doctrine of election should ensure thanksgiving. It should inspire our adoration of our gracious God. It should drive us to our knees in worship. When we recognize that our salvation is God's work from beginning to end, it should lead us to praise Him and His mysterious grace all the more.
Now I used to half-heartedly praise God when I thought that my responsibility was to believe in Jesus and do the very best I could and God helped me save myself essentially because I worked so hard. But when I discovered that my good works contributed nothing to my salvation; that it was all based on Jesus' sacrificial death; then I began to praise Him from the depths of my soul. But I still thought I contributed something to my salvation; I thought well, yes God gave me forgiveness but after I first gave Him my repentance and faith. When I came to understand the doctrine of election I soon realized that what I thought I contributed to my salvation was itself only God's gracious work in me and I would never have even repented and believed had it not been for His sanctifying work in accordance with His eternal plan. And suddenly I was driven to the dust to recognize that I contributed nothing to my salvation and that what I thought I contributed was only His gracious work. And then I praised Him and Him only for my forgiveness.
Question: Does non-Calvinism typically encourage less praise to God for personal deliverance from sin than Calvinism? More importantly, is a person even saved if he or she believes his or her relationship with God is essentially based on working so hard?
Consider again: The language Dr. Quarles uses in this sermon concerning his cross-over from non-Calvinism to embracing the Dortian form of the doctrine of election seems strangely similar to the language of New Testament conversion does it not?
If these words were the words of a so-called "cage-stage" Calvinist, perhaps we could ignore the aggressive rhetoric. However, the language came from then a college professor and now a seminary professor teaching our young students.1
With that, I am...
1as I noted in Dr. Quarles' previous quote posted, perhaps Dr. Quarles' excessive, aggressive rhetoric has softened somewhat since 2009. Still hoping so...