Sanctified By A Furrowed Brow

[Posts in “fictional conversations” are sometimes (but not always) adapted and edited from non-fictional correspondence. They are usually lightly edited with intelligibility in mind.]

“I’ve been an on and off reader of your blog and I wanted to get your clarification on one aspect of your view on reprobation.”

It is not “my view” of active unconditional reprobation. It is God the Holy Spirit’s view (speaking through the apostle Paul in Romans 9 of course). Also, the absolute sovereignty of God taught in Romans 9 is not an isolated instance, but is pervasively interwoven throughout the whole of Scripture (e.g., Habakkuk 1:6-12; Isaiah 6:9-12, 10:5-15, 13:17; Jeremiah 51:20; Deuteronomy 2:24-34; Joshua 11:18-20; 1 Samuel 2:22-25; 1 Chronicles 5:26; 2 Chronicles 21:16-17, 36:22-23; Proverbs 21:1; Psalm 105:25).

“I know that you strongly rebuke anyone who denies reprobation and even those who defend the deniers. But you also seem to rebuke those who even struggle with this doctrine even slightly. I found this in your review of ‘Chosen By God’ by RC Sproul, for example.”

God the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul strongly rebukes the denier or objector to reprobation:

“Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:19-20)

The objector, the apostolic critic, knows not what it means to be the absolute sovereign God of the universe. The doctrine of unconditional active reprobation preserves and protects the purity of the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. It is an essential gospel doctrine; it is NOT an optional gospel doctrine. It is a simple, basic, fundamental, elementary teaching about the Godhood of God; that the Creator is God and that creature-man is NOT God. Also, what does “struggle with this doctrine even slightly” EVEN MEAN? What would that entail? What would it look like? Analogically, are Nestorians and Arminians “struggling slightly” with the Person or the Work of Christ? 

“My question is, do you find it sinful for someone to be troubled by reprobation, even if they accept it to be true?”

It seems the word “troubled” is a euphemism for “being repulsed by.” The doctrine of reprobation is true, good, holy, and beautiful. To be “troubled” by this doctrine is to be “troubled” by the unadulterated grace of the gospel of Christ. For if God is not unconditionally hating and actively hardening the reprobate for destruction, then He is NECESSARILY doing something else. What do you think that “something else” might be?

Also, what would you think of someone who (grudgingly?) accepted as true the doctrine of the free grace of God apart from the sinner’s efforts, but was “troubled” that it might promote a continuance in lawlessness (cf. Romans 6:1-2)?

“Is it really a problem to say, ‘I acknowledge that this is the way it is, I just wish it were different, even if I know God won’t change it.’ I can’t see why wishing is a sin.”

Why not just wish that this difference was the damnable doctrine of universal salvation where everyone without exception is saved? Would merely wishing that this were true be a sin? Presumably you believe that God grants only His elect faith and withholds faith from the reprobate. Why not make a wish at the Arminian well for some sort of “equal opportunity grace” for elect and reprobate alike?

“Please show me where in the Bible you get that doctrine, unless I have misunderstood you. Romans 9 doesn’t seem to work, because Paul was writing to his Christian brothers and sisters, so the objections he anticipated were from fellow believers.”

The statement “because Paul was writing to his Christian brothers and sisters, so the objections he anticipated were from fellow believers,” is an obvious non sequitur. Would you apply that curious reasoning across the board? That is, since Paul (or Peter or James or John) wrote to fellow believers EVERY anticipated objection was from a true believer (or a hypothetical true believer)?

“In fact, I’ve heard your blogs refer to the Romans 9 objector as a ‘wicked unbelieving objector’ or something to that effect. I don’t see that anywhere in the text; as I said, Paul is anticipating what his audience of fellow believers will say to what he is writing. Any clarification would be helpful. Thank you.”

The apostolic critic of Romans 9 is a wicked unbelieving objector; Paul is setting forth an instance of how unregenerate people think and the objections that will arise when the Godhood of God and the unadulterated free grace of God’s gospel is clearly taught. Without the Biblical doctrine of active unconditional reprobation the true gospel of Jesus Christ is perverted and nullified. A mutinous muddle is not sanctified by a furrowed brow.