What kind of call are these? Effectual or general.

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by earl40, Apr 1, 2010.

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  1. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    From a good friend and brother...."Well, you have God the Father calling everyone in Isaiah 55:1-3, Christ calling everyone in Matthew 11:28, and the Holy Spirit calling everyone in Revelation 22:17."

    Isaiah 55:1-3 (New International Version)

    Isaiah 55
    Invitation to the Thirsty
    1 "Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
    and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
    Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
    2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
    Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

    3 Give ear and come to me;
    hear me, that your soul may live.
    I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.

    Matthew 11:28 (New International Version)

    28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

    Revelation 22:17 (New International Version)

    17The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
  2. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    The gospel call is a common grace given to all people who are exposed to it. An effectual call is when God regenerates a man and that man then places his faith in Christ.
  3. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    Every one of them is general. I'm not sure what would lead anyone to argue that they're examples of the effectual call that Paul alludes to in Romans 8.
  4. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Seeing as Christ gave that call to the public during His ministry, the answer to the question seems pretty plain.
  5. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The reason I ask is because of this..."There is some distinction between Christ's death as purchase (which has to be particular, or else you end up with universal salvation, as John Owen correctly said), and Christ's death as offer (which God presents to everyone without distinction). The latter presumes that God -could- apply Christ's death to you if you would repent, so you don't, so He doesn't."

    This leads me to the logical conclusion that there would be some "excess merit" that does not get used in the atonement. No doubt this leads to the sufficient to all but efficient only to the elect, right?
  6. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    That's where it comes from, yes.
  7. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    So we can conclude that God calls the non elect to believe knowing they will not? I am curious if this may imply He is wasting His "breath" in doing so?

    I can see where we are to call sinners to Jesus because we do not know who is elect, but what is stumping me (yes I am dense) why is this with God Who knows the beginning to the end?
  8. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    Yep! Although I'm not sure I like the term "excess merit" because it implies that it was somehow an unintentional consequence. There wasn't any "excess" in the atonement. God did all He meant to do and meant to do all He did.
  9. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I don't see the problem here. Of course God commands all men everywhere to come to repentance. Paul notes this in Romans 10 that the call of the Gospel to the Jews cannot be claimed to have been unheard but that the Jews refuse to believe in the context of explaining why they haven't believed. He anticipates, in one sense, your question by asking, rhetorically, whether the call has gone out:

    I understand it is an inclination of man to challenge the Scripture's logic on this point but it holds, clearly and repeatedly, a comand to those who hear the call of the Gospel to respond in faith. If a man refuses to believe then he is judged for it and has no standing in the court of God to simply reply: "Why does he find fault for who has resisted His will?"

    An Arminian rendering of this logic repeatedly puts the onus on God for a call to fallen men who cannot, in themselves, reply to that call. When Ezekiel is commanded to preach to the dry bones, God asks Ezekiel if the dry bones can live and the proper response is "Lord, only you know...." He doesn't deny their deadness or tell God that it's silly to preach to dry bones. Rather, he obeys and lets God be God and the most amazing thing happens: the very power of that call going out accomplishes God's intended purposes.

    We tend to think of the Gospel call in isolation from man's falleness in reference to God's character. When you back the problem up, you have to contend with the fact that God's condemnation of men in sin is rooted in a character that cannot stand sin in His presence. Man cannot turn to their rebellion and use it as standing before a Holy God and respond to the commands issued from that same God and say: "I'm a rebel, you can't expect me not to be a rebel." In so doing, they're only adding to their rebellion in telling God what He can and cannot command. They're basically telling God that He must set aside His holy character for them on their terms.

    This is why it is vitally important to understand the gracious aspect of the Gospel that not only propitiates the wrath of God and makes men fit to be in His presence but also provides what it commands apart from men's willing. If we merely look at if from the logic of "cutting sinful men some slack" because they can't do any better than rebel then we haven't properly understood that the Gospel is the revelation of God's righteousness and preservation thereof.
  10. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    If these are general calls are they from God to those who are unelect?
  11. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    It is an invitation to everyone from God, yes. I'm not sure why that's a problem. If you believe on Christ you will be saved. That is always a true statement no matter who says it. Don't let the Arminian who says that God cannot say this unless it's within a person's natural, human power to respond convince you of his position. It's simply wrong. The call, the invitation, the promise that any who trust in Christ shall be saved, has NOTHING to do with the intent of the atonement, nor the power of Christ's blood to save, nor anything in the decree of God. The invitation to Christ is to be proclaimed to all, and Christ Himself, the Son of God Himself, issued that call far and wide - and so should we.
  12. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    No doubt I am not aking myself clear. Let me give you an example...let us say a person that has never heard a Jesus stumbles across the verses I cited in the bible and reads them and he ends up not believing. Were those verses God "speaking" to him via an external call?

    Or if we think of it this way....a man calls out to two dogs by saying come here. Now one dog is his dog and the other one is not. His dog comes but the other dog doesn't. Now he called both dogs with the intention both would come. No doubt the intention towards the dog that was not his was "wasted" or In other words, he wasted His "breath" on the dog who did not come.

    Now I am not saying we as people should not call people to Jesus (we don't know who is elect) but what I am wondering is why God would waste His breath calling someone who is not elect. Or to put it simply does God give external calls to those that are not going to be effectually called?

    ---------- Post added at 10:51 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:44 AM ----------

    Not a problem here at all.

    To clarify, do we have 2 wills of God by Him giving an external call without an internal call?
  13. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    "The general call is extended to all who hear the gospel. The command to repent is for all men everywhere, even if they never hear the Gospel."

    Is the general call for those that don't hear? Is the command to repent the same as the general call?

    Quick edit....the hear you speak of is like me saying 1 2 3 testing not "ears to hear" right?

    ---------- Post added at 11:17 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:10 AM ----------

    One more way to try to express what I am saying....would it be a waste of time for me to try to talk to my dog and teach him algerbra? My thoughts on God calling generally to man who can not hear.
  14. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    Earl -

    The fact that you can't understand why God would issue a general call to all to come to faith does not mean God doesn't issue such. It's something Scripture clearly teaches, and therefore we simply have to accept what the Word says. God isn't bound by our understanding but rather our understanding must be bound by what He has revealed.
  15. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Can you see that there may be a possibility that the verses I quoted at the beginning of my post could be to those that will come and not necessarily to all?

    ---------- Post added at 11:32 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:29 AM ----------

    That would be my point that God would not waste His time calling someone He knows that will not come.

    To the point of God commanding all to repent and believe might not be the same as Him calling was the other question I was asking. If they are the same then of course my thinking is wrong here.

    ---------- Post added at 11:39 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:32 AM ----------

    The verse that says "Many are called few are chosen" shuts this post up.

    Sorry to waste your time guys. This verse should have popped in my mind much sooner.
  16. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    No, I can't see that possibility, since there isn't a single clue in the text that would indicate that those aren't what they seem to be - that is, calls to all, period. I really cannot understand the reason there's an issue with this. There's not anything that would preclude God from issuing this call to all people. Isn't the call true? Isn't it true that any who will hear and heed will be saved? The fact that any and all who hear and heed the call will be saved does NOT have ANYTHING to do with whether any and all CAN hear and WILL respond accordingly. The call and the ability to respond are two completely unrelated things.

    Here is the fundamental presuppositional problem.

    Why do you suppose that God "would not waste his time"? You have, for no reason that I can tell anyway, supposed that either a) it's a waste of time or b) God would not waste his time doing this. Neither of these things are necessary to hold to, and neither of them are Biblically grounded.

    I don't understand your logic here. First, I agree that the call to Christ is a call to one thing - turning away from the world and to Christ in faith. That turning is repentance. But that doesn't change the answer one way or another, for people argue that God's statement "repent and believe on Christ" is a call only to the elect. The problem here is with, again, a call going to those who cannot respond because they are dead in trespasses and sins... and again this is no problem. God is not wasting his time by calling those who cannot come. You have thrust this upon God when there is no reason to believe that He sees it as a waste of time. The call is a call, and that is all - it serves simply as an announcement and an invitation. The gospel condemns the non-elect and saves the elect. His word does not return void (and when it is said that God's word does not return void, it does NOT mean that it always gains converts. There is another way that His word can do what it was sent to do)
  17. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    You are correct in all you say here. Thank you.
  18. BertMulder

    BertMulder Puritan Board Junior

    Those calls and promises are all directed to those who have been made alive by the Word and Spirit...

    Hence the address being to the thirsty and weary...

    Those that are dead in their sins are not thirsty nor weary...
  19. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Though I see where the general call goes out to many "For many are called, but few are chosen" I will admit the verses I quoted do seem to have God giving a "heartfelt" invitation to people, which does indeed seem strange if the ones He is giving the call to are not His elect. Now the general call we are to perform from us is indeed "real" and sincere because we are limited, but for God to give an outward call to those He does not give an effectual call just seems strange knowing that in essence He appears to be insincere if He knows they will not respond which of course He does.

    ---------- Post added at 10:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:13 PM ----------

    I found this part quite observant and have thought about "the good news" really being "bad news" for those who are not His. As would be the general call of God to those to repent and believe is a blessing, and to those that don't believe a curse.

    ---------- Post added at 10:38 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:24 PM ----------

    Todd and Josh......Allow me one more question. Would you call an enemy of yours to dinner who hated and despised your guts and you knew he would never change his mind about you? That is exactly how it appears to me if we say God gives an outward call to those that He does not give the effectual call. As Bert points out the call does appear to be directed that are thirsty,weary,burdened,and whoever wishes. Which can be taken to those Who are regenerated.

    At least Matthew Henry agrees that Rev 22 rendering that it is only to those that are elect.

    "It is confirmed by an open and general invitation to all to come and partake of the promises and privileges of the gospel, those streams of the water of life; these are tendered to all who feel in their souls a thirst which nothing in this world can quench"

    Also John Gill appears to say it is the elect also in Matthew 22

    all ye that labour, and are heavy laden;

    meaning, not these who are labouring in the service of sin and Satan, are laden with iniquity, and insensible of it: these are not weary of sin, nor burdened with it; not do they want or desire any rest for their souls; but such who groan, being burdened with the guilt of sin upon their consciences, and are pressed down with the unsupportable yoke of the law, and the load of human traditions; and have been labouring till they are weary, in order to obtain peace of conscience, and rest for their souls, by the observance of these things, but in vain. These are encouraged to come to him,

    As does Matthew Henry....Note, All those, and those only, are invited to rest in Christ, that are sensible of sin as a burthen, and groan under it; that are not only convinced of the evil of sin, of their own sin, but are contrite in soul for it; that are really sick of their sins, weary of the service of the world and of the flesh; that see their state sad and dangerous by reason of sin, and are in pain and fear about it,
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2010
  20. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Puritan Board Junior

  21. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Thanks. My original question is whether if the 3 passages were general or effectual which lead to the discussion if they were to the elect, nonelect, or both. The general consensus they were indeed general calls and to both elect and non elect till I read Matthew Henry and John Gill which said they are to the elect. Or at least the passages in Rev. and Matthew were. I have not looked into the Isaiah passage yet but I have some suspicion it is the same.
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