What would John the Baptist say today?


Those in the Calvinist camp are very adamant about their election and calling.  To them their knowledge of God’s predestination is an immovable foundation to their assurance that they are saved and this is completely based upon God’s sovereign will.  The strict Calvinist hold to the understanding that they have absolutely nothing to do with their salvation, that there is no free will involved. 

So what would John the Baptist come and preach to us today who have be called, who have been elected by God, who God foreknew?  What would John the Baptist preach to us today, who say we are secure in our predestination, calling and election? 

I know a group of people who like us have the promise of adoption as sons.  I know a group of people who like us have the divine glory.  I know a group of people like us who have the covenants, old and new.  I know a group of people like us who worship God.  I know a group of people like us who had the promises of God and unlike us could brag the linage of Christ.

For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.  Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.[1]

I know a group of people who like us took for granted their calling and election.  I know a group of people like us who thought their place in God’s calling, His promises to them, their adoption of sons, and their linage made it impossible for them to be separated from God.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.  The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.[2]

So what would John the Baptist in the spirit of Elijah say to us today who put our confidence in our calling and election?

You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in accordance with your repentance.  And do not think you can say to yourselves, “We are guaranteed our position by predestined and election.”  I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up those predestined by election.  The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

The Scribes and Pharisees took for granted their position and calling by God and felt eternally secure.  We have nothing over the people of Israel when it comes to our election and calling.  We too have to produce fruit in order to have a hope of salvation.  God foreknowing us, His calling and His election of is no guarantee of eternal security.  Nor does it take away our free will.  It didn’t take away the free will of those in John’s day and it doesn’t take away the free of us today.

In my advocating of the gospel, I have been defending the position that we have a hope of salvation.  I have been told by others that we hope for nothing because we are predestined, called and elected and therefore saved, and this without any freewill on our part.  I have advocated in my book The Gospel According to the Gospel we have freewill and a valid part to play in our hope of salvation.  That we are not saved and our freewill decisions will impact our receiving our promise of salvation. 

Is this anything different than what we see John saying to those of his day that were the called election?  No it is not.  By your freewill produce fruit in keeping with your repentance.  The Scribes and Pharisees blew it bad with their own version of Calvin.  Do we really what to follow in their footsteps?


[1] Romans 9:3-5

[2] Matthew 3:7-10

8 thoughts on “What would John the Baptist say today?

  1. There can be and no doubt are some parallels between really all religious elements in every Christian group/groups within Christendom. We could make many parallel arguments to religious Pharsaism. But, the great question is not to the evidence of pharsaism, but to the quest of the Judeo-Christian theology. And the whole idea of “free-will” is in reality itself a biblical and theological question. I have seen nothing in this post/posts that really address this issue. But only presuppositions. No, this subject has been addressed in the Western Church in history, with Augustine and Pelagius, who (Pelagius) denied original sin and held that man has perfect or full freedom of the will. But in biblical reality this will simply not hold up for man, both in himself, and a fallen, broken and sinful world. (Rom. chapters 1-3)

  2. From what you said about Pelegius, you and I would both be attacking his doctrine. We are bad and absolutely corrupt. It is the work of God in us that produces anything good in us. I have come to understand this about my own life. I have not one good thing to contribute to the work of God. Not one thing. Instead I find my members wanting to resurrect things in me that would undo the work of Christ in me.
    Forgive me for not launching this website complete. I have not addressed many issues. For instance the blab it and grab it crowd or replacement theology. But I will get there with God’s help. I do ask Him to build the house so I do not labor in vain. And yes, I even ask Him to give me the correct gospel if I have misunderstood His gospel.
    As far as free will, I will work to address it more, although the post was more of a commentary of people who believed they were eternally secure because of position, kinda like Calvinist. Calvinist have just as stubborn belief in their eternal security as did those men. Scripture proves them wrong and I believe proves Calvinism wrong. With God’s help I will address this with more clarity. By the way, I do love the way you bring up issues.

  3. Dave,

    Eternal security is not part of true Calvinism. The elect and chosen Christian has only his assurance of salvation, as he trusts in Christ and walks by faith. It is the doctrine of perseverance, simply! Please get your Calvinist facts straight? The doctrine of the Covenant of Grace is in both testaments, Old and New. You really need to read something of classic Calvinism. You are only arguing with a straw-man, that you have made here.

  4. Again, I am not only responding to you. But I think I agree with your statement putting Calvinism aside for a minute.
    I believe I have an assurance of salvation even as I hope in it. It is not because I have it that I have assurance but because of the one who has made the promise. Just as our father Abraham did.

  5. Pingback: Changing the debate « The Gospel According to the Gospel

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