Saturday, 6 July 2013


I thank Thee that I baled Jesus out with my deciding vote!
The Theology behind the great claim:

"I believe in "Election! Satan voted against me, Jesus voted for me, and I cast the winning vote!"

Scripturally Analysed - Studiously Rejected

1)  The most obvious objection to this quote is that it gives the Son of God an equal say and equal influence and power with the Prince of Darkness. In doing so, it either relegates the Lord Jesus or elevates Satan, neither of which are tolerable to a true child of God.

2) It elevates man over them both - the two other "voters" being equally locked in battle and looking to the wicked sinner to cast his "winning vote". At once, this thought denies two great truths of God's word.

[i] It denies the power of the Lord Jesus to save whom He will by His grace.  This grand prerogative (to quote the old hymn) has been stripped completely away and is now reduced to having a mere franchise to vote - with all the restraints of the democracy of the ballot box being brought into play. Salvation is no longer solely by the means of grace, but by some Republican ideal whereby the power now belongs to the people. In the most serious matter of salvation, Almighty God manifest in the flesh can only cast His somewhat hopeful vote and then, having failed to secure a majority vote, look to the sinner can bring Him over the line. The somewhat satirical cartoon at the top of the page captures this thought.

[ii] It denies the holding power of Satan over the sinner. Far from the sinner walking according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air , the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2) he actually possesses power over the same malignant being. He is free to cast his deciding vote without the truth actually making him free. Not only is it not "Satan to Jesus must bow" but Satan must bow to the sinner whom he is supposedly holding captive. 

The whole thrust of the gospel is stood upon its own head. This quote rewrites the basic message of the gospel. The use of the word "vote" is particular repulsive here. Bad enough to give the Lord Jesus Christ a "vote" but it goes further to declare that He has often cast a losing vote. Indeed, this is the very case since He has supposedly cast His vote for each and every sinner who ever lived, many (or most?) of whom will, despite His vote, be in Hell. Furthermore, this new democratic system concocted by this strange theology, effectively gave Satan a winning vote. It was not one plus one plus one but (because of the true reality of sin) giving the sinner a vote really made it two (Satan and the sinner) against one. I deny that I have contradicted what I have written in the previous paragraph. Let's suppose the one who repeats this errant doctrinal position recoils at the clear implication that the sinner is greater than Satan. He protests that this is taking it too far, yet he wants to hold unto his doctrine that the sinner still has a vote. He is determined not let this go. But where does such a thought leave us? Back to where we started in that the balance of power still lies in those who oppose the Lord Jesus. Jesus still has but one co-equal vote while there is a coalition of Satan and his bound sinner who can still frustrate Jesus and leave Him outnumbered, outplayed and outvoted.

3) This teaching effectively teaches that man elects God. One virulent anti Calvinist* actually interprets the text "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God." (1 Thessalonians 1:4) to mean this very thing - something which John Wesley and other Arminians did not do.

4) The Bible teaching of election is not that the sinner elects God or even plays a part in his own election (i.e. through foreseen faith and/or works) but that God sovereignly elects the sinner. This is the teaching of Romans 9 - the chapter which many non Calvinists and anti Calvinists try to avoid or effectively butcher when they cannot avoid running from it. David Cloud refers to the Calvinistic teaching of Sovereign Election as "heresy", but surely all that King does is sovereign? (And so much more, the King of kings and Lord of lords) God's choice cannot be anything else other than sovereign and is based purely on the purposes which God has purposed within Himself and in accordance with all His glorious attributes. God is under no obligation to save any sinner (all the sinner deserves is eternal death) and therefore is under no obligation to save all sinners - or even give them a vote and especially not the casting or winning vote. If you start using the word "obligate" here, then you must automatically drop the word "mercy" and "grace" because they cannot be used in the same breath.

5) Sovereign election is not the basis or cause of man's damnation. Strictly speaking, election is unto salvation (2 Thessalonians 2:13) while even the doctrine of reprobation (God passing guilty sinners by) is not the cause of any man's damnation. The sole cause of any man's damnation is his own personal sin. Thus even in chapter 23 of the Third Book of his Institutes of the Christian Religion where Calvin probes deep into this great matter of Sovereign Election and Reprobation, he can still declare clearly: "Accordingly, we should contemplate the evident cause of condemnation in the corrupt nature of humanity — which is closer to us — rather than seek a hidden and utterly incomprehensible cause in God’s predestination." (Inst 3:23:7) And again, John Calvin observed: “…where condemnation is, there must unquestionably be sin.” (Ephesians 2:3) We can see the outworking of Calvin(ism)'s position in a great case study of Judas. Writing on the words of Christ to this hardened reprobate ("That thou doest, do quickly") Calvin noted:  "The exhortation addressed by Christ to Judas is not of such a nature that he can be regarded as  exciting him to do the action: it is rather the language of one who views the crime with horror and detestation. Hitherto he had endeavored, by various methods, to bring him back, but to no purpose. Now he addresses him as a desperate man, “Go to destruction, since you have resolved to go to destruction;” and, in doing so, he performs the office of a, judge, who condemns to death not those whom he, of his own accord, desires to ruin, but those who have already ruined themselves by their own fault. In short, Christ does not lay Judas under the necessity of perishing, but declares him to be what he had formerly been." (John 13:30)

6) Does the sinner choose God at all? Answer: Yes, he does and that of his own free will. But such is the fruit of election and not the cause. When we believe on Christ unto salvation, we do so through the operation of God's grace (Acts 18:27/Philippians 1:29) - an observation that stands good also for repentance (Acts 11:18) To be more accurate, the sinner chooses Christ freely through his own freed will. The will of the natural and unregenerate sinner is in bondage to sin like the rest of his person (John 8:34) - freed from righteousness because in service to sin (Romans 6:20) No man comes to Christ against his will - kicking and screaming as if he has been spiritually kidnapped - but freely and willingly and in line with the purposes of God. Again, John Calvin spoke pointedly on this matter. Commenting on John 6:44 where Jesus said that no man can come except drawn by the Father, Calvin observed the voluntary nature of the grace: “True, indeed, as to the kind of drawing, it is not violent, so as to compel men by external force; but still it is a powerful impulse of the Holy Spirit, which makes men willing who formerly were unwilling and reluctant.” But this grace to obey the call is given on the basis of election and therefore it's fulfilment cannot be the basis of the call. "Moreover whom he  did predestinate, them he  also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."(Romans 8:30) Note the definite language here. One leads ultimately the rest and it all goes back to those whom God foreknew (i.e. loved intimately with that electing love) which precedes the effectual call which leads to the definite act of justification and then glory. Since all men are not justified nor glorified, it is an evidence that all men are not effectually called (although called in the general sense) and this indicative of the sense that all men are not predestinated.

7) This Biblical doctrine of Sovereign Election does not hinder evangelism. The Book that gave us election as the purpose of God also gives us the precept to evangelise all men as the means of fulfilling the said purpose. All are summonsed to come to Christ - not as elect - but simply as sinners. No man has the right to consider himself as excluded and since the invitation contains the key words whosoever then he may conclude that such refers to him. Again, Mr Calvin is wonderfully clear and evangelistic on this matter. His comments on Acts 2:21 (Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered) cannot but remove any doubt from the heart of the enquiring sinner. He wrote:

"We must also note the universal word, whosoever. For God admitteth all men unto himself without exception, and by this means doth he invite them to salvation, as Paul gathereth in the tenth chapter to the Romans, and as the prophet had set it down before, “Thou, Lord, which hearest the prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come,” (Psalm 65:2) Therefore, forasmuch as no man is excluded from calling upon God, the gate of salvation is set open unto all men; neither is there any other thing which keepeth us back from entering in, save only our own unbelief."

Please note those words that nothing keeps the sinner back except his own unbelief. Calvin returned to this theme again and again in his writings. Preach indiscrimately to all without exception - only unbelief and love of sin keeps the sinner back. Another example: "If the Jews were deprived, for the most part, of the joy that was offered to them, it arose from their unbelief; just as, at the present day, God invites all indiscriminately to salvation through the Gospel, but the ingratitude of the world is the reason why this grace, which is equally offered to all, is enjoyed by few." (Comment on Luke 2:10) 

Not only does this doctrine not hinder evangelism - but it is the only thing that really gives it any impetus. It guarantees evangelism. Our labour cannot be in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58) because God's word does not return unto Him void (Isaiah 55:11) The elect will come because they are drawn to come through the preaching of the word. What hope does the above scenario painted by those who effectively deny election give to any evangelist? Such are effectively relying on the perverse, sin ridden, sin loving and corrupt wills of vile sinners to suddenly decide for Christ. Put bluntly, that ain't going to happen. The sinner who decides for Christ (I am happy with that term when stripped of all its humanistic teaching) is one who does so because his will has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit who works in him both to will and to do of God's great pleasure.

Where the 'vote' teaching leads
8) As far as I know, A.W. Tozer was not a Calvinist. At least, not the Five Point variety. But you would never read (Correct me if I'm wrong) him using this language of poor Jesus wondering if He has wasted His pathetic little vote because He was outvoted 2-1 by an equally powerful Devil and a more powerful, winning vote casting sinner. When Tozer come to describe the Big God in whom he believed, he named an affinity with John Calvin on this matter. Bear in mind as you re-read the above definition of election as is being circulated in some professing Fundamentalist circles (where Tozer is often quoted) and tell me if you think Tozer would "Amen!" it. Tozer wrote in his commentary on John's Gospel: "I believe in evangelism, but I have listened to evangelistic messages that set forth a God I could not respect and could not respect and would not want to go to heaven and live with for another few million eternities. I do not want to live with a God like that, the kind of God I’ve heard set forth in pitiful, nose wringing, eye drenching stories as though God were like one of us. The poor, undersized, small minded little preacher gets up and begins to chatter about a God he has made in his own image, and then I’m supposed to want to sit beside the throne of a God I could not respect on earth. No, I want the God of the Old Testament and the God and Father of the New, or else I do not want to go to Heaven. I would rather go somewhere in some neutral place. I have not courage enough to say I’d rather go to Hell, but maybe some limbo in between where I can stay as far as possible from these teddy bear gods that are being preached now and again. Some have a lot against John Calvin,, I do not go along with everything John Calvin believed, but there is one thing he did believe that I go along with. He believed in God’s sovereignty – high and lifted up. And so do I.”   

This is where the "my casting vote for Jesus" leads. What would Tozer think of this? What does the Lord Jesus Himself think?

9) The above quote about Jesus needing my vote comes from a section of modern Fundamentalism that is noted for its fancy little sayings rather than its solid Bible statements.The phrase "DoctrineLite" has been rightly coined.  The Thesaurus has replaced the Bible. If the saying is smart, then it is included in the sermon, even if it is not Scriptural. Some other examples from this camp include silly little statements like "Jesus is the Bread of Life and if you don't get saved, you will be as toast!" I forbear to add more examples. But these are the men who profess to be the guardians of God's word - the remnant who have convinced themselves that they will stand stedfast when we "liberal compromisers" (i.e. anyone who does not tick every last box in their very long and specific list) eventually sell out to the coming Antichrist. What Tozer found repulsive actually appeals to modern sinners, and obviously to these professing Christians as well. It appeals to their wicked flesh to be told that Jesus is a vote short and that they have the power (like Pilate) either to release him or crucify him. That suits the carnal mind a great deal.

10) Pride grows in many gardens. Alas! for some strange reason, it grows in many a Calvinist garden also, although if ever there was a doctrine that should wipe it out, then it is Calvinism with its emphasise on Total Depravity and Unconditional Election etc. A proud Calvinist is an oxymoron. Contraiwise, this teaching of the one vote short Jesus can only gender pride in the heart. It positively encourages it. Re-read the statement above. Jesus had only one vote but it wasn't enough. The Prince of Darkness was in the same boat - only one vote. The two cancelled each other out. Satan could frustrate the mighty Jesus and there seemed little He could do about it. Aha! Tell it aloud that the mighty "I" had not only an equal vote as Jesus and Satan - but indeed the winning vote. It was me who cast the scales. Heaven will not be empty and God robbed of His glory because the mighty "I" stepped in and decided to back Jesus. Through my all powerful vote, He got one ahead of the Devil. No longer need it be said that "We preach Christ crucified!" (1 Corinthians 1:21)   Rather, if these words be true words, we can now say "We preach self glorifed!"


* If my memory serves me right (please note the "if") G.A. Riplinger gives this interpretation in one of her books. I might be wrong, hence this qualified footnote.

Note: I am very disappointed indeed to read that even a man of the caliber of HA Ironside fell for this kind of illustration also: 

"When asked to explain the doctrine of election, a brother once said, 'Well, it’s this way, the Lord voted for my salvation; the devil voted for my damnation. I voted with the Lord, and so we got into the majority.'” (Commentary on Ephesians)




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