Ergun Caner’s Introduction to Louis Ruggiero’s Book

Continuing my review of Mr. Louis Ruggiero’s book, The God of Calvinism, I come to the foreword by Ergun Caner. I had previously analyzed the auto-biographical aspects of that forward (here) so let me continue on to discuss the substance of Ergun’s statements.

Ergun writes:

Though this seems like quite a simple doctrine, in our overwhelming impetus for world evangelization, a new movement has arisen. This new form of Calvinism teaches that God created some (if not most) people for damnation. In short, God only loves a few.

Certainly this movement’s leaders have attempted to state this in a more loving way, but their favorite texts, such as Romans 9:13, buttress their belief that God desires to create people to specifically go to hell.

Obviously, sending the reprobate to hell is not the only purpose of the reprobate. There were many unbelievers who are the ancestors of believers. What non-Jewish person can claim that their ancestors from the time of Abraham to Jesus were all believers? So, God has more use for the reprobate than simply in sending them to hell.

Nevertheless, God does sometimes have as one of his purposes in creating a person the destruction of that person. This is plainly taught by Paul:

Romans 9:17

For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

Notice that the destruction of Pharaoh was not an end in itself. As a result of the destruction of Pharaoh, God’s name was widely declared and God’s glory and power were manifested.

But even more, I’d go on a few verses more to this:

Romans 9:21-24

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Is God the potter? Does he have the power to make a vessel (a person) to dishonour – to build “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction”?

Caner goes on to describe what he thinks the thesis to Louis’ book is:

His thesis is simple: in proclaiming that God’s love is conditional, these new preachers have changed the nature of God Himself. They have changed His attributes. This is a vital distinction, and a pressing issue.

Now is as good a place as any to note that there is nothing particularly new about Calvinism. Perhaps Dr. Caner only recently became aware of it, but if he did even a modicum of research into the subject, he’d be aware of Baptists like Charles Spurgeon and John Gill teaching this many generations ago, not to mention the many non-Baptist Calvinists. It’s hardly a new issue or position, either in Baptist circles (Caner is a Baptist) or outside them.

Moreover, who is making God’s love conditional? Calvinists teach that God’s election is unconditional and they take heat for it. Calvinists do not teach that God’s love is conditional.

In contrast, folks like Caner teach people that “Jesus loves you, but …” with the “but …” being that God will still send you to hell if you don’t do what he says. What love is this? A love that is conditional on man’s obedience does look like a conditional love. On the other hand, a particular love for God’s peculiar people (Deuteronomy 14:2 and 26:18; Titus 2:14; and 1 Peter 2:9) is unconditional.

God is the shepherd – he is the author and finisher of our salvation (Hebrews 12:2), saving us despite our demerit, not because we fulfill some conditions. The God of Calvinism is the God of the Bible and His love is unconditional.

Praise be to the Lord, the Almighty!


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