by Leighton Flowers
We all intuitively know that it is morally wrong to condemn people due to factors beyond their control.
For example, this is why racism is so detestable. A person has no control over their skin color and thus it would be completely unjust to condemn or mistreat people on the basis of this factor. I think we can all agree that is a reasonable conclusion that can be intuitively affirmed.
But, what if that factor isn’t external but internal? For instance, what if someone is born with a mental disorder which prevented them from carrying out normal human functions but outwardly they looked normal? I think we all intuitively know that it would also be completely immoral to condemn the mentally disabled for their inability to function normally. Why? Because it is a “factor beyond the agent’s control.” Are we all in agreement so far?
But what if the factor isn’t external, like one’s skin color, or mental, like a inborn ailment? What if the factor is spiritual? Does this principle change? If so, on what basis?
If the reason one is condemned is for “factors beyond the agent’s control” (ie born spiritually dead, guilty of sins committed by ancestors, not savingly loved by their maker, not granted faith, etc) on what basis can we call their condemnation just?
How would condemning the reprobate within the Calvinistic worldview be in any significant way different than condemning all people born with blue eyes, for instance? Does making the condition a physical feature in any way change the principle regarding the condemnation of someone due to “factors beyond their control?”
Here are some passages to consider:
“The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” -John 12:48
“They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” -2 Thessalonians 2:10b
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” -John 3:14-18
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” -2 Corinthians 5:17-21
According to the verses above it seems those who are condemned are condemned for refusing to believe and accept the truth God makes clearly known. And those who are saved are reconciled by replying in faith to God’s appeals for reconciliation.
The bad news is that we all would be condemned if not for His Provision of grace but it is our responsibility to confess our sin and trust in Christ so as to be saved, something that is not outside our control, which is what makes it such good news for the whole world.
To my Calvinistic friends: Before objecting please give a rational explanation as to how the reprobate (non-elect) within your world view are not ultimately being condemned due to factors beyond their control, or admit that is true and give a rational explanation as to how and why that is any more just than condemning people due to race or mental disabilities.
Also, before committing the “you too fallacy,” answer the charge brought against your position first and then we can discuss any charge you’d like to raise about our position.