Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Is There a Viable Non-Calvinist Interpretation for this?

Try as I might, I can't see any way to explain the following passage apart from Unconditional Election and the Effectual Call. No Arminian or Open Theist interpretation seems possible, let alone plausible. Maybe I've just been a Calvinist for too long, and have forgotten how to think the other way.
I Corinthians 1:26-31 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
What does Paul mean by "calling", if not the divinely orchestrated Effectual Call? How does one explain, "God chose A [to have a particular effect upon] B", apart from Unconditional Election? What does Paul mean by, "because of Him you are in Christ Jesus", if not the monergistic action of God in saving His elect? And what prevents me from boasting, if salvation ultimately depends more on my own "free choice" than on God's?

John Wesley himself seems to have temporarily become a Calvinist in his notes on the passage:
I Cor. 1:26 Behold your calling - What manner of men they are whom God calls. That not many wise men after the flesh - In the account of the world. Not many mighty - Men of power and authority.
Wesley can't possibly mean the general call of the Gospel is kept from those who are wise and mighty after the flesh, can he? Does he believe in a special call? Based on these notes, he seems to.
I Cor. 1:27 [No entry exists in John Wesley's Notes for this verse]
I Cor. 1:28 Things that are not - The Jews frequently called the gentiles, "Them that are not," 2 Esdras vi. 56, 57. In so supreme contempt did they hold them. The things that are - In high esteem.
That's an interesting detail. Wesley is worth reading.
I Cor. 1:29 That no flesh - A fit appellation. Flesh is fair, but withering as grass. May glory before God - In God we ought to glory. 
Another good thought. I have nothing against Wesley, just his errors.
I Cor. 1:30 Of him - Out of his free grace and mercy. Are ye Engrafted into Christ Jesus, who is made unto us that believe wisdom, who were before utterly foolish and ignorant. Righteousness - The sole ground of our justification, who were before under the wrath and curse of God. Sanctification - A principle of universal holiness, whereas before we were altogether dead in sin. And redemption - That is, complete deliverance from all evil, and eternal bliss both of soul and body. 
Is God "free" to bestow His grace and engraft us into Christ when, where, and how He Himself wills? Does Wesley affirm man's total moral inability when he says we were "altogether dead in sin"?
I Cor. 1:31 Let him glory in the Lord - Not in himself, not in the flesh, not in the world. Jeremiah 9:23-24
Is there an Arminian, Open Theist, or other advocate of "free will" out there who can provide a more satisfying explanation for his passage? One that is faithful to Sola Scripture and the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy?

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