Richard Coords, “Calling”

, posted by Martin Glynn

The Bible refers to “the called of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:6) and “the chosen of God” (Titus 1:1), perhaps to emphasize that, as Christians, we each have a divine purpose, relative to our unique gift from the Holy Spirit and our appointed vocation within the body of Christ.

  • Non-Calvinism: The “called” refers to Christians.
  • Calvinism: The “called” refers to Calvinism’s elect-unbelievers who are irresistibly given/drawn to become believers.

So, what does the Bible tell us about the identity of “the called”?
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  • Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
  • 1st Corinthians 1:18, 23-24: “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. …but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
  • Ephesians 4:1-3: “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
  • 1st Thessalonians 5:24: Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”
  • 2nd Timothy 1:9: “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”
  • 2nd Peter 1:10: “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.”

Robert Shank: “We have observed that the Gospel call is to all men alike, and that those who answer affirmatively become in a particular sense ‘the called.”54

Stephen Hitchcock: “The call of God on our lives has not saved us, but our answer to that call by faith has. This is a huge difference. Consequently, the Calvinistic doctrines of grace are enemies to the doctrines of faith. This is because Calvinistic doctrine places the emphasis on Effectual Call as the singular determinate, in our subjective experience, in which a person becomes saved — not their personal faith in Jesus.”55

What do Calvinists believe?
All men are called by a General Call of the gospel, but only the elect receive an Effectual Call which overcomes the sinful fallen condition and guarantees salvation.

Our reply:

(See the discussion on Matthew 22:14, which is a text Calvinists often cite as a basis for their teaching on Two Callings.) In Calvinism, the purpose of an “Effectual Call” serves as an Irresistible Grace in order to secure the conversion of Calvinism’s elect-unbelievers. However, Calvinism’s “General Call” for its “non-elect” is a little more confusing.
For instance, what is its purpose, if it is not to save? Is it simply to condemn or torment? Recall that God, according to Calvinism, does not intend the salvation of its non-elect, nor for that matter does its non-elect have access to Christ’s Atonement. So, again, what is its purpose, if none of Calvinism’s non-elect will ever be saved by it?56

54 Elect in the Son (Bloomington, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1989), 208.
55 Recanting Calvinism (Xulon Press, 2011), 131.
56 See the discussion at 2nd Corinthians 2:15