The Failure of God?

, posted by SEA

The following post is comprised of comments submitted to our website by, slightly revised with the author’s permission.

Insofar as such infamous “failed God” arguments clearly assume the doctrine of irresistible grace (grace=force/deterministic salvation) as the very thing which God “fails to achieve,” such arguments are entirely circular if they are intended as a counter to non-Calvinist theological systems.

If God fails to save some deterministically, this would not entail that God is therefore palsied or impotent, but rather that He is neither a Calvinist nor a determinist.

Most Christian groups reject irresistible grace (e.g. Wesleyans, Lutherans, Catholics, Orthodox, Disps, most Baptists, most Charismatics, etc.) without also maintaining God is palsied or impotent or that God has failed or will fail in His true purpose. Christ “succeeded” in providing one sacrifice which remains efficacious for all who do not reject Christ, who abide in Christ until death and unto the ages of ages.

The tulip systems define the true nature and purpose of grace as entailing deterministic soteriology; some eager proponents of such a system then pronounce any view of God not achieving that purpose as “impotent” or “palsied” (if they are wrong about God in the final analysis, such labels would in fact border on blasphemy), but in such a case God would be impotent only in fulfilling the presumptions of the tulip system, not impotent per se. Since non-Calvinists maintain NO salvic grace is intended by God to be irresistible, no non-Calvinist would agree that grace ever fails to achieve its true purpose, which is that the grace which brings salvation appear to all (not just some) men.

Titus 2:11: “For the grace of God which brings salvation has appeared to all men…”

John 1:9: “There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.”

This illustrates another major difference between tulip systems and those that reject them: tulip systems would agree with classical Greek thought in seeing the greatest attribute of a God as being power; non-Calvinist Christian theology by contrast often sees one of the greatest attributes of God being His love, which directs his power. His universal presentation of the grace which brings salvation to all persons (Titus 2:11) comprises another of His most noble attributes IMO.