God's desire for all to be saved

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Jollyblogger offers some advice on sorting through God's sovereign initiative in salvation together with God's love for all. Some Calvinists, because of this tension, reject the plain teaching of such verses as I Timothy 2:3. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (NIV). Jollyblogger's answer? Why insist on a conflict between that and God's sovereignty in salvation? What this verse says makes perfect sense on its own without postulating that it must refer only to all the elect.

This is one reason I sometimes hesitate to call myself a Calvinist, even though I fully endorse the Reformed theology Calvin held. Some people who call themselves Calvinists just take these extreme views that don't follow either from scripture or from Reformed theology. (To be fair, they think they do follow from both. I just don't agree, and therefore I find it to be extreme.) It's always better to take theology from scripture rather than bringing it to scripture from a system established by emphasizing a scriptural truth beyond what the passages it's taken from require, which then it leads to having to deny other scriptures, as with I Tim 2:3.

I've addressed this issue myself with more detailed discussions in Is There Potentiality in God? and Limited Atonement.


Some people who call themselves Calvinists just take these extreme views that don't follow either from scripture or from Reformed theology.

This comes, I think, from not being willing to embrace paradox (and by paradox I don't mean actual contradictions, but rather things we have trouble reconciling perfectly in our own minds.)

But I certainly don't understand why you would be reluctant to call yourself a Calvinist. I always hope those who stand firm on the logical tensions within the system as properly held will stand firm in their claim to the label, and not let it be taken over completely by the more extreme forms of it. It's a broad category, despite what the extremists like say. Count yourself in!

I didn't say I don't consider myself a Calvinist. It's just that in some circles the name has connotations that the view doesn't entail, so I'm wary about using the name in some contexts. It's more out of a desire not to have to make all sorts of qualifications every time I use the term. Also, it's sort of a misnomer, given that it's not Calvin who came up with the view. If you're going to attribute it to any post-biblical theologian, it should be Augustine.

Two articles that may be helpful here.

Are There Two Wills in God? Divine Election and God's Desire for All to be Saved by John Piper

Is it God's Desire for All Men to Be Saved?

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