How Could God Make it any Clearer?
In previous chapters we looked at the verses that said salvation is offered to the world. The Bible uses words like "all," "everyone," and "whoever." In response, Selective Salvationists say those verses apply only to the elect. For example, a verse that says, "Salvation is offered to all" should actually be viewed as "Salvation is offered to all of the elect." Selective Salvationists justify this type of interpretation by saying since they know selective salvation is true, this is the only way these verses could be interpreted.
Our first priority and obligation, as discussed in previous chapters, is to rightly interpret the Word of God. Defending a system of theology should never be our goal. We also discussed the importance of interpreting each piece of information based on its own merit, not on our preconceived ideas. As an example of this, we looked at the former beliefs that the world was flat. We saw, although the current discoveries showed the world was round, that the leaders refused to accept it for centuries. These leaders knew the world was flat and interpreted all of the new discoveries accordingly.
In my opinion, the Bible clearly states salvation is offered to every person in the world; no one is excluded. I do not believe anyone is pre-selected to go to Heaven or Hell. I believe God wants everyone to go to Heaven.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, God wants 100% of the world’s population to go to Heaven. How could He make it any clearer than what is already presented in the Bible? What would God have to change to show salvation is open to all people? The Bible already says salvation is offered to everyone. The Bible already says salvation is offered to the world. The Bible already says God does not want anyone to perish. The Bible already says God is greatly troubled because some people are not going to Heaven. What else could the Bible say?
This is powerful proof the doctrine of selective salvation is false. If God wanted to inequitably establish that selective salvation is true, He would have clearly stated, "God died only for the elect." Instead, Selective Salvationists have to re-interpret hundreds of verses to conform them to their view.
In an earlier chapter I quoted many Selective Salvationists saying the doctrine of selective salvation is next to the gospel in importance. In fact, some of them have said selective salvation is the gospel in its purest form. If this is true, the doctrine of selective salvation should have been clearly presented in the Bible.
Our former church (where I had been a member for 33 years) had a long history of teaching open salvation. Our doctrinal statement, which was contained in our Church Constitution, clearly stated this fact. There was nothing in it that supported selective salvation.
One day the pastor started teaching selective salvation. Multiple sermons were made on this subject. When we approached the Board about how this contradicted the Church Constitution, we were greatly surprised. The pastor said selective salvation was completely consistent with our doctrinal statement. We countered by saying the doctrinal statement clearly says, "all," "whoever," and "everyone." His response was simple, "Those statements refer only to the elect, not the whole world."
We asked him, "Let’s say, for the sake of argument, our church only believes in open salvation and they want to make a doctrinal statement that clearly reflected this. How would we change our doctrinal statement from what it currently says?" He, of course, couldn’t provide an answer.
It is important to clearly say what you mean. If a person moves into a town and is looking for a church to attend, he would look at the doctrinal statements to see what each of the churches believes. It’s a straightforward process. If he wants a church that teaches selective salvation, he would use this document to direct him.
If a church believes in selective salvation, it would be very easy for them to say, "Certain people have been arbitrarily selected to go to Heaven and the remainder have been selected to go to Hell." Likewise, if a church believes salvation is offered to the whole world, it would be easy for them to say, "Salvation is offered to everyone." These doctrines are so different from each other there is no need for any confusion.
The church doctrinal statement should be clear and straightforward. There should be no reason for fancy or creative interpretations. Likewise, the Bible should be this way. I don’t think God ever intended us to be fancy and creative in our interpretation of the Bible. Remember the old adage, "The main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things."
Other Chapters in this Section
PART 3: Problems with Selective Salvation
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