Thursday, October 9, 2008

General Call (vocatio externa) or...?

What a wild week. Thanks for your patience. The Fodder typically posted on Fridays will be replaced with the last of the McKnight Blue Parakeet reviews. Now, on to election.

Last week, we observed Dr. Ware's thoughts of election specifically through Ephesians 1. Today, we move on to what Ware (and others) term "effectual call." In other words, Ware is quick to mention a general call (vocatio externa) from God "extended to all people everywhere, that whoever hears the gospel is invited to come to Christ and be saved" (15). He even goes to the trouble of footnoting passages such as Isaiah 45:22, 55:1; Matthew 11:28, 22:2-14; John 7:37; and Revelation 22:17.

Ware then mentions a "special" (his term) call "... because 1) it is a call to salvation directed only to some people, not all, and 2) it is a call that always succeeds in bringing people to saving faith in Christ" (16). This special call would be synonymous with an effectual call (vocatio interna).

In an attempt to make his point of the effectual call, Dr. Ware then returns to Romans 8:28-30. According to Ware's interpretation of this passage, the calling of God to be saved here is extended only to some and not to all - those he predestined. Thus, this call is not extended to all people everywhere but only to a certain subset of the whole of humanity, viz., only to the predestined" (ibid). Ware goes on to maintain, "If God unconditionally elected just certain specific persons to be saved, and if this election is grounded only in the good pleasure and will of God and does not consider the characters, actions, or choices of these individuals, and if this election of God is certain so that those individuals cannot fail to be saved, then it follows that God must so work in them particularly such that they, but not others, are surely and certainly saved" (17-18).

Suffice it to say that we'll return to the conversation of effectual call in later posts. As for now, any thoughts on what Ware has to say or on the Romans 8 passage?


Pizza Man said...

Hi Mike,

Romans 8 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible. What an encouraging passage.

The way I read it: God calls everyone, there is no general / effectual distinction. He predestines those whom he foreknows will love him.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son..."

Crowm said...

Hey Kevin! You said:

"The way I read it: God calls everyone, there is no general / effectual distinction. He predestines those whom he foreknows will love him."

I would agree. The only way one can hold the view of Dr. Ware, Calvin, and others, seems to be distinguishing a general call from a special/effectual call.

I've been honest with my bias view (leaning Arminian) from the outset of the study. But again, it's interesting to me that in this case Dr. Ware goes to the trouble of citing many verses on general election (Jesus dying for the world) and only 1 that might(?) be considered an argument for an effectual call - and that only when one might have something to prove.

Scot McKnights work on reading the Bible as Story (the Blue Parakeet)has been helpful for me. In other words, when reading God's Story, do we see an unfair ogre in the sky that is only concerned with having a "thumb" on creation or do we see a God of love that desires relationship? In my view, the latter doesn't diminish God's sovereignty at all. In fact, it does the opposite.

Still Learning,

Pizza Man said...

Hi Mike,

I agree, and appreciate your thoughts. I hope to eventually read both of these books.

P.S. That was a great game yesterday. I was pulling for the Sooners (your profile mentions OU).