August 23, 2007

A "Generous" Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport

While making arrangements to attend GodBlogCon 2007 in Las Vegas, I remembered a book on my shelf I had forgotten to finish reading. "Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport" was written by Richard Mouw of Fuller Seminary. It's a great read in that it shows the practical side of belief in the 5 points of Calvinism, aka the "TULIP."

I still haven't finished reading it. It's not that it's a large book, I'm just dumbfounded by something I read on page 87. The section is titled "Hoping for Generosity" and he's discussing how some Calvinists insist on playing a numbers game, "insist[ing] that only a very small portion of the human race will make it to heaven...". But Mouw continues, suggesting that he's holding out for a "divine generosity." Here's what he means:
I have a rabbi friend who is now very old. He has often sent me friendly notes about something I have written, and on a number of occasions he has told me that he prays for God's blessing on my work. I have a spiritual hunch about how things are going to end up for this rabbi. I would not be surprised if, when the final encounter comes with his Maker and he sees the face of Jesus, he will bow in worship, acknowledging that Jesus is the One whom he should have named all along as the Promised One of Israel-and that the Savior will welcome him into the eternal kingdom. (p. 87)
Mouw then completes the chapter by discussing the election of infants and those who are unable to respond to the gospel because of disability or geographical distance from the nearest presentation of the gospel. It seems that because mystery surrounds the issue of salvation for some of these people categories, he's willing to posit some sort of salvation experience in the presence of Jesus for his friend the rabbi.

Is anyone else alarmed by this? Whatever your view on election, the TULIP, etc (that is not open for debate in this post, sorry...) Scripture is clear that the born again experience is one of this world and this life or else what is the sense of urgency of the Church for missions and evangelism? Hebrews 9:27 says that "it is appointed to men to die once and after this comes judgement."

I think Mouw's "hunch" about his friend's eternal situation is left a bit ambiguous, it's not all that clear what Mouw is thinking - so I will remain gracious in my assessment until he or someone else can set me straight on this. But I am alarmed.


Collin Brendemuehl said...

It is quite disturbing and hints of universalism.


Letitia (The Damsel) said...

Mouw's comment does betray the fact that even seminarians can allow their feelings to sway their theology.