by Ray Moore and Mike Stine
|View on Grace||Arminianism- Through prevenient or preparatory grace which is given to all people, man is able to cooperate with God and respond to Him in salvation. Prevenient grace reverses the effects of Adam’s.||Calvinism- Common grace is extended to all mankind but is insufficient to save anyone. Through irresistible grace, God drew to himself those whom he has elected, making them willing to respond.|
Irresistible grace is a difficult thing to back up scripturally as the phrase never appears according to my own knowledge. While I do not try to argue the fact that Paul on the road to Damascus was not searching for God, God still found him and essentially forced salvation upon him. However, this doesn’t seem to be a case of God drawing anyone to himself, making himself irresistible. It is more a case of God calling a sinner to him, as he knew the outcome. Even if Paul really had little chance to resist, it was still there.
Prevenient grace or preparatory grace which enables men to cooperate with God for salvation is problematic. For forty years the Israelites watched the cloud by day and fiery pillar by night in the Sinai desert. They knew it was God and yet they still rebelled against God and died in their sins. While Jesus was performing his ministry, the Pharisees witnessed Christ’s miracles and still denied it. Christ said, “If Sodom and Gomorrah had seen what you have seen, they would have repented.” Preparatory grace is necessary to know that there is a God but it would appear that it has nothing to do with salvation, just as common grace has nothing to do with salvation.
I will not try to work with the statement “irresistible grace” but I would like to remind the readers of scripture that Christ went out and brought his disciples to him. When God’s people were not willing to do the work that he had desired for them to do, he made sure that things got done. For examples, Sampson, Deborah and Barak, Jonah, and Moses.
I too will concede the point on man cooperating with God in their salvation. While grace, by whatever name one wishes to call it, allows man to see God, it does not help in the process of salvation. God has total power in salvation and has finished the work of salvation with Christ on the cross. The process is finished as far as God’s requirement is concerned, man must supply the faith needed for salvation, something which God cannot supply, lest we be robots.
Next Section – Perseverance