Saturday, February 13, 2010

General Call or Special Call?

If I understand them correctly, Calvinists maintain that within the general call of the gospel to all who hear it, there is a special call by which the Holy Spirit effects regeneration in the elect.  Arminians disagree with the notion of a special call and on biblical grounds.  In the parable of the sower and its explanation (Mark 4:1-20), Jesus teaches that the word is sown like seed, but it falls on different types of soil that represent the responses of different people to the gospel.  Some hear the word and Satan takes away what is sown.  Some hear the word and receive it with joy but only for last for a little while.  Some hear the word but are lured away by the desires of the world.  In contrast to the first three, the last group hears the word, accepts it, and produces fruit - thirty, sixty, or one hundred fold.  One important feature to see in this parable and its explanation is that the same word is sown in each type of soil.  There is no special seed that goes to the soil that bears fruit.  Likewise, there is no special call that awakens the elect.  The same gospel and the same call goes out to different people.  It bears fruit in their lives on the condition of faith; they must hear and accept the gospel, the very same gospel that those who persist in unbelief hear.  In the parable, the difference is not the word; the difference is the soil.  The condition of election is not a special call; the condition of election is faith, the acceptance of the sown word.