Since we cannot pry into the secret will of God, we do not know who the elect are. From our standpoint, we have the good news and we see our friends perishing. What are we going to do with that? Hopefully it is to love our neighbor. God had such great mercy on us ... so we ought to be filled with hope that God shows mercy to our neighbor. We do this by praying for them and declaring the gospel to them, among other things.
Election is certainly no excuse for apathy, but gives us hope for our neighbor. It is through the gospel that God gathers His elect. We cast the seed of the gospel and the Spirit "germinates" the seed, so to speak in those that the Father elected in Christ before time - those for whom the Son died. And "faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." (Rom 10:17)
Visitor Comment: TULIP makes God responsible for sin, man an automaton and "whosoever will" a deception. Does God have a "secret list" of those foreordained to be saved? All the rest are deceived by being told if they repent and believe they may be saved, which is impossible unless they are already on the "secret list". TULIP is a result of the forced rationalism of medieval speculative philosophy superimposed on Scripture. It takes a greater more powerful Creator-God to fulfill His eternal purposes and will in and through those (billions) of individuals to whom He has given the mystery of a genuine freedom to respond with a yes or no. John 5:40, Matthew 23:37
Response: You have not taken the time to accurately represent what I believe. Man an automaton? Huh? Where do you get this?. I never said that, nor remotely give that impression. You simply declared that this is what I believe and decided it was true.
I believe man has a will and he makes voluntary choices. God does not coerce anyone into sinning nor keep them from believing when the gospel is preached to them. God commands ALL PEOPLE to repent and believe the gospel. If they do not come it is because they don't want to. . Apart from grace men are in bondage to sin and because "men love darkness, hate the light he will not come into the light" (John 3:19-20). As for your "whosoever will" of course whosoever will may come. We never taught taught otherwise. But you have cited this verse in isolation apart from the John 3:19 text I cited above. Yes men may come if he will but, of themselves, apart from the Holy Spirit, are ANY willing to come???? Do you not believe the natural man hates the light and loves darkness? Does fallen man have a heart of stone or not? How does that heart change?
Spurgeon answers the exact same critique you made about men may come if they will, with the following:
" We reply, "My dear sir, we all believe that; but it is just the "if they will that is the difficulty. We assert that no man will come to Christ unless he be drawn; nay, we do not assert it, but Christ himself declares it--"Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life;' and as long as that "ye will not come' stands on record in Holy Scripture, we shall not be brought to believe in any doctrine of the freedom of the human will." It is strange how people, when talking about free-will, talk of things which they do not at all understand. "Now," says one, "I believe men can be saved if they will." My dear sir, that is not the question at all. The question is, are men ever found naturally willing to submit to the humbling terms of the gospel of Christ? We declare, upon Scriptural authority, that the human will is so desperately set on mischief, so depraved, and so inclined to everything that is evil, and so disinclined to everything that is good, that without the powerful, supernatural, irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit, no human will ever be constrained towards Christ. You reply, that men sometimes are willing, without the help of the Holy Spirit. I answer--Did you ever meet with any person who was? Scores and hundreds, nay, thousands of Christians have I conversed with, of different opinions, young and old, but it has never been my lot to meet with one who could affirm that he came to Christ of himself, without being drawn. The universal confession of all true believers is this--"I know that unless Jesus Christ had sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God, I would to this very hour have been wandering far from him, at a distance from him, and loving that distance well." With common consent, all believers affirm the truth, that men will not come to Christ till the Father who hath sent Christ doth draw them" (end quote) 1
Do you agree that no one can come to Christ apart from the work of the Holy Spirit? If so, then you also believe that men have no free will just like us - that men are captive to their corruptions unless God sends his Holy Spirit. So the difference between us is NOT about free will ... our difference is, rather, what is the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation. To what extent does He apply the work of Christ? Unless you are Pelagian then we both agree that people need the Spirit to believe. 1 Cor 12:3 says "no one can say Jesus is Lord apart from the Holy Spirit." So free will is not really where we differ. We differ over the work of the Holy Spirit.
So please stop misrepresenting our position by calling it robots or something equally ridiculous.. It is an utterly embarrassing critique that has ZERO do do with our differences. Respect those who differ from you enough to learn what they actually believe rather than continuing to promote an untruth.
1. Spurgeon, Human Inability