Last line, “Glory in Excelsis Deo!”
“Have you ever thought about that fact that at any one time every last soul on the earth could be the elect of God?” One of the roots of this blog can be followed back to that question put to me, circa 1967-68, by a person who I consider to have been the wisest man I ever met.
There are other sources. For example, Jonathan Edwards’ Humble Attempt which moved William Carey, Andrew Fuller, and others to launch what the noted historian, Kenneth Scott Laturette, called the Great Century of Missions or the modern missionary movement as it is generally known. The most important, indeed, the true source is our text, I Chronicles 16:15 which states:
Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.
Let us look at that text from a temporal and chronological perspective. Consider the length of a generation. Today, we think in terms of 20 years which would mean from the text that we have about 20,000 years. If we have longer generations as is implied in the idea of the man dying at a hundred being a youth and the average man living as long as Methuselah (900+) years, then we have nine hundred thousand years.
Couple that with the idea of man going to the stars and settling a million billion planets, and the inhabitants of the same being likewise truly converted (after all, John Owen in his Death of Death in The Death of Christ suggested that the Atoning sacrifice of Christ is sufficient for any number of inhabitants of other worlds), one can see how the cheer of Rev.7:9 can both provoke laughter and at the same time be utterly truthful.
The theology of this site is what is called Calvinism, but I prefer the term Sovereign Grace as it is more biblical. Some of the doctrines that John Calvin advocated were promulgated before he was ever born. Indeed, there were people put to death for believing in election and predestination as well as anti-sacramentarianism. The Bible speaks of “the many” for whom Christ died. While that does not mean every one without exception, it does bespeak a multitude that no one can number.
Contrary to popular belief, the people who launched the modern missionary movement were believers in Sovereign Grace. They held to the five truths presented in the acrostic, TULIP (Total Depravity/Inability, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement/Particular Redemption, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance/Preservation of the Saints) as well as Predestination and Reprobation,
As we hope to show each of these truths is an invitation to trust God for salvation and for everything and in everything that comes our way in life. It is surely the truth that such biblical theology provides the knowledge that every person’s life has meaning and purpose to it.
We do not exist for ourselves; we exist to serve the glory of God. And serve it we will, either the glory of His grace or the glory of His justice, the justice of one who will have been found doing the worst of sinners the most good. As John Gill declared something to this effect, “When we know the truth, no one in his right mind will condemn God for sending people to Hell.” The same scholar also stated that God decreed to damn no man but for sin, nor did He decree to damn any but for sin.
The question stated in the opening of this blog, in conjunction with Jonah 3 and 4, demolished my eschatology, opening the way to see that God’s plans and methods were so much greater than I had ever imagined. I could not see His way due to my view of Last Things, but, when I did, it opened up a vast vista of possibilities for the Gospel, possibilities even greater than every last soul on earth.
What about believers in Christ whose theology does not agree with that of this blog? The answer is to be found in Edwards Humble Attempt which appealed to believers in all denominations to unite in prayer for such expansion of the Gospel. We might not be able to jot every i and cross every t the same way, but we can point people to the one who unites all true believers, regardless of the limitations of their belief systems.
If every soul on earth and on a million billion planets are the elect of God, then it behooves us to labor for their conversion with the expectation that our efforts will be attended with the blessings of Heaven. What a future lies before us, despite the designs of some who plan otherwise. Gloria in Excelsis Deon!