Ravi Zacharias’ Anthropocentric Gospel

Ravi Zacharias is a professing Christian apologist who has written such books as, Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message, Beyond Opinion, and Who Made God?: And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith (co-authored with Dr. Norman Geisler). He is also the head of RZIM: Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, whose mission statement is:

The primary mission of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries is to support, expand and enhance the preaching, teaching and vision of Ravi Zacharias. Distinctive in its strong evangelistic and apologetic foundation, it is intended to touch both the heart and the intellect of the thinkers and opinion-makers of society and to REACH and CHALLENGE those who shape the ideas of a culture with the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In this video, Ravi explains the “problem with evil,” an objection that so many people raise against the idea of a god. The argument is basically, “How can a good god exist when there is evil in the world.” The most common answer, and the one that Ravi offers, is that it is the fault of man because they choose to abuse the free will that God has lovingly given them. While I would agree with Ravi that someone even posing such a question presupposes a moral law, I think that Ravi makes some serious theological errors. While watching the video, keep the following few statements in mind:

1. “Necessary to love is the component of the will. You can not have love without the freedom to not love.”

I would agree that it is necessary for our love of God to be willful, but scripturally we don’t love God by nature. It is only until God gives us a new heart that we will to love Him. So, yes, the component of our will is necessary in our love toward God, but He must make us willing – otherwise we are not.

“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5

“Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20

“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” Romans 8:7

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:44

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” Ezekiel 36:26-27

Not having love without the freedom to not love may be true of human relationships, but certainly not the relationship between God and His human creation. The issue is that Ravi is philosophically conforming God to human standards of love. Humanity is born sinful, and doesn’t have the freedom to love God. Prior to freedom in Christ, we are enslaved to sin. In fact, Scripture also tells us that we are dead in sin.

“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” John 8:34

“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.” Romans 6:20

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins,” Ephesians 2:1

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,” Colossians 2:13

2. “The greatest gift of God is the gift of the freedom of our will, in order that we can love.”

This is pretty twisted, especially since Scripture never teaches this explicitly. In fact, the opposite is true. God’s greatest gift is not the ability of humanity, but the ability of God. Paul tells us that grace is the gift of God by which we are given faith. It had nothing to do with human effort in order that no human could boast. If any boasting is done, it is done in the accomplishments of Christ – namely, the gospel. Grace is the mercy that God bestows on an unworthy creation. Though Christians were once filthy, He makes them clean. Though they were sinning against Him, He still became incarnate and died for them. This shows the unspeakable richness of His great love and mercy because the offenses committed against Him were of infinite value.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

3. “With the greatest common gift, comes the greatest possible calamity. When you violate that love, the entailments actually follow.”

Because Adam exercised sin with the free will God gave him, Adam’s sin enslaved all of mankind. This means that everyone since then has not had free will. This was explained earlier. In Adam, that “love” was violated. The entailments did follow. All of humanity is dead in trespasses and sin. Their darkened hearts could never incline to God unless their hearts are made willing.

4. “And so, both good is real, & evil is real. And the human heart must be able to recognize this, & choose that which is good.”

Unfortunately, the heart never can choose good apart from God’s grace. It will always lean toward sin, because it can’t do anything else. The Bible says that the heart of man is deceitful, and no one can know it. How then can such a heart rightfully discern what is right and wrong? Even if the heart could choose “righteousness” this would never cause God to show favor to us, because even our righteousness is like filthy rags.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

“For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” Isaiah 64:6

5. “‎We are the point of God’s creation.”

We are the point of God’s creation. We…. man…. is point. We are the center. God is man centered? We are certainly within God’s creation, and part of His purposes, but the end to these means (creation, etc.) is not MAN. The end is GOD. Part of the gospel is that Christ came to show submission to the will of the Father. Even until death. Christ did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but gave His life because of the FATHER’S will. God purposed the salvation of humans and reprobation of humans so that He would be glorified by both, regardless of their fate. His glory is the end. His Name is to be proclaimed in all the earth. What Ravi stated here, whether he misspoke or not is absolutely and fundamentally wrong. He is answering a question that almost any unbeliever asks, and he responds with a purely man-centered answer.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

“What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—” Romans 9:22-23

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

“to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:21

“whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11

“and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father– to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:6

“saying, ‘Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.'” Revelation 7:12

It is important to realize that God doesn’t simply “allow” evil. He ordains it. He is not the author of it, but He is the cause. In other words, He is not directly committing the sinful act. Humanity does that, and so they are held accountable. Furthermore, God answers to no one. Humans are bound to God’s law because He created us and decreed that it would be so. But there is no law that He is subject to, no morality to which He must bend the knee.

There is no such thing as evil “without purpose.” He is not a passive God. He is active and involved in His creation. Before the foundation of the world was laid, He purposed to save a particular people. This involved creating Adam and Eve, knowing full well that they would sin. This meant He created a world that He knew full well would involve murders, rapes, robberies, etc. God is allowed to do with His creation what He wants to do with His own creation. Instead of coming to vain philosophical conclusions, Ravi should answer them Biblically.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6

“The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.” Isaiah 45:7

“‘Have you not heard? Long ago I did it; From ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass, That you should turn fortified cities into ruinous heaps.” 2 Kings 19:25

“Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?” Amos 3:6

“Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both good and ill go forth?” Lamentations 3:38

“Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;” Isaiah 46:10

Perhaps you will then say, why would God still find fault, because if He has ordained these things, who can resist His will? Paul answers this very objection:

Man:

“You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”

Paul:

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” Romans 9:19-21

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25 thoughts on “Ravi Zacharias’ Anthropocentric Gospel”

  1. God created the earth for Man. The sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath. And just in case we miss the point of God’s creation, God became a Man. He is the Son of Man. Therefore, the point and crown of God’s creation is Man. God loves Man. He died for Man as a Man. Now God’s habitation is Man. You miss the point.

    You know, I stumbled onto a site much like yours several years ago. One which finds fault with every single ministry past and present. One which condemns the innocent and places a stumbling block in front of many who love the Lord. Jesus had much to say about your brood. There is a place for discerning truth from error, but you strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. You neglect mercy for your own judgment. And again, you condemn the innocent. Moreover, you keep on criticizing the just and reasoning in your blog so that people will follow you, just as they did the Pharisees of old. You are their offspring.

    The website that I fell into brought all kinds of false accusations and insinuations against great men of faith such as CS Lewis (and I’m sure you have your share of articles condemning him as well) and it caused me great confusion for several YEARS. Now I have come through to the other side of that confusion to see that the fault is not with imperfect ministers of the truth, but with YOU, the one in league with the accuser of the brethren. Think of that, Satan is called the Accuser of the Brethren, and what do you do? You accuse the brethren. I have no sympathy for your type of ministry and it does nothing to promote and spread the gospel. It only spreads suspicion and an evil eye.

    You will answer to God for condemning and judging those He loves. No one’s ministry is perfectly in line with every jot and tittle (except yours you might even say) and Ravi Zacharias would be the first one to openly confess his inadequacies and misunderstandings. But you see, the difference is that God is mightily using the likes of Ravi to spread the Gospel far and wide. You on the other hand have your band of readers and followers who share in the condemnation of the innocent. You should be ashamed of your bold-faced accusations of the just. But I know you are not ashamed as you should be.

    Jesus is returning and He will have much to say and to judge regarding you. My wish is not that you would have to suffer on that day as you watch all your works be burned up before the only Righteous One, but that you would repent and “go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” The Lord rebuke you.

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    1. Dallas,

      Woah, I’m sorry I have no idea why I’m just seeing this now. Sorry for the late response. By any chance, are you from the land of Peaches? That may sound weird, but I’m not sure if I know you. Anyhow, here’s my response to each of your paragraphs:
      __________

      God created the earth for Man. The sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath. And just in case we miss the point of God’s creation, God became a Man. He is the Son of Man. Therefore, the point and crown of God’s creation is Man. God loves Man. He died for Man as a Man. Now God’s habitation is Man. You miss the point.
      _________

      It’s a big logical leap to say, “Jesus was a man, therefore the point and crown of God’s creation is Man.” That’s equivocation. “Jesus the Man” and “I the man” are not the same thing. The point of creation is the Glory of God. Man is part of that:

      “22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.” (Romans 9:22-24).

      Man is the means by which the Father is glorified. I’m not sure how that makes man the center of the universe.

      Now I do believe that God does love men. That love isn’t some ooey gooey love, but is displayed in the death of Christ. Christ became a man so that He might satisfy the law of God on behalf of certain men i.e.- that love is only extended to His elect. ”

      37“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:37-40) – the will of the Father is that Jesus not lose any that the Father gives Him. The satisfaction of the Father’s wrath was an actual pardon of debt on their behalf (Colossians 2:14).
      _________

      You know, I stumbled onto a site much like yours several years ago. One which finds fault with every single ministry past and present. One which condemns the innocent and places a stumbling block in front of many who love the Lord. Jesus had much to say about your brood. There is a place for discerning truth from error, but you strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. You neglect mercy for your own judgment. And again, you condemn the innocent. Moreover, you keep on criticizing the just and reasoning in your blog so that people will follow you, just as they did the Pharisees of old. You are their offspring.
      _________

      Have I found fault with “every single ministry?” That’s an unfair assertion. I’m not sure how I’m straining out a gnat when I’m pointing out that Ravi and I have two different gospels. He says God’s greatest gift is “free will.” Please give me just one teeny tiny verse that says that. One is all I need. Contrary to Zacharias, we are told that our hearts are deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), we are naturally hostile to God (Romans 8:7), None are understanding or seek after God (Romans 3:11), can’t do good (Jeremiah 13:23), and slaves of sin (John 8:34).

      I really don’t care if people follow me or not. If I did, I’d be a lot more consistent in my blogging or responses I think. These types of accusations are nothing new. I think it’s ironic that guys like you are so quick and willing to call guys like me Pharisees, while neglecting the reason the Pharisees were condemned in the first place. “Straining a gnat” had nothing to do with calling out false teachers. It had to do with their adding manmade laws to the law. Their problem wasn’t that they called out false teaching. In fact, Christ was calling THEM out for their own false teaching. The Pharisee card is so played out. It’s an ad hominem.
      _________

      The website that I fell into brought all kinds of false accusations and insinuations against great men of faith such as CS Lewis (and I’m sure you have your share of articles condemning him as well) and it caused me great confusion for several YEARS. Now I have come through to the other side of that confusion to see that the fault is not with imperfect ministers of the truth, but with YOU, the one in league with the accuser of the brethren. Think of that, Satan is called the Accuser of the Brethren, and what do you do? You accuse the brethren. I have no sympathy for your type of ministry and it does nothing to promote and spread the gospel. It only spreads suspicion and an evil eye.

      ________

      Well, yes. I’ve written about Lewis. He believed a Buddhist could know Christ without knowing His name, he was an creation evolutionist, believed in purgatory, and prayed to the dead. Yah, you’re right. Why condemn that? By the way, Satan accuses the brethren with the law, not sound biblical teaching. If you don’t think that pointing out false gospels promotes the true gospel, especially when the true gospel is proclaimed, you are confused.
      ________

      You will answer to God for condemning and judging those He loves. No one’s ministry is perfectly in line with every jot and tittle (except yours you might even say) and Ravi Zacharias would be the first one to openly confess his inadequacies and misunderstandings. But you see, the difference is that God is mightily using the likes of Ravi to spread the Gospel far and wide. You on the other hand have your band of readers and followers who share in the condemnation of the innocent. You should be ashamed of your bold-faced accusations of the just. But I know you are not ashamed as you should be.

      Jesus is returning and He will have much to say and to judge regarding you. My wish is not that you would have to suffer on that day as you watch all your works be burned up before the only Righteous One, but that you would repent and “go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” The Lord rebuke you.
      ________

      It sounds like your point is: Ravi is famous and you aren’t, therefore, Ravi is successful and you aren’t. Success should be measured by the orthodoxy of the teaching of Scripture, not numbers. I wonder what your words might be to the apostle Paul, who didn’t put up with any false teaching even for a MOMENT

      “Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.” Galatians 2:4-5

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      1. Dear Dallas and The Protest! Station,
        I think that Professor Ravi was talking about the abilities that man has when he said “gift” as in “free will”. This is because I am sure that the greatest gift is salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ and I am also sure Professor Ravi will not disagree with that.

        Secondly, the Word says that we will know them by their fruit. As far as I know about Professor Ravi, God is using him for His glory. I can see the good fruit of his ministry and teaching. Its true that success or numbers doesn’t define or ensure that a person is right. That is not “fruit”. Look at the writers of books such as “The Da Vinci Code”. They seem to be pretty successful. Even though they don’t have any idea about what they are writing(which is basically false ,especially because its just fiction), they claim it as truth and have a huge following. This is because the people who follow them have read and heard “what their itching ears wanted to hear” and I am sure Professor Ravi is not doing that.

        Let us not condemn and accuse each other. I’m sure that is not what God wants us to do. It is good to expose false doctrine for the benefit of all the saints. But let us also remember that, even though he might be wrong, we all are too in many instances. Let us pray for him and also for one another and love one another just as Christ does.

        God bless both of you.

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      2. Elisha,

        In Matthew 7, we are told to discern false teachers from true teachers by their “fruit.” That fruit is not described as works whatsoever. Rather, it is their confession – what they believe. The apostle John says the same thing about “testing the spirits.” For Ravi to say something like free will being the greatest gift God gave to man, we need to understand that it assumes all sorts of things that we shouldn’t overlook. It proposes that God brings us to a neutral state in which we can then make a free will choice. It assumes that God desires the salvation of each and every individual that has ever lived. It assumes that Christ literally paid a debt for every individual, but they still have to pay for that debt if they don’t believe. It ignores Jesus’ own words about the will of the Father being the salvation of all those He gives Christ. It’s plain to see that not everyone is saved, and so – given His worldview, we must assume Christ has failed.

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  2. Can you please clarify how “God ordained evil” as you said in the fifth point(“We are the point of God’s creation”)

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    1. Elisha,

      God ordained everything that has and will come to pass. That includes the evil actions of men. Everything that will and has happened, He has planned. It wasn’t as though He created people and knew their futures and what they would do from their own free wills. He knows the future because He wrote the future. Take, for instance, the following verses:

      “The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity (evil); I am the LORD who does all these.” Isaiah 45:7

      “‘Have you not heard? Long ago I did it; From ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass, That you should turn fortified cities into ruinous heaps.” 2 Kings 19:25

      “Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?” Amos 3:6

      “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both good and ill go forth?” Lamentations 3:38

      Consider what is written about Pharaoh in Romans 9:17 (which is a reference to Exodus 9:16) – that God raised him for the very purpose of displaying His power through him. We also learn God’s intention in creation from Romans 9:22-24 –

      “22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”

      I hope this helps. If not, please let me know.

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      1. Thank you for replying. I have one question though about the doctrine of “predestination”. It is not God’s will for anyone to be destroyed, God does not delight in the death of the wicked. If that is the case, how can God ordain everything? Is it not rather that God allows certain things because He does not violate our will when we do not obey Him? Can you please help me in this?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Elisha,

        You’re very welcome. The passages you are referencing come from Ezekiel chapter 18 and Ezekiel 33. If we look at the context of these passages, we can see that Ezekiel is replying to something the Israelites are saying – “The fathers eat the sour grapes, But the children’s teeth are set on edge ‘ (Ezekiel 18:2). They are contesting that they are being destroyed for the sins of their father’s and saying it makes no difference what they do. God replies through Ezekiel that this is untrue, and that the Lord grants mercy. It’s not as though He just loves wiping them out and offers no mercy.

        It’s important to also note that there are other passages where God is clearly delighting in the destruction of wicked men:

        The wicked plots against the righteous And gnashes at him with his teeth.The Lord laughs at him, For He sees his day is coming. (Psalm 37:12-13)

        I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, (Proverbs 1:26)

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  3. The Protest! Station,
    Referring to Professor Ravi’s statement about free will, I’m not sure why the assumptions that you are stating arose as such, especially the assumption that God desires the salvation of everyone who ever lived.This assumption is true.

    Yes it is true that not everyone is saved, but Christ died for everyone who ever lived. John the Baptist , when he saw Jesus said,” Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” That means Christ died for all.Why would He die for all if God’s will and desire was not for everyone to be saved?
    1 Tim 2:3-4
    “This is good, and pleases God our savior,who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”

    Secondly , in Ezekiel God says that He delights that the wicked turn from their ways. I agree with you that the context is as you stated. That goes to ensure that God does not delight in the death of the wicked. You also said that God does not love wiping them out which is also true.
    We can further establish this because Psalms 116:15 says that the death of the saints is precious in God’s sight; not the death of the wicked.

    The verses that you quoted don’t mean that God delights in the death of the wicked,but that He laughs at them for God knows their plans and will foil them, making them backfire.As for calamity,it is not the same as destruction or death but turmoil and trouble which will make them realize that they are wrong and must change their ways.

    As for the other assumption that God puts us in a neutral position, I doubt how that arises because Professor Ravi never said it or anything that suggests that. I’ve heard one of his speeches in an open forum where he points out to a student that it is because we are spiritually dead and all fallen short of God’s glory that we need Christ, who came so dead people may live.

    It doesn’t also arise that we have to still pay the debt after Christ has paid it. Its just that a sinner who does not accept Christ refuses His offer of forgiveness. Its like a person who is in debt living with that debt without realizing that someone has already paid for it.
    Also, about the assumption that this ignore the Father’s will and that it means that Christ failed, I’m not sure how that arose too. Professor Ravi also did say that humanity’s will is fallen in another of his sermons . He never suggested that we can be saved by our own will.

    I do hope you understand what I’m trying to put across. If I have erred in anything I have written here please do point out and reply.
    God bless you.

    (p.s. I’m not sure whether to address you as Sir or Madam so if you don’t mind please do tell me.)

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    1. Elisha,

      You can call me Chris 🙂 That’s my real name. And I just realized that the name is unisex. haha I’m a guy. Below is my response to what you’d written.
      _________________________
      Referring to Professor Ravi’s statement about free will, I’m not sure why the assumptions that you are stating arose as such, especially the assumption that God desires the salvation of everyone who ever lived.This assumption is true.
      ________________________
      This assumption isn’t true. Scripture no where tells us that God desires the salvation of every single individual. Maybe you are referring to 2 Peter 3:9? I’ve written about that on this site. You can find it in the ‘articles’ section along with answers to the most common free will Scripture arguments.
      ________________________

      Yes it is true that not everyone is saved, but Christ died for everyone who ever lived. John the Baptist , when he saw Jesus said,” Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” That means Christ died for all.Why would He die for all if God’s will and desire was not for everyone to be saved?
      ________________________
      John the Baptist is speaking to Jews, and tells them that Jesus is the Lamb that takes away the sins of the “world.” What did that mean to the Jews who thought the Messiah was coming for the Jews? It meant that Jesus wasn’t just saving Jews. He was going to save people from all over the world.

      Do you see the assumption you are making though? Look what you read into the verse you quoted: “Why would He die for all if God’s will and desire was not for everyone to be saved?” Where did John the Baptist say Jesus died for all? In fact, if we were going to take the Scripture as literally as I think you are arguing for, then we’d have to believe that everyone everywhere is forgiven. Did Jesus take away the sins of everyone everywhere? Then they have no record against them, and could never go to hell, otherwise Christ’s sacrifice was imperfect and powerless to save perfectly.
      ________________________

      1 Tim 2:3-4
      “This is good, and pleases God our savior,who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”
      ________________________
      I’ve answered this Scripture on this site to. I encourage you to check it out in the ‘Articles’ section. Read the passage in context. Paul is telling the people to pray for “all men.” But Paul qualifies who “all men” are – he is referring to “all” types of “men.” This is clear when he says, “kings, etc.” And those were the very types of people who would be persecuting the Christians. Paul is telling them not to discriminate against vocations. Pray for everyone – cops, government, ice cream men, or lawn men.
      ________________________

      Secondly , in Ezekiel God says that He delights that the wicked turn from their ways. I agree with you that the context is as you stated. That goes to ensure that God does not delight in the death of the wicked. You also said that God does not love wiping them out which is also true.
      We can further establish this because Psalms 116:15 says that the death of the saints is precious in God’s sight; not the death of the wicked.

      The verses that you quoted don’t mean that God delights in the death of the wicked,but that He laughs at them for God knows their plans and will foil them, making them backfire.As for calamity,it is not the same as destruction or death but turmoil and trouble which will make them realize that they are wrong and must change their ways.
      ________________________
      Either way, God isn’t wringing His hands, downcast, and heartbroken over their rejection of Him.
      ________________________

      As for the other assumption that God puts us in a neutral position, I doubt how that arises because Professor Ravi never said it or anything that suggests that. I’ve heard one of his speeches in an open forum where he points out to a student that it is because we are spiritually dead and all fallen short of God’s glory that we need Christ, who came so dead people may live.
      ________________________
      My point is that Ravi believes in Free will. I doubt he is a Pelagian. As you have stated, Ravi claims we fall short. That doesn’t contradict what I said though. The Arminian prevenient grace view holds that God gives us grace to be able to believe, but we make the choice from there. It’s unbiblical, and philosophical. Ravi considers himself a ‘moderate Calvinist’ which is a term created by Norm Geisler. Well, I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone that moderate Calvinism is a obfuscating way of labeling Arminianism.
      ________________________

      It doesn’t also arise that we have to still pay the debt after Christ has paid it. Its just that a sinner who does not accept Christ refuses His offer of forgiveness. Its like a person who is in debt living with that debt without realizing that someone has already paid for it.
      ________________________
      But that isn’t how debt works. If my car is paid off, whether I know it or not, the tow company will never come and repo it no matter what. The debt is paid. The only reason anyone is penalized for debt is in the case that it stand unpaid.
      ________________________

      Also, about the assumption that this ignore the Father’s will and that it means that Christ failed, I’m not sure how that arose too. Professor Ravi also did say that humanity’s will is fallen in another of his sermons . He never suggested that we can be saved by our own will.
      ________________________

      Well, let’s think of what Jesus said logically. Below are Jesus’ words from John 6 about the will of the Father. I’ll comment in the parentheses.

      37“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

      (We are told that there are those the Father gives to Jesus. He says they “will” come to Him. He says Those who come to Him will “not” be cast out.)

      38“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

      (Jesus came to do the Father’s will)

      39“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

      (The Father’s will is that Jesus not lose any that the Father gives Him.)

      40“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

      (Jesus is restating verses 37 and 39)

      41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.”

      42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, I have come down out of heaven’?”

      (The Jews are obviously unbelieving, confused and angry about Jesus’ teaching.)

      43 Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.

      44″No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

      (Jesus just continues to hammer on the His role and the Father’s role. The Father gives those to Christ, Christ raises them. Only those who have been buried with Christ will be raised as He was.)

      (John 6:37-44)
      ________________________

      Hope this helps 🙂

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      1. Chris,
        Thanks for the reply. I’m getting what your’e saying and it does help .I have one more query. Does it imply that some people are destined for hell no matter what?
        One more thing, does that mean Christ died only for some people and not others?
        I don’t think that God wants anyone to go to hell in the sense its God’s will for the person to go to hell.Can you please clarify?
        Thanks a lot and God bless.

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      2. Elisha,

        Yes, it does imply that some are destined for hell no matter what. Keep in mind, though, that unless you believe that God doesn’t know the future, then you believe the same thing. There are some that believe God doesn’t know the future. They are called “Open Theists.” Then there are others who believe that man has free will and that God chose them based on their response to the gospel. I say they also believe some are destined to hell no matter what. They believe that before God created the world, He knew who He would create and saw what they would do. He decided to create them anyways. God knew what Hitler would do. He created him anyways. God knew what Charles Manson would do. He created him anyways. God knew that Joe Schmoe would never believe, and would ultimately go to hell. He created him anyways. The free will position doesn’t escape the argument.

        The weird part is that those who hold to free will say that God still chose to create people who would go to hell because He wants to respect their free will. You’ll never find that argument in the Bible. Rather, Romans 9 is very clear about why God has created some for death and some for everlasting life:

        14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!

        15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”

        16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

        17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.”

        18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

        19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”

        20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?

        21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?

        (Verses 22 – 23 give us the answer)

        22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

        23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

        24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

        (Romans 9:14-24)

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  4. Chris,
    I hav a few more questions. In John 3:16 the Word says:
    “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son ,that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
    What would you say the word “world” and “whosoever” means here?
    And about the way debt works according to you, have you ever asked God to forgive you for something you’ve done? I know I have for sure.
    If debt works that way,and it has been paid, does it imply that we don’t need to ask God for forgiveness?
    Please do clarify this.
    God bless you.

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    1. Elisha,

      In John 3:16, Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus, a Pharisee. The term “world” to Nicodemus would’ve been meant to show Nicodemus that God’s atonement isn’t just for the Jews, but the Gentiles too. The term “whosoever believes” is the English translation for the Greek “pas ho pisteuwn.” The term “whosoever” actually doesn’t exist in Greek. “Pas ho pisteuwn” literally translated is “everyone believing.” But, I won’t pretend to be a Greek scholar, so let’s just read it in the English:

      “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son ,that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

      This is the way it is normally read by those who hold to free will:

      “For God so desired to save every single individual who has and who ever will exist that He gave his only begotten Son, that those who use their free will to chose God shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

      But obviously, John 3:16 doesn’t say that. All it says is that those who believe will have eternal life. There isn’t a discussion in this verse about the ability of man to believe or not apart from God changing their heart of stone. We shouldn’t base our doctrines on verses that aren’t explicitly teaching a particular doctrine. Free will is only forced onto this text. It’s not taught here. We do, however, have verses that clearly teach that our hearts are deceitfully sick, hostile toward God, we were enslaved to sin, children of wrath, unable to change our lust for evil.

      Our debt was paid once and for all by Christ. In fact, when he said, “It is finished,” He literally said, “It has been paid.” We don’t ask God for forgiveness so that He continues to bestow forgiveness of our sins to us. Rather, as a child who does wrong against his father, we recognize our sin and express our sorrow over it. Nothing the child does, though, will alter the status of child-father relationship.

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  5. Chris,
    Thanks for the reply. I have a few questions though. Does it imply that everything ever done and said on earth was willed by God? So you mean there is no such thing as free will?
    In Hebrews 6 the apostle Paul warned about falling away.
    What about those who have tasted God’s grace and forgiveness but fell away or backslid? No doubt God still loves them… They had been forgiven right?

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    1. Elisha,

      I apologize again for getting to you so late. Been extra busy with work stuff. Yes, everything ever done and said on earth was willed by God. There is no such thing as free will, and you won’t find it in the Scriptures. People will use verses that say, “Chose who you will serve” etc, and say, “See! Free will!” But these verses don’t explicitly teach it. That’s just creating a doctrine from implication. I can implore someone to believe the gospel, but that doesn’t mean that if they do, they did it out of their own “free will.” We know that men are born dead in sin, and only God can give them life. That life must precede faith. The heart of stone must be replaced with a heart of flesh.

      I can still warn people of “falling away” too. In other words, there are people within the congregation who may be like those particular seeds in the parable Christ told. Some might say they believe the gospel, as many do, but then turn their back on it. For instance, John talks about those who were of them, but walked away, and were shown to not be of them. I’ve known too many who appear zealous and love the Scriptures, and a year later they also believe the Q’uran and Buddhism and all kinds of junk. Keep in mind however, that they were never saved to begin with. Christ tells those in Matthew 7, at judgment, that He “Never knew them” despite the fact that they performed various miracles in his name, etc. We also know that Christ’s sheep hear His voice and will never listen to another, and that no one can snatch them from His hand.

      Keep in mind that Hebrews is a book where the author is warning the Jewish people about going back to the temple practices. They might have been in the congregation, but if they are going back to sacrifice at the temple, the blood of animals that is repeated over and over again, then they don’t believe in the final sacrifice of Christ. Those things were shadows whose substance was Christ.

      I hope this helps,

      Chris

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  6. Also I’ve heard Professor Ravi speaking on the lostness of man and the condition of the human heart. I’m sure he would not say that we chose God out of our free will.

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    1. Elisha,

      Ravi, along with others like him would adhere to the Arminian view of prevenient grace or (grace that comes before). This is a view that men are indeed born in sin, but God has given everyone, without exception, the ability to choose Him. So, on the one hand we are born dead in sin, but on the other, we have the free will to choose to believe the gospel. It’s 100% philosophical, and you wouldn’t be able to find this in the Bible.

      Like

  7. Chris,
    Thanks for the reply and no problem. Its not late. Yes I’m getting what you’re saying. I have a few questions though and please don’t mind.
    Matt. 23:37 says,
    “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often I have desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”

    Here, Jesus said that He “desired” but “they were not willing”.

    Also, is it possible for someone who has not been saved to actually perform miracles in His name? These signs only follow them that believe right?
    Does it not rather mean that they were not doing God’s will and not living lives that please Him that He says that He never knew them?

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  8. Elisha,

    Concerning Matt 23, check out what I wrote about it in the Articles section for a fuller explanation. The article is called “The Broodless Hen.” In fact, at the bottom of this page, to the right, is an arrow pointing to that article. But, just as a quick explanation, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees. He tells them that He has desired to gather Jerusalem’s children, but they (the Pharisees) were not willing. Now, here’s a few ways this is oftentimes read:

    1. I wanted to gather the children, but you didn’t let me, so I couldn’t.
    2. I wanted to gather the children, and pleaded with them, but out of their free will, they weren’t willing.

    But it doesn’t say this. It just talks about two desires. 1. Christ’s desire to gather the children. 2. The Pharisees desire against that. In other words, the Pharisees were not on the same page as God, something they prided themselves on.

    In regard to your last questions, yes, people could certainly perform miracles in His name without being saved. That’s exactly what Matthew 7 says, after all. When Christ was telling the disciples about the signs that would accompany the destruction of the temple (in 70 AD), He said, “”For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” And there are historical records that talk about false Christs that had arisen that were healing men of blindness, commanding lightning to come to the ground, and a bunch of other crazy stuff like that. Regarding Matthew 7, no, Jesus isn’t teaching that we need, “Better works.” The purpose of Matthew 7 is that when these people are making their case before God as to why they are saved, they are pointing to their works and efforts instead of the work of Christ on behalf of all who believe.

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    1. Chris,
      I’ve read the article you referred to and it is helping. As for the false Christs and false prophets, I doubt the fact that they did their miracles by the name of our Lord. I mean it would rather be the devil’s work because even he can masquerade as an angel of light and so on. Remember the incident in Acts 19 where those Jews tried to cast out the demon from a man in Jesus’ name but were attacked. by the man.

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      1. Elisha,

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that they were saved. They were certainly self deceived, thinking that they were doing the Lord’s work, but were not. I certainly think the devil has power too, and could be behind it.

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  9. I stumbled across this site while doing some research. I don’t mean to address everything that was written, but I do take exception with one point and I’d like to comment on it. It seems you are suggesting that God created some people with immortal souls for whom He’d practically damned to hell from the get go, offering them neither the grace nor free will to choose otherwise. It seems to me that that is the very definition of cruel. Its taking two prisoners and setting one free while condemning the other to death though they are guilty of the same crime. I cannot believe a loving God would do such a thing, those are the actions of a monster, not a God. Its suggesting that Christ’s blood wasn’t sufficient to cover all men. There are so many verses that I believe back my position, but I’d like to understand how you come to your conclusions logically first. Thanks.

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    1. Hi, Dennis,

      I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I’ve been pretty busy lately with work, and am just now seeing your comment. I think the Scriptures are totally logical and that logic is part of God’s character. That’s why, being created in the image of God, we employ logic and reasoning. Unfortunately, we are also fallen, and our logic and reasoning is poisoned by our sin nature. This causes us to judge things anthropocentrically – or in a man-centered manner. I think if we start looking at Scripture logically with this bent, then we fall into a trap of allowing logic to override what the Scriptures say.

      An argument that says, “Two guys are guilty of the same crime, and the judge lets one off, and not the other. That’s not fair” is a man centered one. It’s looking at things from the standpoint of the prisoner, and not the judge. What’s “fair” is that both men get sentenced. There is no obligation whatsoever on the part of the judge to free both of them. He is acting mercifully. But there is also another issue with your argument. It’s not a biblical one, in that it shows the judge just simply forgiving willy-nilly.

      That’s not what God does. God has the punishment fall on another. Paul tells us in Colossians that it is a debt that is paid and nailed to the cross. The reason the prisoner no longer has a sentence is because his offenses were pardoned after having been paid by another. If a debt is paid, then there is no way that a penalty for not paying it could befall the one who owes it.

      Think of this logically: 1. I have a car debt. 2. The car debt is paid by another. 3. My car is not repossessed (ie I’m not penalized). Given the doctrine of universal atonement, though, the bounds of logic are suspended dangerously. Here’s how: 1. I have a car debt. 2. The car debt is paid. 3. My car is still repossessed (Ie I am penalized). The fundamental issue with this line of thinking is that it calls into question Christ’s ability to satisfy the debt once and for all. We are left having to believe that nothing actually really happened at the cross, other than a “possibility” was opened.

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