Recently, Dr. James White, a Reformed Baptist (hence, Calvinist) apologist, did some analysis of Dr. Michael Brown’s “Calvinist Call In” radio segment. Dr. White did an excellent job in showing that Dr. Brown’s syngergism is logically incoherent and unscriptural. In good synergistic form, Dr. Brown argued (and this is my paraphrase): It would be unjust for God to command sinners to do what He knows it is impossible for them to do.
White pointed out, as did Luther in his book The Bondage of the Will, that commands do not imply ability. Commands, in fact, logically imply nothing. Thus, it is irrational for the synergist to assert that God’s commands imply man’s ability to perform such commands.White, however, went a step further in refuting Brown’s irrational assertion. Christ, he noted, commands us to be perfect as God the Father is perfect. Now, unless one is a heretic, it is clear that we cannot be perfect as God the Father is perfect. And yet Christ commands us to be perfect.
How does a synergist make sense of this one command from God the Son?
Dr. White gave the above example, and as he did I was reminded of numerous places where God commands the impossible. Here is just a short list of such impossible to fulfill commands. One wonders if Dr. Brown would consider God unjust for commanding them.
1. In Matthew 8:1-4, our Lord Christ commands a leper to “Be clean.” What is important to note here is that the leper had a better understanding of God’s Sovereignty than Dr. Brown does, and states that being healed is dependent upon the will of God, not the will of man.
2. In Matthew 9:1-8, Christ our Lord commands a paralytic to arise, take up his bed, and go home. Christ commands the man to do what is clearly impossible for him to perform. A paralytic, by definition, cannot move. Is this an unjust command?
3. In Mark 5:35-43, God the Word commands a little girl to arise from her death-like sleep. She, it should be noted, is incapacitated in body and mind. He is commanding the impossible. Is He unjust for commanding this little girl to do what she could neither hear nor act upon?
The foolishness of Dr.Brown’s assertion is scary, considering that he professes to be a Christian. God can and does command the impossible, and it is audacious blasphemy to state that Him doing so would constitute a moral failure on His part.
Who are you, o man, to judge your Creator?
Is not all of Creation His to do with whatsoever He wishes?
I appreciate Dr. White’s refutation of Dr. Brown’s unbiblical nonsense, and I hope to see more Calvinists take a firm stand against synergism. Monergism and synergism are not compatible, and if followed consistently their inevitable conclusions are diametrically opposed.
Salvation is the work of God the Trinity alone.
Sola Gratia. Soli Deo Gloria.