Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

1 Jul 2012

Should We Pray for God to Save the Lost?

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Most, if not all, Christians would answer that question with an unqualified “Yes.” But in a recent couple of blog posts, well-known Arminian theologian Roger Olson says “No.” In his own words: “In a recent post I said Arminians should not pray for God to save their friends and loved ones.” While this may be shocking to most Christians, Olson is quite honest about the limitations of the Arminian God, who has no power over the libertarian free will of human beings. Thus asking God to save someone unconditionally is impossible, according to Olson. You can find his discussion here and here.

Of course, we can ask God, and God can unilaterally save someone, not because he forces people to accept the gospel against their free will, but because he alone is able to change the rebellious heart of the unbeliever so that he or she willingly, of their own will, repents and believes the gospel. Only God can save the lost—but he can do it, and he is not limited by the depravity of the human will.

4 Responses

  1. Bill,

    I was at breakfast not long ago with a 5pt Calvinist who a dear friend and much, much younger than myself. He is the only believer in his extended family. I asked him if he ever prayed for his family. He didn’t respond. I went on to say, “you have problems praying for your family because you aren’t sure they are elect or if Christ even died for them so why should you waste your time praying for someone that Christ didn’t even die for?” There was a 10 second very awkward pause, then I continued talking about other things, but I had my answer. The bottom line is extreme Arminianism and extreme Calvinism end up at the same place, not praying for the lost because of human logic rather than obeying biblical revelation even if it doesn’t fit into man-made theological grids.

    Grace, Mike

  2. Sam Hendrickson

    Umm, 5 point calvinism is still not “extreme calvinism”–no matter how many times Geisler, Caner or anyone else attempts to poison the well this way. Hyper is hyper–extreme is 100 foot high motocross backflip jumps. Also, proper doctrine does not always mean proper practice–(I almsot added: “unless someone is a biblicist”–but that would be mean.

  3. greg

    Of course we are to pray for the lost. The “gospel” is the power of God unto salvation (to whom) to all that believe. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation (you mean we can neglect it, that sounds like wicked, depraved folks have a say in the matter?) The answer is, You won’t escape if you or me or anyone neglects this great salvation.

    Romans 5:18 “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that bring life for all men.” ………God’s sacrifice of His Precious Son was the justification that brings life for all men, not some, why aren’t all saved then? Because they neglected “so great salvation.” and that is something they did.