The Marshner Challenge to Irresistible Grace

โ€œ๐˜•๐˜ฐ ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ; ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜Ž๐˜ฐ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ง๐˜ถ๐˜ญ, ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ, ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜บ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ, ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ต.โ€ (1 ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ 10:13)

The doctrine of irresistible grace claims under โ€˜sola gratiaโ€™, special grace is salvific and as such it cannot be resisted by the creature. We all agree Godโ€™s mean to escape sin or the corruption of the world is through the grace that makes us participant in his divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

The premises of the promise:

Is Godโ€™s promise to provide a โ€˜way of escapeโ€™ in 1 Cor 10:13 for the Elect or for the rest of the world as well?

๐—”) If it is for everyone, then grace is โ€˜wastedโ€™ by those who resisted it by falling in sin and remain damned.

๐—•) If it is for the Elect, as some may claim then it follows:

๐—•๐Ÿญ) The elect always succeed in overcoming the temptation and therefore have never sinned, and any member who presumes to be of the Elect and sins was never chosen in the first place. But then the Apostle John is lying when he writes โ€œ๐˜๐˜ง ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฏ, ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ด, ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ถ๐˜ดโ€ (1 Jn 1:8).

๐—•๐Ÿฎ) The Elect have sometimes sinned and therefore rejected Godโ€™s grace and โ€˜way of escapeโ€™, making it resistible.

For the Reformed view, the only way out is to claim God has allotted in his decree ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ forms of grace which can be temporarily ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฑ.

โ—‹ Letโ€™s assume the Reformed say it is salvific grace. Even if one member of the elect yields to temptation by resisting Godโ€™s way of escape, it can no longer be considered saving/special grace.

โ—‹ Now, letโ€™s say we are talking about common grace, since this particular grace can be resisted. In this case, premise (๐—”) follows and the Reformed would have to argue against 2 Peter 1:3-4, which identifies Godโ€™s promises to escape from sin and a participation in his divine nature only available to the Elect through the knowledge of Christ.

Even if you disconnect the ideas in 2 Peter from 1 Corinthians (and Hebrews in this case) the Reformed still need to provide an account for the nature of such grace.

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