I have been looking for this book since November 5, 1990. That was the day I completed reading the book: Chosen by God (By R.C. Sproul).
Sproul introduced me in a whole new way to the depth and richness of the doctrine of the sovereignty of God—like water to a drowning man. From that day forward there has been a deep settled peace in my heart concerning life in general, my life in particular and my salvation specifically. I will forever be grateful (and indebted) to R.C. Sproul for this.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that Sproul also introduced me to what Geisler would term “extreme Calvinism”.
Most of what Sproul wrote I was comfortable with, but there was one alarming concept introduced to me which has troubled me ever since I first read Chosen by God back in 1990.
What troubled me was the concept of “Limited Atonement”.
Limited Atonement is the belief that Jesus didn’t really die for everyone—just those few special people who God decided for reasons we do not know to “elect”.
The rest of the poor blokes out there could not be saved even if they wanted to. Actually, according to extreme Calvinism even those that are saved did not “want” to be saved (how can a dead man want anything?). Instead, God simply forces a few whom He elects to be saved and they’re dragged into Heaven kicking and screaming whether they want to go or not.
Of course that is not how it is presented but for all practical purposes that is how it goes.
That concept started me on a journey that has been troubling. Here I was, preaching a gospel that declared that God loved the whole world and that God had graciously endowed everyone with the ability to hear the Gospel and believe so that “whosoever” could be saved (John 3:16). Yet people who I admired and respected told me that this was not really the case (R.C. Sproul, John Piper, and Robert L. Reymond for example).
How could that be? Enter Norman Geisler and his book “Chosen But Free.” Broadly, Geisler addresses extreme elements of both Arminianism and Calvinism weaving in sound reasoning and clear exposition from Holy Scripture. I consider Chosen But Free one of the most important books I’ve ever read and recommend it highly—for me it has been a game-breaker.
Thank God for Norman Geisler and R. C. Sproul; in the end they have both helped me tremendously.