“Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?” (Rom. 9:18-20)
Passages like the one above can be difficult to swallow. So difficult, in fact, that we may be tempted to take one of two courses. We may try our darnedest to explain it all away (and that usually involves tossing out the plain meaning of the text in favor of something less hard on the ears). Or we may act is if such verses do not exist, which is like trying to ignore a giant purple elephant standing in your living room. In no time flat, we’re doing our best David Copperfield impression: “I will now make this verse… disappear!”
And yet, for all our cheap tricks and shifty-eyed “explanations”, the truth remains: God’s words do not cease to be God’s words simply because they are hard words.
Pastor Doug Wilson makes this very case in his book Easy Chairs, Hard Words. Through a series of fictional conversations between a young believer and a seasoned pastor, Wilson delivers a cogent and beautifully-argued introduction to the Reformed faith, with both feet planted firmly in Scripture. Beginning with the question, “Can salvation be lost?” he wrestles with a number of tough doctrinal issues, including free will, election, and original sin.
One reviewer dubbed this book “the death of Arminianism in plain English.” An apt description, but it might give you the impression that this is a ham fisted attack on all things Wesleyan. Which it is – most emphatically – not. Wilson never stoops to acerbic language, nor does he adopt a smug tone. If you find that reading this book sets your teeth on edge, I would humbly submit that your problem is less with Wilson, and more with the Scriptural truth that Wilson teaches.
You might want to think about that for a minute.