At the request of Ken Temple, I became involved in his Beggars All thread, Answering the charge of “rape” against the doctrine of God’s effectual grace -Part 1. In his opening post, Ken wrote:
The very Biblical and Reformed teaching of God’s effectual grace, where He internally calls, draws, and changes the sinner, is anything but rape. God’s effectual calling is sweet love, grace, and joy. Many Christians from an Arminian theological perspective also call it, “rape” or “spiritual rape”.
In my first post to Ken, I responded with:
I personally do not like the term “rape” for the Reformed position concerning regeneration (i.e being born again) prior to belief. Yet with that said, I think I understand why non-Reformed folk invoke the term, for despite protestations, when one breaks down Reformed soteriology, one is left with the fact that regeneration occurs against the will of the unregenerate sinner—the sinner has NO CHOICE in the matter; as such, there is some truth to the claim that it is “a forced love”.
My assessment must have ‘hit-a-nerve’, for a number of the responses (not all) directed at me were openly bitter and hostile (with one poster even resorting to dishonesty to further his rather dark agenda).
Anyway, it is what it is…
With that said, I would now like to get to the primary reason why I have started this thread. Prior to this morning, I had thought (with Ken it seems), that within the Christian paradigm it was only non-Reformed folk who employed the terms/phrases “rape” and “spiritual rape” to depict the Reformed understanding of the “effectual/irresistible call”; however, I was wrong about this, for this morning I came across the following:
God does not violate our wills?
Moral Necessity writes: Remember that God does not violate our wills, and force them to go in a direction opposite to them, hence we are responsible for our choices. Our wills are governed by our nature. But, he has now imparted his Spirit within our nature or persons, and he does both impose and withdraw his Spirit, in varying degrees of activity, within ourselves.
Yea, the part about God does not violate our wills. Dr James White says that God ordains the means and well as the ends. Or, he works in us to change our wills (as I understand it). Isn't that almost the same as violating our wills?
"Jonathan Edwards has sometimes been quoted—notably by R. C. Sproul—as referring to the irresistible call of God as the "holy rape of the soul," but the phrase does not appear in Edwards' Works. Instead, the phrase seems to have been coined by Puritan scholar Perry Miller, and most Calvinists distance themselves from it."
Would not we say that the "holy rape of the soul" violates our will?Or maybe you do not agree with that statement.
I am not dogmatically making a statement here, but would like to discuss it. (Post by pm at THE PURITAN BOARD)
After reading the above, I wondered if R.C. Sproul himself had actually used the phrase, “holy rape of the soul”—the following Google searches revealed that he did:
Unlike the Arminians who use such terms/phrases in a negative sense, Dr. Sproul does so in a positive sense.
For the record, as I clearly stated more than once in the BA thread linked to above, I personally DO NOT ENDORSE such terms/phrases—whether they are used in a negative or positive sense. But I do wonder if there are any readers out there who support Dr. Sproul’s positive use of the phrase, “holy rape of the soul”, to describe the Reformed teaching of the “effectual/irresistible call”.
Grace and peace,