Since then, a much-respected friend* who knows Dr Wiersbe well has assured me 'Warren is not a Calvinist'. Then, today, I came across this in his 'Be alert' little book, commenting on 2 Peter 3.
- 'The Lord... is long-suffering to us-ward.' Who is meant by 'us-ward'? It would appear that God is long-suffering to His own people!
- Perhaps Peter was using the word us in a general way, meaning 'mankind.' But it is more likely that he was referring to his readers as the elect of God (1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:10). God is long-suffering toward lost sinners because some of them will believe and become a part of God's elect people. We do not know who God's elect are among the unsaved people of the world, nor are we supposed to know. Our task is to make our own 'calling and election sure' (1:10; cf. Luke 13:23-30). The fact that God has His elect people is an encouragement to us to share the Good News and seek to win others to Christ.
- God was even long-suffering towards the scoffers of that day! They needed to repent and He was willing to save them.
Now, you see, apart from one phrase that could be read as if people become elect once they believe - a reading which is denied by the rest of the extract - that IS my Calvinism. Which set me wondering. Do we (who confess ourselves as Calvinists) present such a harsh view, such an unfriendly face, that anyone as winsome as Dr Wiersbe (one of the most winsome men I have ever met) cannot possibly be regarded as one of us? Are we the wrong sort of Calvinists? Or is there some other explanation?
* Here's a clue.