On November 8th, 2017 an Independent Fundamental Baptist Pastor named Andrew Sluder vented his frustration on YouTube over the ideas of Calvinism, calling it both garbage and hogwash. Because he hates Calvinism so much, he aims to refute the doctrines held by Reformed Christians because he is fed up with it.
He starts with Ephesians 1:4-5 to give his biblical idea of election:
“even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will,“
Pastor Sluder first makes a comment about John Calvin, “the guy that basically came up with Calvinism”, leaves out ‘in Him’ of his commentaries on Ephesians. That is because in the previous verse, Eph 1:3, it says ” Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ“ and Calvin uses in Christ instead of in Him.
Anyway, Pastor Sluder goes on to say that Calvinism uses these verses as a proof-text for the predestination to adoption unto salvation, and he wants to show that adoption is actually not related to salvation. He says “Nobody on earth today is adopted. If you are saved, you are not yet adopted.” He then takes us to Romans 8:23 to show that we are yet waiting to be adopted.
“And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
So Pastor Sluder wants us to understand that the adoption is the redemption of our bodies, when we are changed to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29 & 1 Corinthians 15:50-52).
Is this an accurate view of adoption? I do not believe so. If we look right before the provided verse in Romans 8 to verses 14-17 we’re told that those who are led by the Spirit instead of the flesh are heirs to salvation in Christ, adopted as children of God.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”
So we can clearly see that anyone who calls upon God as Father are adopted children of God. We do not have to wait for the redemption of our bodies to be adopted children of God. Though for awhile all of creation has suffered the result’s of Adam’s disobedience until the ‘full realization’ of adoption. Which is clearly revealed again in Galatians 4:5-7:
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
I believe that those who demonstrate to have the Spirit in them and who call upon God as Father are in fact adopted as sons of God and become heirs. An heir to what exactly? Salvation. Where else can we draw this conclusion? Lets look at Ephesians 2 in verses 8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” And 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.”
I certainly could be wrong in my understanding of adoption, but I do not believe that Pastor Sluder presents an accurate account of what it is. I mean honestly, why else would we call each other brothers and sisters in Christ, if not for being adopted children of God? Better Christians than I could handle what Pastor Sluder has presented in other ways, but I hope that this post can at least get some discussion going about adoption so that we can all benefit from it.
The rest of the video includes some misrepresentations of Calvinism that I’m not going to get into right now, but may eventually. Pastor Sluder plans to begin a week long refuting of TULIP starting on 11/13/2017, which I intend to analyze and respond to as they are released. Thanks for reading, and God bless!