Q&A 14: What are your thoughts about irresistable grace?

Question: What are your thoughts about irresistible grace?


“Irresistible grace” is as unfortunate a term as is “limited atonement.” A far better way to describe this teaching is “effectual calling.” Those who affirm effectual calling believe that those who are predestined by God to be saved are effectually/effectively called to salvation. This seems to be the clear teaching of Romans 8:28-30 for example. They are not forced to come but they freely and willingly do so. Again as with the doctrine of unconditional election, there is a tension here. Effectual calling works in concert with freewill and our human responsibility to repent and believe the gospel. Timothy George has stated this so very well when he writes, “God created human beings with a free moral agency, and he does not violate this even in the supernatural work of regeneration. Christ does not rudely bolt his way into the human heart. He does not abrogate our creaturely freedom. No, he beckons and woos, he pleads and pursues, he waits and wins.” This particular doctrine naturally raises the issue of the order of salvation. Which comes first: regeneration or repentance in faith? Personally, I believe the Bible says all of this takes place simultaneously or at the same time. I do not think the Bible addresses the logical ordering of the soteriological process, and therefore neither do I.