ROMANS 9 AND OLD TESTAMENT CONTEXT


5 Reasons Why I Stayed Out of Calvinism

2. Calvinism Excludes the Old Testament

“And the Lord said to her: Two nations are in your womb; two peoples will come from you and be separated. One people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” (Gen 25:23)

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. Yet you ask, “How have you loved us?” “Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” This is the Lord’s declaration. “Even so, I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau. I turned his mountains into a wasteland, and gave his inheritance to the desert jackals.” Though Edom says: “We have been devastated, but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of Armies says this: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called a wicked countryand the people the Lord has cursed forever. Your own eyes will see this, and you yourselves will say, ‘The Lord is great, even beyond the borders of Israel.’” (Malachi 1:2-5)

Under what circumstances would you conclude that either of these passages are speaking with specific reference to God’s special salvific favor upon the individual Jacob or his irrevocable hatred towards Esau? In fact, in Genesis 33, Esau runs to and embraces his deceitful and treacherous brother Jacob a lot like the father graciously welcomes the prodigal son in Luke 15. Therefore, why would Paul be quoting these passages out of context in Romans 9 to talk about God’s plans to save Jacob and damn Esau before they were born or “done anything good or bad”? After all, the passage in Malachi was written some 13 centuries after the twins’ deaths! Since Romans 9 is a lynch-pin passage for Calvinists in Scripture, the Old Testament passages quoted there must be kept in view and ultimately do not support their reading of it; unless, of course, we permit Paul to quote these passages out of their OT context.


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