So this pastor friend of our's (my dad and myself) has been trying to call me, and has been talking to my dad. My dad has told this friend about our Evangelical Calvinism and our book, and so our friend would like to get some "counsel" from me on how to maybe handle this situation he is currently being faced with in his church (which in a smallish church could threaten to cause some real damage ... I've seen it happen before!). I am not totally sure, yet, what all the exact details are, but I am betting what I just recounted to you is, in general, what is going on. So how might I counsel this pastor friend of our's?
I think first I will explain how the Bible obviously speaks of God as Love, and Triune; that He is not a God of Law, and that He is not a God who is an 'Angry God hanging sinners over hell if they don't turn, and thus avoid the burn'. In fact, just the opposite. God came for us, in Jesus Christ, because He is a God of love; and salvation isn't a policy that He purchases through charging the 'debit card' of His Son as payment. Instead, salvation is the 'kind' of life that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have always known in themselves and for each other; of which God created (and now re-created us in the Son) to participate in for all eternity. In other words, 'eternal life' isn't someTHING 'we' get because God bought it, and now can give it to us; instead eternal life, by definition, is God's life, and He has graciously invited us to participate in it through the Son's priestly life for us. So God has chosen to be God with us, thus allowing us to be us with Him for all eternity as participants in His kind of life---i.e. eternal life.
I think in conversation, I will also discuss some of the background of Calvinism's development, and philosophical foundations; and try to inform this pastor friend how Calvinism is not 'Gospel truth' as his church member, I am sure, uncritically believes it to be. And I think an important place to start for this pastor, with his congregant, will be to talk about who God is (as I just described, a bit); since how we conceive of the Gospel starts there, and nowhere else. His congregant is developing evangelistic methodology based on the symptoms provided by the 'cause' which is his conception and doctrine of God. He needs to critically reconsider how He thinks of God, and then this will reorientate the way he proclaims the good news of Jesus Christ. It will come out something like this:
God loves you so utterly and completely that he has given himself for you in Jesus Christ his beloved Son, and has thereby pledged his very being as God for your salvation. In Jesus Christ God has actualised his unconditional love for you in your human nature in such a once for all way, that he cannot go back upon it without undoing the Incarnation and the Cross and thereby denying himself. Jesus Christ died for you precisely because you are sinful and utterly unworthy of him, and has thereby already made you his own before and apart from your ever believing in him. He has bound you to himself by his love in a way that he will never let you go, for even if you refuse him and damn yourself in hell his love will never cease. Therefore, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour." ~T. F. Torrance, "The Mediation of Christ", 94.