Zanchius’ inclusivism

Jerome Zanchius (Girolamo Zanchi) writes the following:

OF REPROBATION, OR PREDESTINATION AS IT RESPECTS
THE UNGODLY.

FROM what has been said in the preceding chapter concerning the election of some, it would unavoidably follow, even supposing the Scriptures had been silent about it, that there must be a rejection of others, as every choice does, most evidently and necessarily, imply a refusal, for where there is no leaving out there can be no choice. But beside the testimony of reason, the Divine Word is full and express to our purpose; it frequently, and in terms too clear to be misunderstood, and too strong to be evaded by any who are not proof against the most cogent evidence, attests this tremendous truth, that some are ‘of old fore-ordained to condemnation.’ I shall, in the discussion of this awful subject, follow the method hitherto observed, and throw what I have to say into several distinct positions supported by Scripture.

POSITION 1.—God did, from all eternity, decree to leave some of Adam’s fallen posterity in their sins, and to exclude them from the participation of Christ and His benefits. For the clearing of this, let it be observed that in all ages the much greater part of mankind have been destitute even of the external means of grace, and have not been favoured with the preaching of God’s Word or any revelation of His will.  Thus, anciently, the Jews, who were in number the fewest of all people, were, nevertheless, for a long series of ages, the only nation to whom the Deity was pleased to make any special discovery of Himself, and it is observable that our Lord Himself principally confined the advantages of His public ministry to that people; nay, He forbade His disciples to go among any others (Matt. 10.5,6), and did not commission them to preach the Gospel indiscriminately to Jews and Gentiles until after His resurrection (Mark 16.15; Luke 24.47).  Hence many nations and communities never had the advantage of hearing the Word preached, and consequently were strangers to the faith that cometh thereby.

It is not indeed improbable, but some individuals in these unenlightened countries might belong to the secret election of grace, and the habit of faith might be wrought in these. However, be that as it will, our argument is not affected by it. It is evident that the nations of the world were generally ignorant, not only of God Himself, but likewise of the way to please Him, the true manner of acceptance with Him, and the means of arriving at the everlasting enjoyment of Him. Now, if God had been pleased to have saved those people, would He not have vouchsafed them the ordinary means of salvation?  Would He not have given them all things necessary in order to that end? But it is undeniable matter of fact that He did not, and to very many nations of the earth does not at this day. If, then, the Deity can consistently with His attributes deny to some the means of grace, and shut them up in gross darkness and unbelief, why should it be thought incompatible with His immensely glorious perfections to exclude some persons from grace itself, and from that eternal life which is connected with it, especially seeing He is equally the Lord and sovereign Disposer of the end to which the means lead, as of the means which lead to that end? Both one and the other are His, and He most justly may, as He most assuredly will, do what He pleases with His own.” (Zanchius, Absolute Predestination; underlining mine–CD)

Let God be true:

“Then faith [is] of hearing, and hearing through the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).

And Zanchius, a gospel-denying liar.

“Faith comes by the HEARING of the GOSPEL. Paul doesn’t say that faith ‘generally’ or ‘usually’ or ‘commonly’ or ‘customarily’ or ‘frequently’ or ‘more often than not’ or ‘on the whole’ or ‘ordinarily’ comes by the hearing of the gospel. The preaching of the gospel is not merely the ‘ordinary’ means by which God saves people – it is the ONLY means by which God saves people.” (Marc D. Carpenter)

Zanchius had said:

“It is not indeed improbable, but some individuals in these unenlightened countries might belong to the secret election of grace, and the habit of faith might be wrought in these.” (Zanchius, Absolute Predestination)

According to Zanchius, it “is not indeed improbable” that God would choose NOT to glorify Himself in the hearts of every single elect person without exception (2 Corinthians 4:6).

“For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3)

Evidently, it “is not indeed improbable” for those being ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel to “belong to the secret election of grace,” and to have “the habit of faith” (whatever that means [1]) wrought in them.

[1] Perhaps this nefarious figment — “habit of faith” — is similar to W.G.T. Shedd’s “regenerate heathen” with a “disposition to believe” or a “potential” or “virtual” faith.

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