Archive for the ‘calling and election’ Category

Why did Oskar Schindler save Abraham Bankier?

January 4, 2013

On June 3, Abraham Bankier, Oskar’s office manager, didn’t turn up at Lipowa Street. Schindler was still at home, drinking coffee in Straszewskiego Street, when he got a call from one of his secretaries. She’d seen Bankier marched out of the ghetto, not even stopping at Optima, straight to the Prokocim depot. There’d been other Emalia workers in the group too. There’d been Reich, Leser … as many as a dozen.
Oskar called for his car to be brought to him from the garage. He drove over the river and down Lwowska toward Prokocim. There he showed his pass to the guards at the gate. The depot yard itself was full of strings of cattle cars, the station crowded with the ghetto’s dispensable citizens standing in orderly lines, convinced still—and perhaps they were right— of the value of passive and orderly response. It was the first time Oskar had seen this juxtaposition of humans and cattle cars, and it was a greater shock than hearing of it; it made him pause on the edge of the platform. Then he saw a jeweler he knew.

Seen Bankier? he asked. “He’s already in one of the cars, Herr Schindler,” said the jeweler. “Where are they taking you?” Oskar asked the man. “We’re going to a labor camp, they say. Near Lublin. Probably no worse than …” The man waved a hand toward distant Cracow.
Schindler took a pack of cigarettes from his pocket, found some 10-zloty bills and handed the pack and the notes to the jeweler, who thanked him. They had made them leave home without anything this time. They said they’d be forwarding the baggage.
Late the previous year, Schindler had seen in the SS Bulletin of Budget and Construction an invitation for bids for the construction of some crematoria in a camp southeast of Lublin. Bel@. Schindler considered the jeweler. Sixty-three or comfour. A little thin; had probably had pneumonia last winter. Worn pin-striped suit, too warm for the day. And in the clear, knowing eyes a capacity to bear finite suffering. Even in the summer of 1942 it was impossible to guess at the connections between such a man as this and those ovens of extraordinary cubic capacity. Did they intend to start epidemics among the prisoners? Was that to be the method? Beginning from the engine, Schindler moved along the line of more than twenty cattle cars, calling Bankier’s name to the faces peering down at him from the open grillwork high above the slats of the cars. It was fortunate for Abraham that Oskar did not ask himself why it was Bankier’s name he called, that he did not pause and consider that Bankier’s had only equal value to all the other names loaded aboard the Ostbahn rolling stock. An existentialist might have been defeated by the numbers at Prokocim, stunned by the equal appeal of all the names and voices. But Schindler was a philosophic innocent. He knew the people he knew. He knew the name of Bankier. “Bankier! Bankier!” he continued to call.
He was intercepted by a young SS Oberscharf@uhrer, an expert railroad shipper from Lublin. He asked for Schindler’s pass. Oskar could see in the man’s left hand an enormous list—pages of names.
My workers, said Schindler. Essential industrial workers. My office manager. It’s idiocy.
I have Armaments Inspectorate contracts, and here you are taking the workers I need to fulfill them. You can’t have them back, said the young man. They’re on the list. … The SS NCO knew from experience that the list conferred an equal destination on all its members. Oskar dropped his voice to that hard murmur, the growl of a reasonable man, well connected, who wasn’t going to bring up all his heavy guns yet. Did the Herr Oberscharfuhrer know how long it would take to train experts to replace those on the list? At my works, Deutsche Email Fabrik, I have a munitions section under the special protection of General Schindler, my namesake. Not only would the Oberscharfuhrer’s comrades on the Russian Front be affected by the disruption of production, but the office of the Armaments Inspectorate would demand explanations as well. The young man shook his head—just a harassed transit official. “I’ve heard that kind of story before, sir,” he said. But he was worried. Oskar could tell it and kept leaning over him and speaking softly with an edge of menace. “It’s not my place to argue with the list,” said Oskar. “Where is your superior officer?”
The young man nodded toward an SS officer, a man in his thirties wearing a frown above his spectacles. “May I have your name, Herr Untersturmfuhrer?” Oskar asked him, already pulling a notebook from his suit pocket. The officer also made a statement about the holiness of the list. For this man it was the secure, rational, and sole basis for all this milling of Jews and movement of rail cars. But Schindler got crisper now. He’d heard about the list, he said. What he had asked was what the Untersturmf@uhrer’s name was.
He intended to appeal directly to Oberfuhrer Scherner and to General Schindler of the Armaments Inspectorate.
“Schindler?” asked the officer. For the first time he took a careful look at Oskar. The man was dressed like a tycoon, wore the right badge, had generals in the family. “I believe I can guarantee you, Herr Untersturmfuhrer,” said Schindler in his benign grumble, “that you’ll be in southern Russia within the week.”
The NCO going ahead, Herr Schindler and the officer marched side by side between the ranks of prisoners and the loaded cattle cars. The locomotive was already steaming and the engineer leaning from his cabin, looking down the length of the train, waiting to be dispatched. The officer called to Ostbahn officials they passed on the platform to hold up.
At last they reached one of the rear cars. There were a dozen workers in there with Bankier; they had all boarded together as if expecting a joint deliverance. The door was unlocked and they jumped down—Bankier and Frankel from the office; Reich, Leser, and the others from the factory. They were restrained, not wanting to permit anyone to detect their pleasure at being saved the journey. Those left inside began chattering merrily, as if they were fortunate to be traveling with so much extra room, while with emphasis in his pen strokes, the officer removed the Emalia workers one at a time from the list and required Oskar to initial the pages. As Schindler thanked the officer and turned to follow his workers away, the man detained him by the elbow of his suit coat. “Sir,” he said, “it makes no difference to us, you understand. We don’t care whether it’s this dozen or that.”
The officer, who had been frowning when Oskar first saw him, now seemed calm, as if he had discovered the theorem behind the situation. You think your thirteen little tinsmiths are important? We’ll replace them with another thirteen little tinsmiths and all your sentimentality for these will be defeated. “It’s the inconvenience to the list, that’s all,” the officer explained.
Plump little Bankier admitted that the group of them had neglected to pick up Blauscheins from the old Polish Savings Bank. Schindler, suddenly testy, said to attend to it. But what his curtness covered was dismay at those crowds at Prokocim who, for want of a blue sticker, stood waiting for the new and decisive symbol of their status, the cattle car, to be hauled by heavy engine across their range of vision. Now, the cattle cars told them, we are all beasts together.

Thomas Keneally, Schindler’s Ark, 136

Why did Schindler pull Bankier out of a cattle wagon full of Jews headed to the gas chambers? Schindler knew him. Schindler chose him. Bankier was no more or less deserving than the others but it was Schindler’s choice and nothing in Bankier that is vital to understand.

So too, God elects the undeserving to eternal life of His own good pleasure because he sets His love upon some (foreknowledge) and passes over others. God alone is free; we deserve nothing but His wrath. We should not ask why some are overlooked but why some are saved at all when justice demanded them also being left to their fate.

Aquinas on God’s purpose in election

November 15, 2011

God chooses to reveal His moral excellence in human beings. He reveals it through His mercy in those whom He predestines to glory, by pardoning them; in others whom He reprobates, He reveals His moral excellence through His justice, by punishing them. This is the general reason why God elects one part of mankind and rejects the other…Yet why in particular He chooses these people for His glory but reprobates those – there is no reason for this except His own will. As Augustine says, ‘Why He draws one but not another, do not seek to know, unless you wish to go astray.’

Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Part 1, question 23, article 5.


Aquinas “

those two men would bring “a message from Magano, the God you seek. Wait for them

June 16, 2011

In the African Country mentioned, there lived a large tribe (in the millions) called the “Gedeos”. In the early 1900′s, these people still had never been reached by the Gospel of Christ. However, they did have an ancient legend that ‘foreigners’ would end up bringing them a message from a certain god called “Magano“. In the meantime, though, they worshiped and sacrificed to an evil god, Sheit’an. They didn’t want to devote themselves to this god, but they wanted to appease him. Since they couldn’t ask Magano’s help, they kept on sacrificing.

As it turned out, this god, “Magano” was actually believed to be the “omnipotent, benevolent Creator [of everything].” A Gedeo man (of some high standing) named ‘Warrasa Wange‘ prayed that Magano would reveal himself to the Gedeo people. Soon thereafter, he had a vision.

In this vision, he saw “two white-skinned strangers” putting up weak, temporary shelters under a sycamore tree in the town of Dilla. He then heard a voice saying that those two men would bring “a message from Magano, the God you seek. Wait for them.” (Side note: In that same vision, he saw temporary shelters as well as numerous sturdy shelters, none of which he had seen before.)

In 1940, Gedeo ‘prophets’ foretold that foreigners would soon arrive with a message from the God, Magano.

Finally, in December 1948, missionaries Albert Brant and Glen Cain rose over the Ethiopian horizon with the intent on bringing the Gospel to the Gedeo People. Because of the political issues, they were advised to setup a mission in the village of Dilla (since others thought it too remote to reach the people).

“With a sigh, he turned the old International toward Dilla. Glen Cain wiped sweat from his brow. ‘This is a hot one, Albert,’ he said. ‘I hope we can find a shady spot for our tents!’.

‘Look at that old sycamore tree!’ Albert responded. ‘Just what the doctor ordered!’

In the distance, Warrasa Wange heard a sound. He had turned just in time to see Brant’s old truck pull to a stop under the sycamore’s spreading branches. Slowly Warassa headed toward the truck, wondering…Three decades later Warrasa (now a radiant believer in Jesus Christ, Son of Magano), together with Albert Brant and others, have established more than 200 churches among the Gedeo people.”

In that Vision, Warrasa was taking down the pole for his dwelling place. This central support was symbolically showing that this experience would change his entire life. It did.

This story is similar to that of the Kareni people to whom Judson went. God had elect many of them to salvation. He had prepared their hearts. But they still needed the gospel to be saved.

Regeneration precedes faith – causal not temporal order

August 6, 2010

The following example may help grasp why (the idea that regeneration preceeding faith and justification does) not occur in some temporal order. In the physical world, consider a pool ball that hits another – ask yourself, does one hit first and then the other? No, both pool balls hit each other at the same time, but it was only the ball rolling with the momentum that actually caused the other to move. In this way, two events can happen at the same time as another even if one event caused the other. This is a causal order, not a logical or temporal order and this expresses a little about how God acts on us. His work comes in from the outside, apart from which we can do nothing. That initial move of regeneration we are passive (sic), but from this regeneration concurrently springs faith, justification and the beginnings of sanctification. How can this be? Because God is not a creature and is not locked into a temporal history as we are. His acts from the outside are what change our heart instantly from a poisoned spring to a fresh spring.. Apart from the Spirit’s work our heart remains dormant or hostile to Christ. Our regenerative grace in Jesus Christ is what makes all the the other benefits spring forth at once.

John Samson

How can I know if I am one of those who have been “given”?

November 24, 2009

(Bunyan’s biographer, Faith Cook, relates how he found assurance and rest for his troubled soul in the second part of John 6.37)

The first half of John 6:37 had formerly terrified him: ‘All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.’ ‘What’, he would think, ‘if my name is not among that number? How can I know if I am one of those who have been “given”?’ At last he found untold solace in the second half of the verse, ‘…and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out’ , for that certainly included John Bunyan!

Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.119

Let a man go to the grammar school of faith and repentance before he attends the University of Election

October 12, 2009

Let a man go to the grammar school of faith and repentance before he attends the University of Election.

John Bradford

From George Whitefield’s Journals (London: Banner of Truth, 1960), p. 491. Quoted in George Whitefield, Vol. 1 by Arnold Dallimore, p. 570.

the ground of election is God’s grace, whereas the ground of reprobation is God’s justice

October 7, 2009

…the ground of election is God’s grace, whereas the ground of reprobation is God’s justice.

Wayne Grudem, Sytematic Theology, p.686