A Question I Was Asked:
'Can Satan Prevent God From Adding People to the Church - Or Not?'

Here is the Actual Question:
"In your article on Christians being unable to bind Satan during this church age, because God has already bound him, you state that Satan cannot prevent God from adding people to the Church during the present age, but as we all know, many people are rejecting God and Christ at the present time.

Then in your article on 'false conversion' you quote the Parable of the Sower of the Seed which pictures Satan snatching people away from God's calling which appears to be during the church age.

Is this a contradiction?

To be honest, I also would have stated that Satan cannot prevent God from adding people to the Church but I am now wondering about this.

Is the position which you and I hold a contradictory one?

I would love to read your answer to this and thank you for all the answered questions which went before. I know that any answer coming from you is biblical and that you have no denominational axe to grind."

My Reply:

Okay. The two articles in question are:
Can Christians Really Bind Satan or his Demons?
Just What is "False Conversion"?

Actually, there is no inconsistency in the comments made in these two articles.

Let me restate this point in order to clarify this whole matter:
Satan cannot prevent God from calling those whom He (God) wills to call, at the time He wills to call them, but as the latter article explains, the New Testament uses the concept of 'calling' in two different ways. There is a sense in which anybody who has heard the name of Jesus and ever been invited to a Christian Bible study has received a 'call.' But that is the looser sense of calling. 'Many are called but few are chosen' is an example of this looser sense of calling.
But - and in fact more often - the New Testament also uses the concept of calling and election in a specific sense, referring to those who receive a specific call from God. I would refer to this as an 'Elective Call.' Here are one or two examples of this:

'All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.'
(John 6:37)

'No-one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.'
(John 6:44).

Interestingly both these examples are from John 6 and John 'majors' rather a lot on the specific and elective call of God. Notice, the Scripture states, 'All that the Father gives me...' therefore it starts to become obvious that the Father has decided that certain people (in fact, the majority of people at the present time), are not receiving this specific call right now. Those matters are in God's capable hands. This does not mean that those people are simply and necessarily "doomed for hell" - It simply means that those people will not be part of the Church during the present time. Maybe God will allow death-bed repentance to come to many of them, maybe God has other means to save them at some future point. There is no doubt that some people will discover that they are saved only on the Day of Judgment! Presumably such people could not have been part of the instituitional church (Matthew 25:31-46). Such people obviously had the law of Christ written on their hearts and come under the umbrella of God's bounteous grace (Romans 2:12-16). Yet many others, tragically, will finally reject God.
God will allow the choices we have made in this life (those made after the age of accountability) to be eternal choices. If a person has spent this life hating religion and hating God and encouraging others to reject God that person can have no cause for complaint on finding himself eternally shut out of the kingdom of Heaven!

In the Parable of the Sower, only one group become converted, the other three groups lose out. God allows Satan to snatch them away - I repeat, He allows it. Do they, therefore, lose out forever? I don't know, but I don't personally think that the entirety of this group will necessarily lose out eternally, yet God does not intend them to become converted during this age of the Church. But Satan only does what God allows him to do. God has a master-plan and He has not yet revealed the entirety of that to us - only the parts which we currently need to know and understand during the present age.
Because God has not yet clearly revealed to us how He will deal with countless thousands who never even knew the name of Christ during their lifetimes does not mean that we should just do ahead and assume they are headed for Hell simply in order to make our theologies all neat and tidy and logical with no loose ends!

God is sovereign and He is entirely in control of His salvation master-plan. He has clearly told us what we need to know at the present time - but other things currently remain hidden: that is His prerogative. However, the Bible does contain numerous hints and suggestions of a final, possibly lower-level, broader salvation to come much later in the divine schedule. This is far too big a subject to cover here, but I would recommend a careful reading of An Evangelical Inclusivist Defends Evangelical Inclusivism. However, even right now, we can learn a lot by considering that our God is merciful, loving, caring and forgiving and that He allows mercy to triumph over judgment.

So to return to the original question: Satan cannot prevent those whom God is calling into the Church at the present time from coming into the Church at the present time. The elective and specific call of God is irresistible (John 6:37; Romans 8:29-39). Satan would love to be able to divert these people but he cannot do so. For the rest, God is presently leaving them to Satan's devices. The Parable of the Sower shows us that many come into contact with Christianity who are not yet being called in the specific/elective sense of 'calling' - at least at the present time. Yet it goes beyond what the Scriptures clearly tell us to decide that all of these people will simply go to Hell and we should not entirely lose hope for these multitudes who are being currently allowed to remain in darkness. The Holy Scriptures tell Christians what they need to know right now. For the rest, we can have complete confidence in the integrity, planning, wisdom and mercy of our God.
Robin A. Brace, 2006.