Hi Robert, thank you for continuing to participate in the discussion.
First, I want to take the opportunity to say I do NOT oppose the reformed position. That is not my purpose or interest. I have come to realize that there are many sincere brothers, that call themselves reformed, who desire to see God receive the glory in every aspect of salvation.
From the opportunity I have had to consider the reformed position, I see it as systematic theology based upon select passages of scripture. I do not intend to demean or negate a single passage of scripture by categorizing it as select, rather I only mean that the passages that specifically delineate predestination, election, and foreknowledge, are limited by comparison to the volume of scripture in general. I hope this is not a point of contention.
I believe if I were to attempt, I could recall most of these select passages by memory. I don't believe typing all of them out would even require a great deal of space, especially if we disallowed certain passages where election is only implied but not explicitly stated. I have read some posts where brothers have typed out the bulk of these scriptures right here on the forum. It is worth stating that the fact that these passages are limited in volume does not mean they are not decisive in nature or importance.
It is not easy to analyze oneself, but your questions and those of others have provoked that attempt and I hope to benefit from the process. I have recognized that I do not place the same weight on select passages that brothers who call themselves reformed do. For example, Isaiah's prayer and confession regarding apostate Israel - "all our righteousness is as filthy rags". I do not believe God viewed the righteousness of Job, or Noah, or Enoch, or Abraham as filthy menstrual rags. That statement should be understood as addressing the condition of the people Isaiah was interceding for. I believe that when the record of scripture states a man or woman was righteous and God fearing, that this is how God viewed them.
Here is where our logic appears to diverge. You have adequately expressed why you believe select passages of scripture necessitates a prevenient action on God's part in any circumstance where a man or woman has been described as righteous. Thus, your view necessitates that the large volume of scripture be submitted to the scrutiny of the select passages that reformed theology is founded upon.
Like a child, I take it at face value that God desires all men to be saved and genuinely offers that salvation to them through the preaching of the Gospel. What happens to men and women who have never heard the gospel is a matter too high for me. I don't try to grasp it because I do not believe it wise to attempt to do so. That is why there is no conflict for me.
Like a child, I believe Jesus died for all men, and that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish. I do not feel compelled to subject that statement to the scrutiny of "election". Like a child, I read our Lord's parable of the Wedding Feast and consider so tragic that the men who had been invited chose not to come. I have no desire to attempt to subject our Lord's words to Reformed theology.
When I read that Jesus wept over Jerusalem because He so longed to gather the people to Himself, I simply take His compassion as a beautiful expression of God's heart. Nothing compels me to introduce the idea of election into my appreciation of the passage.
I honestly do not wrestle with or even consider it a problem that God loves the world and yet so few are saved. If that makes me naïve, so be it - I am comfortable in my simplistic understanding.
In my own limited understanding, I have no need to attempt to apply a logic to God at all. I am able to enjoy the simplistic perspective that if God asked men to do something, He desired them to do it. I never want to lose that simplicity. My heavenly Father is blameless in regards to His judgments. My Father can do no wrong in my eyes. I do not claim to understand all of My Father's wisdom and decisions; they are too much for me.
Do children look for "internal logical consistency"? Maybe the prodigies do, but not this child. My Father will take care of His responsibility to communicate His message. He has some fascinating ways to do it. The heavens declare His glory, the skies proclaim the work of His hands every day. At night my Father's knowledge is displayed and every day is another speech. My Father's message reaches every place on the entire earth. My Father even has a lady named wisdom who He told me calls out to every man trying to get them to allow her to teach them about My Father's ways.
I can't explain how my Father does it, but He has told me that every day He attempts to make Himself known in every place on the earth and to all people. He told me that He looks down from heaven to see if there is anyone who understands Him. I will never be able to explain everything about My Father, but I can tell you that my Father is good and if He says that He wants everyone to be saved, that is what He means.
Alan and Dina Martin