Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why Calvinism?

I was going over the arguments against Calvinistic theology in my mind the other day and I had a picture appear in my mind of a friend asking me, "Why Calvinism?" There are many systems of theology out there, two main ones within Protestant theology, so why settle on Calvinism? I thought about it for a while and I think I have developed a good answer to the question.

It is not a secret that North American Protestant Christianity is a mess right now. We could even broaden that to Western Protestant Christianity. More and more people are moving away from a doctrinal faith towards a pragmatic faith of whatever works. Earlier today I read a blog that decried the emphasis on what the author called the "three B's" (baptisms, buildings, and backsides). It is all about the numbers. When I was an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist pastor, we had a joke that you tell everything you needed to know about a man by three things ... who he is, where he went to school (ie. who trained him), and how many souls sat under his preaching every Sunday morning.

[Extending hand] "Hello sir, I am John Sneed, Liberty University, class of '94, 35 in Sunday morning service." There and then, everything anyone would ever want to know about me was laid bare.

In other quarters we see a drift away from a biblically based faith towards an experience based faith. This is most often seen among the Pentecostals and Charismatics. However, this is not unknown in Baptist life either. Another trend that was well documented in Dr. John MacArthur's book "Ashamed of the Gospel" is a drift towards a buffet approach to Christianity. Today's Christians choose what teachings they want to believe in based on what they think is biblical, what they think sounds fair and right, and what they think requires the least of them to get by. The result of this is the that door is wide open for all kinds of errors and heresies to infiltrate our churches and our denominations. One Mormon bishop boasted that up to 60% of converts to Mormonism in North America come out of Baptist churches. He called Baptist churches the best training grounds for new Mormons there are. This tells me we are doing a dismal job of teaching our members what they believe and why.

Recently, Emergent Christianity has developed which has little or no truth at all. That is to say that Emergent leaders see doctrine as something that cannot be known but is something we encounter on our own personal faith journeys. In short, anything works as long as you are sincere and true to yourself. Friends, whole books have been written documenting these trends I have mentioned here.

What has all this got to do with why I believe Calvinism to be the most God honoring system of theology we have? Consider this quote from Charles Spurgeon, "We care far more for the central evangelical truths than we do for Calvinism as a system; but we believe that Calvinism has in it a conservative force that helps to hold men to the vital truth." Out of the Reformation came five great truths, or solas as they were called. Sola means "only, or alone." In Latin, sola scriptura, sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus, and sola Deo gloria. In English, scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. I believe with all my heart that these five truths are anchors of truth to hold our doctrine fast and faithful to the truth of the Bible. I believe when you begin to move away from any one of these five things, you move more and more into error. I find these great truths most loudly, passionately, and forcefully proclaimed in the system of doctrine called Calvinism. I will go so far to say that every other system of doctrine I am familiar with either denies these truths or waters them down or redefines them to mean other things.

"According to scripture alone, we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone." Read Calvin, read Luther, or Bunyan, or Knox, or Wishart, or Taylor, or Fuller, or Edwards, or Spurgeon, or Camp, or MacArthur, or Piper or the Puritans or hundreds of others and you will see these fives things extolled over and over and over. It is said that our modern theology is a mile wide and an inch deep. We know about a lot of things, but we don't know much about a lot of things. Puritan theology was often times an inch wide and a mile deep. They would pick a topic and they would mine it until they knew it.

And it was always God exalting, Christ honoring, Spirit powered experiential Christianity. It was a Christianity of the head and the heart. Not only a Christianity to be studied, but one to be lived too. And always it was Calvinism, or the Doctrines of Grace, or Reformed theology, whatever you want to call it, it was these doctrines that raised up the banner of sola scriptura. It was these doctrines that taught us of justification by faith alone. These doctrines taught us of salvation by grace alone. These doctrines tied us tightly to the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and taught us life by His glorious works.

Beloved, when I read the scriptures, taking them as my one and only measuring rod fr my life and my beliefs, I am compelled to be a Calvinist. As Luther said, "My conscience is captive to the word of God." Other kinds of Christians don't think or talk like that. But Calvinists do. In the scriptures I see God, high and lifted up. I see man low and helpless. I see God as just, not letting any sin go unpunished in the universe. I see Christ, mighty and capable to save. I see the Holy Spirit moving through the world with power. I see lives changed by the power of the Living God given through His mighty word. and I see all of that taught in the system called Calvinism.

So, I am compelled by scripture to hold the same things to be true that are taught within the Calvinistic system. I am compelled by experience to know that when you move away the truths taught within the Calvinistic system, more and more errors seem to appear. If I am to build my faith upon the Rock of Christ, I must build it on the Christian doctrine that holds me closest to Bible truth. That is why I am a Calvinist.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jesus Actually Saves by C. H. Spurgeon

Even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)

Some preachers and professors affect to believe in a redemption which I must candidly confess I do not understand; it is so indistinct and indefinite — a redemption which does not redeem anybody in particular, though it is alleged to redeem everybody in general; a redemption insufficient to exempt thousands of unhappy souls from hell after they have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus; a redemption, indeed, which does not actually save anybody, because it is dependent for its efficacy upon the will of the creature; a redemption that lacks intrinsic virtue and inherent power to redeem anybody, but is entirely dependent upon an extraneous contingency to render it effectual. With such fickle theories I have no fellowship. That every soul for whom Christ shed his blood as a Substitute, he will claim as his own, and have as his right, I firmly hold. I love to hold and I delight to proclaim this precious truth. Not all the powers of earth or hell; not the obstinacy of the human will, nor the deep depravity of the human mind, can ever prevent Christ seeing of the travail of his soul and being satisfied. To the last jot and tittle of his reward shall he receive it at the Father’s hand. A redemption that does redeem, a redemption that redeems many, seems to me infinitely better than a redemption that does not actually redeem anybody, but is supposed to have some imaginary influence upon all the sons of men. C.H. Spurgeon (1834 - 1892)

This is taken from the Wittenburg Door blog, which got it from the Reformation Theology blog.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Calvinists and Evangelism

One of the most recurring complaints made against Calvinists is that our theology kills our passion for missions. What is so frustrating is that this old straw man has been dealt with over and over and over again by many different writers and speakers. For all the words used to put this dead horse into the grave, it is still one of the most used attacks by non-calvinists against Reformed theology. I doubt this blog entry will put the matter rest once and for all time, but I want to go on record one more time on this topic.

Let me say this as bluntly as I can, Calvinists are passionate about evangelism and missions. Now, having said that, let me interject the inevitable caveat. Of course there may be some Calvinists who are not passionate about evangelism and missions. However, I do not believe that these people exist within Calvinism at any higher rate than they exist within non-calvinist ranks. I been in both Calvinist and non-calvinist churches and I heard sermons exhorting us (listeners) to be more passionate and more about the work of evangelism and missions. It seemed to me to be something that needed to looked at in both Calvinist and non-calvinist churches. To hear the critics of Calvinism tell it, Arminians are the consummate evangelists and Calvinists sit huddled in their churches and say "To heck with the rest of the world."

But nothing can be further from the truth. Believe it or not, in western Christianity there was a time when missions was not a priority. It was a Calvinist, Andrew Fuller, who noted the glaring omission of missions work among the Christians of his day. It was himself and some friends who organized the first foreign mission society. The first people to answer the call to go overseas for the furtherance of the gospel among the lost nations were Calvinists. It is no exaggeration to say that everywhere when you read the history of missions work, or when you read accounts of the people who gave their all to the work of missions, you will find pages filled with the works of Calvinists. When I say these folks gave their all, don't think I only am talking about giving their work a good effort. These men and woman buried spouses, and children, and lost their homes and belongings, often starting over several times, on the mission field. Many of these missionaries were buried among the people they ministered to.

Today, there is not a nationally or internationally known Calvinist who does not often exhort listeners to be passionate about evangelism and missions.

Why is this so? Because the first concern of the Calvinist is the glory of the Living God. Because the Calvinist knows that the problem with humanity is depravity and sin. They also know that the cure is the Lord Jesus Christ. Calvinists know that God has a people who are lost among every tongue, tribe, nation and ethnic group. They also know that gospel, faithfully preached and witnessed to, is God's means for calling His people out of the world to Himself. Calvinists have God's promises that His word will not return to Him void, and that the sheep will hear the Shepherd's voice and will follow him. "All that the Father gives me will come ... " Promises such as this give the Calvinist confidence that God's power will save in His own time.

But the work is not easy. Many missionaries served years before seeing their first converts. Hudson Taylor, of the China Inland Mission, served 7 years before anyone was saved. Spurgeon once said that if God had painted a white stripe down that back of every elect person, that he would go around London raising men's coattails to find the elect and give them the gospel message. But God has not done this. He calls on us to preach the gospel to every creature. Then he promises that "as many as were ordained to eternal life were saved."

Calvinists want to see God worshipped by all His people in every corner of the world. So, for His glory, they are passionate and zealous to carry the message of the forgiveness of sins in Christ to every human on the planet. Instead of killing a passion for evangelism and missions, the doctrine of election gives the Calvinist confidence that sooner or later, if we are faithful to the message, that people will be saved. A Calvinist without a heart for missions and evangelism is an oxymoron. Just as a Christian without a love for their fellow Christians is something that should never be, neither is a Calvinist Christian without a love for the lost people of the world ... from those in their own homes to those in the farthest corners of the planet.

My friend, examine your heart. Whether you are a Calvinist or an Arminian, no Christian ought to be without a passion for the lost of the world. Our passion ought to begin in our own hometowns and never be quenched until we can say the gospel has been preached to every human in the world. To the Calvinist, I say this ... we claim to have the highest form of systematic theology there is. If that is so, we should have the highest commitment to the commands of Christ and to His glory. If we are what we claim to be, it will show in the things we say and the things we DO. As James challenges us, let us be doers of the word and not hearers only.

There may be some few who call themselves Calvinists who do not have a passion for evangelism and missions. I pray this is not the majority. It is not my heart (to be passionless about evangelism and missions). It is not the heart of anyone I know. Honestly, I pray it never is. For the glory of God let us carry His good news into every corner of the world. It is His command and our joy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Moment of Sadness ... er ... Silence ...

Earlier today, Americans installed into office the least experienced, most liberal, most pro-abortion, most pro-homosexual President ever to be the leader of the free world.

Let's take time to observe a moment of silence.

May God have mercy on us all.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Very Religious People

That is what Americans are, a very religious people. Notice I didn't say a very Christian people. But they are very religious. It has been estimated that 98% of Americans believe in God, or a god, or a higher power, or "something out there that is more than us."

I like to follow the apologetic websites. Now, apologetics does not mean we apologize for being Christians. In theology, apologetics is the field of study that deals with the defense of the faith. It shows us the rational basis for what we believe. Well, if you were to take a quick tour of some of the major apologetic websites you would see a variety of beliefs out there.

There are a number of new age beliefs. There is a guy in Florida who is claiming to be the Messiah. And this guy has quite a following. Two guys in Washington state teach that they are the two witnesses in the book of Revelation. Cults are growing exponentially and new ones are starting almost daily.

Even within the Christian Church, you can find all manner of beliefs. Almost every ancient heresy is today being taught in Evangelical churches in North America. All across America people want to touch God. Even though I have mentioned Evangelical churches, the things I am talking about is not limited to those types of churches alone. Every time someone yells "Revival!" people will flock to that place from all over the world. Some of the wildest stories imaginable come from those revivals too. You will hear of gold dust falling from the ceiling. You will hear of amalgam filling being turned into gold. In other churches apparitions of dead saints appear in the most unlikely places ... on telephone poles, underpass walls, slices of toast and elsewhere. And people will flock by the hundreds and thousands to see these things. Some will pay big money on Ebay to own this stuff.

God and god-stuff is everywhere. Self help books, even at Christian bookstores, are big sellers. On TV things like "Ghost Whisperer" and "Saving Grace" and "John Edwards Speaks to the Dead" and other similar TV shows seem to continually find audiences. TV preachers are still big business, drawing hundreds of millions of dollars a year from their faithful watchers. Yoga, Zen, meditation, reincarnation, and even trance channeling dead people have come back into vogue. We live in religious times.

But all of that together won't bring a single soul closer to God. There is a truth. The world has a problem called "sin." And God has come to the earth to deal with the problem we couldn't. God has one "Only Begotten Son" and his Name is Jesus Christ. Jesus has come to show us the way of salvation and the way of life. He is Incarnate Truth. He has saved us and now he lives inside of us. Our lives are changed by meeting our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now our lives are supposed to be living testimonies, living sermons, to the truths we say we believe. We say there is a God who is holy, who saves from sin and gives us the words of life and good. We say that knowing God intimately is a life changing experience. Our lives bear witness to those truths. Scripture says that people will see our good works and glorify the God that brought them about.

You see, we live in a religious world. But what religion misses is the truth. We, on the other hand, have the truth. If the world is going to learn the truth, they will have to learn it from us. It will not be enough to tell them the truth. They have to see it lived out in our lives. The combination of the true words with true living is a combination even Satan can't defeat. Let us all, who claim the Name of Christ, be light to a dark world that is drowning in religion.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"I Believe in God"

This post is inspired by several authors, among them, Dr. John MacArthur and Dr. Erwin Lutzer. I can't forget the upcoming inaugural ceremonies and the many people who will be offering prayers there.

I read today how President-elect Obama has invited the openly homosexual Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson to pray at one ceremony. Bishop Robinson has reportedly studied the prayers of many past inaugurations and has concluded that they are too sectarian and too Christian in nature. He has said there will be none of that in his own prayer offering. Indeed, he suggests, perhaps he will offer his prayer in the name of the "god of our many understandings." My question was "huh?"

You see my friend, one of the goals of 21st century North American Christianity is to be as inoffensive as possible to anyone. Try not to upset anyone. There are many ways of doing that. One is to downplay unpopular doctrines like the existence of hell, or the fact that there is a moral law established by God. You know ... stuff like that.

Another way of not offending people is to make our religion as broad and all inclusive as we can. To that end, we talk a lot about God. God doesn't upset people much because when you use the term "God" it is a nebulous term that can be defined many ways depending on the hearers. God is a big idea. He or she (depending on how you define him or her) is almost too big to wrap your mind around. So, when people are in public, it is popular to talk about God. Many times, on TV, the radio, or the Internet, you will hear that nice phrase ... "Yes, I believe in God." One pollster tells us that up to 98% of Americans believe in "God" or a "higher power" or a "cosmic force" or something "bigger than we are." Think of it ... 98%. God is popular in America.

But not Jesus. If you want to start a fight, and I mean a real knock down, drag out, my fist on your nose, punching match, quote John 14:6 "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through me." Tell people that means you have to have a personal, relational faith in the Person and finished work of the God man Jesus Christ or that person will go to hell. Tell them that and you will end up finding out if you wasted your money on all those self defense lessons.

If you get asked by your state government to open a session in prayer ... if you pray in the "Name Above ALL Names" or in the name of the "Lord our God" or the "Most High One" or some thing like that, no one will bat an eyelash. Finish a prayer in the "Name of Jesus Christ" and you will be reprimanded and banned from ever returning.

Tell people God has one savior for the world, Jesus Christ, and you will be labelled a bigot, a racist, as delusional, as an idiot, as not being in touch with the real world, among other things. People will laugh at you to your face. Or they will marginalize you and shunt you off as a caveman or a nutcase who needs to be put away for the protection of society. Most broadly, it is hip to be religious. It is almost a crime to be a Bible believing zealous follower of Jesus Christ, a Christian, in today's North American society.

We Christians are more and more under attack. Our foundational beliefs are questioned. If a Christian should end up in public life, they are quickly attacked and their intelligence questioned. Not long ago we had an Attorney General for the United States who was a member of an Assembly of God church. In his confirmation hearings, it was claimed that he was unfit for office because he believed the Bible to be true. In Canada, certain provinces are questioning whether public school teachers should be credentialed if they believe in a literal creation. A list of similar things could very easily and quickly be filled.

Charles Spurgeon once asked "Here is the day for the man; but where is the man for the day." This is our day. This is the time in history when the Lord our God has US be born to live in it. It is our time to be the Church and to leave our footprints in history. God, Jesus told us, is looking for those who worship Him in Spirit and in truth. It is time for Christ's disciples, his Body, his Church to stand up and let herself be known. It is time for the general "I believe in God" to give way to the bolder "I am a Christian, a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ." Goodness, 98% of Americans believe in God. How many really believe in Jesus?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Eternal Things ... Real Things

When I was in grad school, I learned about a thing called cognitive disconnect. It means that I have knowledge but for some reason I would fail to apply that knowledge to my life. We say we believe certain things ... things like Jesus is God, that there is a heaven and a hell. But we go through life absorbed with our own small Christian lives.

In this, our critics have a valid criticism of us when they accuse us of playing Christianity for a hobby. We get up, get dressed, and take our fat old Bibles to church. We sing, we pray, we listen to the sermon, then we go grab a bite to eat. When it is all over, we put it all away until next Sunday. But rarely is our decision making or our behavior influenced very much but our Christian religion. When our critics say that about us, they are often right.

But I want my readers to challenge themselves and ask "Do I really believe?" The reason I bring this up is that we are dealing with real things.

When we debate doctrine, it isn't an academic exercise. There is a Baptist saying "Right belief leads to right living." Doctrine matters. They way we believe affects the way we live. We live for the glory of God. Wrong belief leads to sin and robs God of His glory. If there is a real God (and there is ... ) then this is true.

If we get the gospel wrong, then people go to hell. The worse thing we can do to people is to tell people they are saved when they aren't. When a person who is deceived in this way, and then hears the real gospel, they are harder of heart to it. That is why Paul is so adamant about the Galatian Christians holding fast to the truth.

We do all this stuff like it is a game. My mind is swirling around so many ideas dealing with this... when we are in our Sunday worship ... it is not just singing ... it is singing to the Lord our God. Prayers are not just words spoken out loud that we have to do to get through the moment. They are petitions to the Lord our God. We bring the lost the gospel so that the Holy Spirit might call His elect to faith in Christ the Lord. We live as Christians to bring glory to the Lord our God and to give a witness to the truth of the things we say we believe.

But too many times, we don't live like that. Songs and hymns are just songs and hymns. Prayers are just words. The Christian life is no different than any other life. We do what we have to in order to get by. The gospel is an embarrassment that we tell to folks when we are cornered into doing it.

But it ought not to be that way. There is a real heaven. People go there. There is a real hell. And people go there. There is a real God and we live for Him.

Friends, we call on our best and smartest to give their lives in the service of God. Some of them we become pastors. And that is hard. Some of them will become missionaries. Some of those will go to harsh places in the world. Some of them will give their lives as martyrs for the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We Christians deal with eternal things .. and they are real things. These are things that are about life and death. They aren't a hobby. They aren't empty traditions. Beloved readers, isn't it time we acted like the things we believe are true?

Almost every day we read about how this teacher or that church has fallen into sin and compromise. No one wants to offend anybody so we don't tell people hard things anymore. One TV preacher once said his personal philosophy was to tell people things that made them feel good and always to send them home with a smile on their faces. But the Bible has some hard things as well as the good and glorious things. A preacher is unfaithful to Jesus to not tell people both.

Mankind, for all the problems of this world, has one over-arching problem. It is called "sin." God has one remedy for sin, it is called forgiveness and reconciliation through faith alone in the God-man Jesus Christ, our savior. One problem - one solution. But in an effort to be nicer than nice, we don't tell people about the problem and so they never find out they need the solution. Why? Maybe we forget that the things we say we believe are real things. Things that are true. Things that affect people's lives. If we ignore that, or pretend that we don't know it, we are living a lie. Now tell me, what's Christian about that?

Monday, January 12, 2009

From Spurgeon

I have always liked this quote from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon;

"After all, there is a Protestantism still worth contending for, there is a Calvinism still worth proclaiming, and a gospel well worth dying for."

This quote is courtesy of Colin Maxwell, Pastor of Cork Free Presbyterian Church, Cork, Ireland.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Does 2 Peter 3:9 Really Teach That God Wants to Save Every Person?

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9).


On it's face, this looks pretty cut and dried. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. That is what it says. And if this were all it said, it would be case closed. But when I was in school, I learned that the first three rules of Biblical interpretation were "Context, context, context." In context, this verse says something very different that what people make it say.

2 Peter 3 talks about the state of those who deny the coming judgment of God. Let me break this passage down in context and show you what I mean.

In verses 1 and 2 of this chapter Peter tells his readers that is this second epistle he wants to remind them of what had been spoken by the prophets and the apostles. Now this is what he wanted them to remember.

First of all "that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation." (2 Pet. 3:3b-4). Notice ... there would be "scoffers" who deny the coming judgment. They say that everything (in creation) is continuing just as it always had. The sun rises and sets. People are born and die. Death and taxes have not gone away. Everything seems to just keep on keeping on. So they ask "Where is the promise of his coming?"

Peter assures his readers that the judgment is coming. Peter says in verse 5a that these scoffers are willingly ignorant of the things of which they speak. Because God created the earth, and life was going on as normal then, and that world was destroyed by water. And just as that world was destroyed by water, this present world, the world that now is, is reserved to be destroyed by fire against the day of judgment of ungodly men.

But these scoffers scoff because things keep on going as they always have. Time seems to keep on stretching out just as it always has. So Peter adds this next verse to remind us that God does not see time like we humans do. "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (2 Peter 3:8). No, God doesn't see time like we do. Be that as it may, why is God withholding his hand of judgment?

Because the Lord is not slack concerning his promise. What promise? He is longsuffering or patient towards "usward", not willing that any should perish (the context supports the fact that those he is not willing should perish are those included in the group called "usward"), but that all should come to repentance (and again, those God wants to come to repentance are those who God does not want to perish, again ... the "uswards" in the first part of the verse). So, the proper interpretation of this passage hinges on identifying who are the "uswards" talked about in this verse.

The following verses go on to affirm that when all the uswards come to repentance then the judgment of God is sure to follow.

So, what is God's promise that he is not slack about? This verse is telling us that God is patient to see that his promise comes to a full fulfillment. So, first of all, the passage cannot be teaching that God wants to save every single human, because if God is going to bring his promise to a complete fulfillment he has failed in light of the fact that people go to hell. And very few groups claimed that God has promised to save every single human. And all the groups who do affirm that are considered to be outside historic orthodox Christianity. But God has told us about who he will save.

He will save his people (Matt. 1:21), those who believe (John 3:15-16), those the Father has give to him (Christ)(John 6:37), all that the Father draws to him (John 6:44), his sheep (John 10:11), those that the Father has given him (John 17:2), as many as are ordained to eternal life (Acts 13:48), his Church (Eph. 5:25), and other verses. If God has made a promise that he is being patient to fulfill, it is to his elect people.

This passage teaches us about two groups of people, the scoffers who deny the coming judgment, and "us" who are preparing ourselves for the judgment that we know is coming. The group that God has made a promise to, that he is being patient to fulfill, is to the "us" group, not to the scoffers.

So what is our conclusion? God is not unfaithful about his promise. Therefore, God is patient towards "us." He is not willing that any of "us" should perish, but rather that all of "us" should come to repentance and therefore, have everlasting life. And who has the promise of everlasting life? John 3:16 says that everyone who believes .... believers ... no matter what nation or people they are from, they will be saved from God's judgment and have everlasting life. It is not the scoffers, but the believers who have the promises of God for life in Jesus Christ. Therefore, we have to conclude that 2 Peter 3:9 does NOT teach that God wants to save every single human being but that God has promised to save believers, and that is a promise he is keeping. He is holding off his final fiery judgment until his promise is kept. Because in the end, God cannot deny his word.