What's Wrong With Calvinism?

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What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#1

Post by 7777777 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:45 pm

i was watching some videos online and was introduced to Calvinism. I have read about TULIP but the part I find interesting is the theology of Election. If Election were true, it would answer a big question I have. That question being, why doesn't God just present Himself to everyone. Wouldn't everyone become a believer? I realize it is difficult to imagine God choosing who to save and to forsake all others but it explains why so many people don't believe. I mean, how could a person who went to Catholic School, Seminary, raised in a Christian home and still become an atheist while, in my case, I have done nothing but push God away, until something happened to me about 15 years ago that made me believe. I'm trying to rationalize Election by thinking maybe God presents Himself to those who would accept Him. Maybe, He just doesn't appear to those who will not accept Him.

I find this verse especially telling;

John 10:25-27
25Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me. 26"But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;

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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#2

Post by puritan lad » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:05 pm

Don't you know? We Calvinist don't believe in free will, think we are all Spiritual Robots, paint God as unfair, and hate babies. ;)

I think that covers most of the common criticisms.
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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#3

Post by 7777777 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:52 am

puritan lad wrote:Don't you know? We Calvinist don't believe in free will, think we are all Spiritual Robots, paint God as unfair, and hate babies. ;)

I think that covers most of the common criticisms.
What about the criticism of why God doesn't just save everyone? Why only the elect? And, who are the elect anyway?

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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#4

Post by puritan lad » Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:57 am

That's actually more of a question than a criticism. The real question that no one wants to tackle is, why does God save anyone. Why doesn't he send us all to Hell like we deserve? God's response, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy". And we don't know who the elect are. That has not been revealed to us.
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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#5

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:16 am

puritan lad wrote:That's actually more of a question than a criticism. The real question that no one wants to tackle is, why does God save anyone. Why doesn't he send us all to Hell like we deserve? God's response, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy". And we don't know who the elect are. That has not been revealed to us.
The asking of the question in my opinion reveals the bias of the questioner and the assumption as to God's nature. Given that in the NT, Jesus and others most often refer to the primary characteristic of God's nature as love, I think the former question is more reasonable.
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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#6

Post by jlay » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:26 pm

That question being, why doesn't God just present Himself to everyone.
Those who call on the name of the Lord WILL be saved. What do you mean when you say, 'present?'
how could a person who went to Catholic School, Seminary, raised in a Christian home and still become an atheist while, in my case, I have done nothing but push God away, until something happened to me about 15 years ago that made me believe.
“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:31

It is simply a faulty assumption to think that people would trust Christ if God would only make it crystal clear to a person. Israel is a perfect example that this isn't the case. The bible is littered with characters who saw miracles and actually were with Christ, but simply walked away. John 6:66

Coming to trust Christ is not so much a head problem as it is a heart problem.

God has chosen who He will save. Those who will believe. This is far different than election as it is painted by many (not all)Calvanists. God is not playing eeny meeny miny mo.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#7

Post by puritan lad » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:40 pm

Canuckster1127 wrote:The asking of the question in my opinion reveals the bias of the questioner and the assumption as to God's nature. Given that in the NT, Jesus and others most often refer to the primary characteristic of God's nature as love, I think the former question is more reasonable.
All questions begin with some sort of bias, and yours in no exception. The doctrine of God's love is indeed a complex doctrine. But Scripture (especially the New Testament) is clear that God loves the redeemed in a special way that he does not the reprobate. "Jacob I loved and Esau I hated". Given what the Bible says about man's nature, I would hold that the former is more reasonable. In any case, the question and it's rhetorical answer are given in Romans 9:14-18.
jlay wrote:God has chosen who He will save. Those who will believe.
Are you suggesting that elects based upon foreseen belief? Can you support this with Scripture? (See Romans 9:11-13).
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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#8

Post by 7777777 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:02 pm

jlay wrote: Those who call on the name of the Lord WILL be saved. What do you mean when you say, 'present?'
That can't be true. I can't begin to tell you how many people have told me they have done just that and nothing happened.
How do you explain it? Wouldn't you think that during all those years in Catholic School, Seminary, even preaching for a while, they would have had at least one prayer where they "call(ed) on the name of the Lord"?

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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#9

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:12 pm

All questions begin with some sort of bias, and yours in no exception. The doctrine of God's love is indeed a complex doctrine. But Scripture (especially the New Testament) is clear that God loves the redeemed in a special way that he does not the reprobate. "Jacob I loved and Esau I hated". Given what the Bible says about man's nature, I would hold that the former is more reasonable. In any case, the question and it's rhetorical answer are given in Romans 9:14-18.
The passage is speaking of the descendants of each in the sense of a covenantal line of progression through Jacob as opposed to Esau. God does indeed show favor to one as opposed to others in temporal senses.

The New Testament I believe demonstrates time and time again that the love of God in the sense of individuals is universal. John 3:16 makes this clear. While that doesn't extend to universalism in the sense that all will be saved, it doesn't justify the extreme view of some Calvinists who would then make God out to be a capricious, arbitrary chooser of eternal destiny with no free will on the part of those so condemned.

On the whole, I think this is a good representation of what not only Calvinism, but in places also Armenianism and any other number of isms do in terms of hypothetical logical constructs but which in so doing, in effect slander the character of God reducing Him to a mechanistic, distant impersonal God. Dogma is expressed in words, which are themselves mere symbols that fall short of fully expressing the Realities which they attempt to portray. In the end, we worship a Living God, not a thread of logic. That is why Jesus Christ will always be the supreme revelation of God and demonstration of the Love that God proclaims Himself to be. It also explains why historically Calvinists and other "ists" too can make appeals to their threads of logic and dogma and demonstrate the bankruptcy of it with their histories of burning "heretics" or detractors from their logical constructs in direct contradiction to the example of Christ who gave his life for others rather than seeking to take theirs.

I regret volunteering to enter this discussion and so I am done beyond this and will allow you the last word.

Blessings,

bart
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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#10

Post by jlay » Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:51 pm

That can't be true. I can't begin to tell you how many people have told me they have done just that and nothing happened.
What do you mean nothing happened?
keep in mind here what you are saying, which is, the bible can't be true. Because the bible does in fact say, that those who call on Him will be saved.
So the question must be, just how are you defining salvation here? Please be specific.
Wouldn't you think that during all those years in Catholic School, Seminary, even preaching for a while, they would have had at least one prayer where they "call(ed) on the name of the Lord"?
Quite possibly they did. And if they rightly called on the Lord, then my friend they are saved. Otherwise you are going to have to define your terms here. I can personally share with you of a great number of friends who went to Catholic school who as far as I can tell, have never personally come to place of comprehending their own personal sin, nor their own personal need to call out for salvation. Or, who spent a whole life in Catholic school, and mass, only to come to saving faith after leaving the RCC.
puritan lad wrote:Are you suggesting that elects based upon foreseen belief? Can you support this with Scripture? (See Romans 9:11-13).
PL, I think this also fails to rightly grasp just how God is operating. FWIW, I have no ultimate problem with a Calvinist view of election, other than what I've stated. No matter how scholarly some explanations may be, it ultimately makes me think eeny meeny miny mo. The problem I have with it doesn't relate to what you are implying in your question. Yes, as Paul says, God can have mercy on whom He has mercy. You or I are in no position to tell God who He should or shouldn't save. So, if God says that He chooses who He will save, and that in fact Calvinists have rightly interpreted this doctrine, then so be it. My problem is with reconciling such a view with the whole counsel of God. That God desires all to repent. And that whoever believes would be saved. And the list goes on. As, I think Bart did a fine job of communicating. Obviously what Paul communicates in Romans 9 is truth, and you will get no argument from me on that matter. But seeing that Calvanists enter into these versus with very determined views about certain concepts, and that these things relate specifically to one's personal salvation, is where things get clouded as opposed to clarified.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#11

Post by puritan lad » Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:20 pm

Bart,

I, too, am disappointed that you would enter a debate, and then leave it in such a fashion.
"it doesn't justify the extreme view of some Calvinists who would then make God out to be a capricious, arbitrary chooser of eternal destiny with no free will on the part of those so condemned."
The first post I made in this discussion was a sarcastic list of strawmen erected by the opponents of Sovereign grace, and yet you pull them right out of your hat before leaving the debate. As for the rest about burning heretics, I feel no need to respond to that. It is the sign of a shallow, immature, and "sentimental" faith that paints ones opponent in such a way, and I expected better of you. (Maybe you are just having a bad day).

As for the issue at hand (which is what I'd prefer to discuss), we may simplify the "5 points" issue by asking two simple questions:

1.) What did Jesus Christ go to the cross to do? Did His work actually save anyone, or did it make salvation a mere possibility for everyone?

2.) Did He succeed? Did Christ actually accomplish what He set out to do?

Only Calvinism can provide consistent, biblical answers to these questions. All others must, on some level, either deny the actual substitutionary atonement of Christ, or His success.
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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#12

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:56 pm

I will respond briefly and again, I'm not interested in entering a Calvinism, Reformed Theology Bruhaha. Been there. Done it. Bought the T-Shirt. Am currently using it to remove wax from my theological car. ;)

Your sarcasm doesn't negate the validity of the observations.

The comment about heretic burning was directed inclusively of several positions and not exclusively toward you or Calvinism, and therefore your comment differs from mine only in that yours is decidedly more personally directed toward me, while mine was at the dynamics of the higher arguments. Maybe you're having a bad day? ;)
1.) What did Jesus Christ go to the cross to do? Did His work actually save anyone, or did it make salvation a mere possibility for everyone?
A false dilemma. The two are not mutually exclusive. Both can be true at the same time.
2.) Did He succeed? Did Christ actually accomplish what He set out to do?
Yes he did. Including both options you outline that you appear to believe cannot be true at the same time.
Only Calvinism can provide consistent, biblical answers to these questions. All others must, on some level, either deny the actual substitutionary atonement of Christ, or His success.
I appreciate that that is your opinion. I've examined it at great length for myself and conclude differently. I find Calvinism most consistent with the Greek philosophy that it sprang from and which it uses to frame and eisogete circularly into the Biblical Text it's accepted presuppositions. I find it in general does not exegete using the whole of Scripture. It simply emphasizes some passages and summarily ignores or rationalized away others, such as the passage I noted earlier regarding the universal scope of God's love.

Sorry to have disappointed. I'm usually quite careful to avoid entering into these debates, not because I can't or haven''t in the past, but because I find them to be more a distraction from the person of Christ and an element of my past where I no longer wish to camp. I don't find it very profitable nor conducive toward a closer walk with Christ. I understand others are at different places and that there's value for them, and I respectfully leave them to it.

blessings,

bart
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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#13

Post by puritan lad » Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:13 pm

"God out to be a capricious, arbitrary chooser of eternal destiny with no free will on the part of those so condemned."
"Your sarcasm doesn't negate the validity of the observations."
Bart,

Either you haven't studied the issue as deeply as you claim, or else you are being disingenuous. Name me one Calvinist you've studied that supports your first statement. Names and quotes please. Since you suggest that your observations are valid, then I suppose you can express this validity.
"The two are not mutually exclusive. Both can be true at the same time."
Not only are they mutually exclusive (sans universalism), but one is Biblical and the other is not. One cannot say that Christ's work provides actual redemption, and then say that it was for everyone who ever existed. Which is it?
"I appreciate that that is your opinion."
My opinion is not the issue, for it carries no value. The truth of Scripture, however, does.
"I don't find it very profitable nor conducive toward a closer walk with Christ."
To the contrary, the question of how a sinner is saved from the wrath of God is the most important question anyone will ever deal with. We would do well to learn as much about the answer as possible.
"The comment about heretic burning was directed inclusively of several positions and not exclusively toward you or Calvinism, and therefore your comment differs from mine only in that yours is decidedly more personally directed toward me, while mine was at the dynamics of the higher arguments."
Then, at the very least, it was a Red Herring having nothing to do with present debate. As for the "higher arguments", you will have to forgive me, because I haven't seen any.

If you wish to leave the debate, you are free to do so. But I will feel free to make you defend further claims that you make.

Blessings,

PL
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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#14

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:27 pm

I've expressed my opinion with as much backing as you have yours. Others can examine the thread, comments and tone extended and draw their own conclusions as they see fit.

Thanks for your permission for me to leave the debate. Much appreciated. Maybe if you're so inclined later in the day I could have a bathroom pass as well or spend some extra time in study hall? :pound: y=P~

Now exit, stage right and I hope you and others enjoy your discussion.

Blessings,

Bart
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Re: What's Wrong With Calvinism?

#15

Post by puritan lad » Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:33 pm

You are most welcome. Feel free to proceed to the John without any more "drive-by" attacks at Reformed theology, or else you may expect a reply. The "Here-is-what-Calvinism-is-but-I-don't-want-to-debate" move is a copout, especially when Calvinism is misrepresented.
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