Cork Free Presbyterian Church, 10 Briarscourt (Annex) Shanakiel, Cork, Ireland Pastor: Colin Maxwell. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Original site found at:http://www.daveandangel.com/CRN/FourImplicationsCalvinism.html
Dear Mr Huss,
I came across your treatise objecting to Calvinism while compiling some studies on the same (Click here for studies) and felt that it needed to be replied to. It is my contention that you do not give an accurate representation of what either Calvin or Calvinists believe. Hopefully I will be able to set the picture straight. Your entire article is reproduced below (in blue) with my replies in [boxed red]
I have two online editions of Calvin's Institutes on a C.D. and with a search facility. I have also the Institutes in book form with extensive indexes. You do not keep to the traditional form of referencing the Institutes (i.e. the very first chapter is referenced as: 1:1:1: while the last chapter is 4:20:32) and I have been unable to find some of the quotations in order to verify them or put them into context. Overall I am prepared to take your word on the matter, although the disgraceful treatment meted out to Arthur Pink below in one of your quotations i.e. that Pink denied that Christ died for the ungodly will leave a sour taste in many mouths and probably makes this trust a little misguided. However, I will err on the side of charity. It would be helpful if you could supply the references with which most readers of Calvin's Institutes are familiar. Are you consulting Calvin's Institutes direct…or just quoting somebody else?
CALVINISM - preachers preach it, authors write of it, seminary students discuss it, and theologians pass it on to others. By all appearances, Calvinism, or its more popular name, the "Doctrines of Grace," looks and sounds biblical to many...but is it? Writing to the church at Ephesus, Paul told Timothy to "…charge some that they teach no other doctrine…which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do" (1 Tim. 1:3, 4). Is Calvinism a doctrine of Scripture, or a philosophical argument that ministers questions to believers and unbelievers alike, rather than godly edifying? In the preface of his book Subjects of Sovereignty, Andrew Telford, former pastor of Berachah Church of Philadelphia, wrote, "It is dangerous for God to give high truth to highly educated people. There is a danger that in the furtherance of that truth it becomes mixed with an alloy of human reason. It pleased God on that first Christmas morning to give high truth to humble men, even shepherds in the fields."
[Since you ask…the Doctrines of Grace commonly called Calvinism are Biblical doctrines leading, when properly understood, to godly edifying. I think we can let God give high truth to whom He will. The Apostle Paul was a highly educated man. But I take the point…we ought to come to the doctrines of the Bible with humility. Fair enough.]
The purpose of this article is to analyse certain implications of Calvinism in light of biblical revelation and to call back those who have left God’s pure Word to pursue the alloy of human wisdom which John Calvin and his followers teach so that they might say with the Psalmist, "Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works" (Psalm 119: 27).
[But what if your analysis of certain implications of Calvinism prove to be flawed? If what John Calvin and his followers prove to be right…then we all need to quote Psalm 119:27.]
In writing to the church at Colosse Paul warned, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Col. 2:8). Paul also wrote these words of concern to the church at Corinth, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3). Bible believing Christians must be careful not to be led away from the simplicity that is in Christ! We must never idolise any system of thought that contradicts God’s Word. A. W. Tozer once said that the essence of idolatry is to imagine things about God and then preach them as truth.
[Exactly. If your system of thought contradicts God's word, then it too should not be idolised, but rejected. So far we are in relative agreement.]
IMPLICATION ONE: DEATH BEFORE THE FALL
The first implication of Calvinism to consider deals with death and when this death occurred. According to John Calvin, "The reprobate like the elect are appointed to be so by the secret council of God’s will" (Calvin’s Institutes II, chapter xxii, page 11)
[Two thoughts. One: John Calvin wrote much more on reprobation than is covered in a few quotes. We intend to quote Calvin a little more liberally in order to give the complete picture. Two: As for the quote above, I am sure that you, as a professing Bible believer, will agree that nothing can happen outside the secret council of God's will? Paul declares that God has purposed and worked all things after the counsel of his own will (Ephesians 1:11) It is inconceivable that the vital issue of election and reprobation should fall outside the scope of God's will.]
and "…their doom was fixed from all eternity and nothing in them could transfer them to a contrary class…" (Calvin’s Institutes III, chapter iii, page 4).
[It is true as far as it goes (and Calvin did have a lot more to say about the whole issue) The whole story is that man is punished in hell because he has sinned against God. If we accept that God has a secretive will and that nothing is left to blind chance or creature power, then Calvin's statement must be seen as true. Tell me…what is there in the creature that can transfer him from what is essentially the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light? Surely we are agreed that the sinner has absolutely nothing with which he can contribute to his salvation? Even faith and repentance which brings him into the Kingdom is the supernatural gift of God.]
Also, according to Calvin, "…Not all men are created with similar destiny but eternal life is foreordained for some, and eternal damnation for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say, he is either predestined either to life or death" (Calvin’s Institutes III, chapter xxiii).
[Here might be a good place to point out that reprobation consists of two main parts. The first is called preterition where God in His sovereignty decided not to elect some to everlasting life. As God owes no man anything, none can justly argue at the righteousness His decision in passing him by and leaving him to his own sinful self determination. This act of preterition does not make man a sinner. The second part is called condemnation. This is the act of a Sovereign Judge. It is passed upon sinners. No man will be damned except for his own sin. It is true that in these particular quotes, isolated from a large section of his works, Calvin is emphasising the sovereignty of God part. But elsewhere, Calvin quite clearly reminds us that the reprobate is responsible for his own damnation. To quote: "For when we assert that none undeservingly perish, and that it is by God's freely given kindness that some are released, we have said enough to show forth his glory without the least need of evasion." (Institutes 3:24:12) Again he taught that "We who know all men to be on so many accounts liable before God's judgement seat…confess that the wicked suffer nothing out of accord with God's most righteous judgement." (Institutes 3:24:14)]
In John Calvin’s thinking, God appointed some of His future creation to eternal damnation. If John Calvin is to be believed, then we must understand that God placed death upon certain men before the creation of man and before the fall of Adam. Is this consistent with biblical revelation?
[This is not a logical objection. How can certain men exist before the creation of man? Except of course in the eternal mind and decree of God…just where God also decreed that death would follow sin. Apply the same logic to the other side of the coin i.e. election. How can God place some men under life before the creation of man and the obedience of the second Adam? Yet according to Ephesians 1:4 He did so.]
God, in His omniscience, knew that death would not come into existence until Adam fell. Genesis 2:17 states, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." It was at the time of Adam’s fall that God placed death (physical and spiritual) upon the human race, not before the creation of man, and certainly not before man’s fall into sin. The Bible says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12). Death did not pass unto men until man’s sin, "For since by man came death…" (1 Cor. 15:21).
[You seem to be getting confused between the decree of the judgement and its execution. It was decreed from eternity past that the wages of sin is death. This law was enforced when the crime took place i.e. in time.]
Notice also that at the time of Adam’s sin, death (physical and spiritual) passed "upon all men" not a "class" of men as Calvin taught.
[But did Calvin teach this? It is noticeable that there are no references. Let me let you into a most open secret. Try and think of a verse which would obviously refute such a notion. Ephesians 2:3 comes to mind where Paul said of those believers who were chosen in Christ from before the foundation of the world (1:4) that "we were children of wrath, even as others." Now if we are really serious about what a man taught - look up his comments on this verse. Calvin comments:
And were by nature children of wrath. "All men without exception, whether Jews or Gentiles, (Galatians 2:15,16,) are here pronounced to be guilty, until they are redeemed by Christ; so that out of Christ there is no righteousness, no salvation, and, in short, no excellence. Children of wrath are those who are lost, and who deserve eternal death. Wrath means the judgement of God; so that the children of wrath are those who are condemned before God. Such, the apostle tells us, had been the Jews, — such had been all the excellent men that were now in the Church; and they were so by nature, that is, from their very commencement, and from their mother’s womb. This is a remarkable passage…Paul affirms that we are born with sin, as serpents bring their venom from the womb. Others who think that it is not in reality sin, are not less at variance with Paul’s language; for where condemnation is, there must unquestionably be sin. It is not with blameless men, but with sin, that God is offended. Nor is it wonderful that the depravity which we inherit from our parents is reckoned as sin before God; for the seeds of sin, before they have been openly displayed, are perceived and condemned."
Calvin evidently believed with Paul that even the elect were under the shadow of death for their sins. The above allegation against Calvin is therefore untrue.]
It is worth noting that the Bible clearly teaches that men will suffer God’s eternal judgement of their sin after they are righteously judged by God at the future Great White Throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15).
[Yes…according to the eternal decree of God. Even now unbelievers are already condemned (John 3:18) and are currently abiding under the wrath of God (John 3:36) and some are already in hell (Luke 16:19-31)]
Nowhere does the Scripture teach that God has appointed certain men to perdition prior to their creation by Him.
[But if our election took place before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) and therefore before man's creation, then by the same token reprobation also took place for the one presupposes the other. Where some and not all are chosen out of a crowd, then by necessity others are not chosen. This being not chosen is reprobation (see above)]
We know from the biblical record that all of God’s creation was good including man, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good…" (Gen. 1:31). We also know that God created all men for His pleasure as Revelation 4:11 states, "For thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Ezekiel 18:23,32 and 33:11 teach that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. God would not have placed eternal death upon men and separation from Him before He created them, and at the same time say He created them for His pleasure.
[But before He created them, He (at the very least) knew that many of them were going to be lost. And yet He still declared that everything He had made then was very good. The act of election and reprobation had already taken place. The problem is not exclusively a Calvinistic one.]
Much less would God pronounce His creation good if before its existence He had plagued His creation with the death of certain men. However, this is exactly what Calvin and his followers teach.
[No…it is not what Calvin or his followers teach. Creation is plagued with death because, as Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 5:21 (quoted by you above) state, Adam sinned. You have not advanced your cause any by only quoting a little of what Calvin or his followers taught. Unfortunately you have ignored the great Calvinistic creeds of the church e.g. theWestminster Confession of Faith and many others which emphasise concerning our first parents and the eating of the forbidden fruit:
By this sin they fell from their original righteousness, and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties of soul and body. (WCF 6:2)
This is followed up in theShorter Catechism of the same confession which we teach our children:
Q19 What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
Ans:- All mankind by their fall lost communion with God,* are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all the miseries in this life , to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.
*Note…this Catechism answer also nails the charge made previous that Calvinists believe that only a class of men became subject to death. This is a nonsense.]
Steven Houck in his booklet God’s Sovereignty in Salvation states, "His will is so sovereign that He has determined just exactly what comes to pass in this world. God has determined and appointed absolutely everything…. What is even more amazing is that this determination took place in eternity…. Since God is the sovereign God, Whose counsel stands forever, Whose will can never be frustrated, and Whose purpose is not disannulled; we must conclude that His will and determination is sovereign particularly in salvation…. For He is the infinite Creator Who has the right and power to do with His finite creatures exactly what he pleases. . .even with respect to eternal destiny. For since God is sovereign, His will must not only be the determining factor in salvation, but also in everlasting destruction. God not only selects some to be saved and glorified, but He also appoints others to destruction" (pp. 5-7). Is this true?
[As above, it is true as far as it goes. The whole story is that man is punished in hell because he has sinned against God. If Mr Houck has said as much in his booklet, then it ought to have been quoted. If not…it ought to have said because God's truth is a balanced thing. Calvinists don't have to defend caricatures of their faith.]
Did God appoint some to eternal destruction?
[Yes. When God elected some, by the same token He left others to their own devices. But it presents a fuller and therefore more accurate picture to put the blame where it properly belongs - on the guilty sinner.]
Did it please God to determine eternal death to some before their creation by God? In Ezekiel 33:11, the Lord makes a very interesting statement about Himself. He says, "Say unto them, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked…."
[It would help if you were to distinguish between God's secretive will (which Calvin referred to in the first quote above) and God's declarative will. Robert Dabney explains it well in his Systematic Theology (BOT edition: p161)
I have argued that God's will is absolutely executed over all free agents; and yet Scripture is full of declarations that sinful men and devils disobey His will! There must be, therefore, a distinction between His secret and revealed, His decretive and preceptive will. All God's will must be, in reality, a single, eternal, immutable act. The distinction, therefore, is one necessitated by our limitation of understanding, and relates only to the manifestation of the parts of this will to the creature. By God's decretive will, we mean that will by which He foreordains whatever comes to pass. By His preceptive, that by which He enjoins on creatures what is right and proper for them to do. The decretive we also call His secret will: because it is for the most part (except as disclosed in some predictions and the effectuation) retained in His own breast. His preceptive we call His revealed will, because it is published to man for his guidance. Although this distinction is beset with plausible quibbles, yet every man is impelled to make it; for otherwise, either alternative is odious and absurd. Say that God has no secret decretive will, and He wishes just what He commands and nothing more, and we represent Him as a Being whose desires are perpetually crossed and baffled: yea, trampled on ; the most harassed, embarrassed, and impotent Being in the universe. Deny the other part of our distinction, and you represent God as acquiescing in all the iniquities done on earth and in hell. Again, Scripture clearly establishes the distinction. Witness all the texts already quoted [Dan 4v35/Prov 21:1/Psalm 76:10/Philippians 2:13/Romans 9:19/Eph 1:11 etc.,] to show that God's sovereignty overrules all the acts of men to His purposes. Add Rom. 11:33 to end: Prov. 16:4. See also Deut. 29:29. Special cases are also presented, (the most emphatic possible,) in which God's decretive will differed from His preceptive will, as to the same individuals. See Exodus 4: 21-23; Ezekiel 3 :7, with 18:31. These authentic cases offer an impregnable bulwark against Arminian objections; and prove that it is not Calvinism, but Inspiration, which teaches the distinction.
Clearly the decree of election and reprobation belongs to the secret decretive will of God and verses like Ezekiel 33:11 belong to his revealed will. If I were counselling a sinner - any sinner - I would point him to verses like Ezekiel 33:11 and tell him that God has no pleasure in damning him to hell, but is willing to save him if he will but call upon His name (Romans 10:13) Whether this sinner comes or not lies outside my power - but not outside God's.]
Notice that God prefaces His statement with, "As I live." How long has God lived? The Scriptures teach that God is eternal and immutable. . .that is, He changes not. Therefore, from eternity past (that is throughout all of eternity and even before the creation of man) God has never had any pleasure in the death of the wicked.
[I agree. God is not a horrible monster, damning men arbitrarily without cause. Out of a mass of lost humanity, foreseen by His omniscient eye, in His sovereignty, He decides to save some men but not all. The rest He chooses to leave to their own sin and its consequences.]
How then can Houck say, "God not only selects some to be saved and glorified, but He also appoints others to destruction"?
[Surely you are not saying that God selects all without exception to be saved and glorified? This would be rank Universalism. Those appointed to destruction have been passed by and are damned for their sins. Death is always the wage of sin.]
When man fell into sin, the two-pronged dagger of death (physical and spiritual) entered the human race. These two points of the dagger are not mutually exclusive of one another and never have been. To say that God applied spiritual death to certain men prior to the fall of man not only makes God a liar regarding His statements about His creation work, but also displays a significant lack of trust in God’s revealed word.
[Hold on. You are getting carried away a little here which is leading you to use strong language. You are certainly not giving a true representation of Calvinism. We repeat again: All men, elect and reprobate alike, are dead in trespasses and sin. Natural man is dead spiritually and will die physically. Out of all this mass of lost, spiritually dead humanity, God from before the foundation of the world, chose some to be saved and gave them spiritual life. (Ephesians 2:1)]
It is also doctrinal error since predestination in the Scripture only concerns itself with making a believer’s future adoption certain.
[But when did the believer's future adoption become certain? Obviously when God decreed that it would come to pass. God has a plan and this plan like God Himself is eternal.]
Dr. H. A. Ironside wrote concerning predestination, "It is the Father who has predestinated us to the adoption of children. Nowhere in the Bible are people ever predestinated to go to hell, and nowhere are people ever predestinated to go to heaven. Look it up and see. We are chosen in Christ to share His glory for eternity, but predestination is always to some special place of blessing. Turn to Romans 8:29. Predestinated to what? Predestinated ‘to be conformed to the image of His Son.’ You see, predestination is not God from eternity saying ‘This man goes to Heaven and this man goes to hell.’ No, but predestination teaches me that when I have believed in Christ, when I have trusted Him as my Saviour, I may know on the authority of God that it is settled forever that some day I am to become exactly like my Saviour" (In the Heavenlies, Expository Addresses on Ephesians, pp. 34-35).
[The very act of predestinating some to the adoption of sons etc., must by necessity imply that others are not predestinated to this glorious position. I do wish that the Calvinistic position that the reprobate is left in his sins was at least stated by those who cannot agree with our overall doctrine. There must be little satisfaction gained by effectively setting up a straw man and tearing it to pieces.]
In Romans 8:29 we are told, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Concerning this verse, (Romans 8:29), Dr. W. L. Pettingill wrote, "Whosoever will may come. He [man] is only to come, and God does all the rest.
["Man has only to come" If Dr. Pettingill is stating man's responsibility, then we have no problem with this thought. But if he means that man can come without God's drawing power, i.e. that God only begins to act when man has come (implying creature ability) then I must side with the words of the Lord Jesus who said: No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44) While I can truly say that I came to Christ, it is also true that I came because I was effectually drawn to come.]
God will…undertake for him, and thereafter see to it that all things work together for good unto him. This is His eternal purpose which He purposed before the world was…. The word ‘for’ in verse 29, has the force of ‘because’ and it introduces the reason for our assurance that all things are working together for our good…. The past tense continues through the whole passage, although the glorification is yet future, for God is able to count things done even when they have not been done. Our glorification is according to His purpose, and nothing is to be suffered to thwart His purpose. Having been foreknown and predestinated and called and justified, we shall also be glorified" (Bible Questions Answered, p. 374).
[A good Calvinistic quote if ever there was one! God is able to get things done even when they have not been done…nothing is to be suffered to thwart His purpose. Now we're getting somewhere.]
Predestination has nothing whatsoever to do with sending certain people to heaven and others to damnation as Calvin taught. Predestination’s purpose (according to Scripture) is to conform the believer to the image of God’s Son.
[So you keep saying. I could easily copy and paste here what I have already written, but will forbear. See above.]
Mark G. Camron, a Baptist leader and professor wrote, "Scripture teaches that God has predestinated those who have believed (and those who will believe) to be conformed to the image of His Son. In other words, it is the plan of God, determined beforehand, that every believer is going to be made like unto the Lord Jesus Christ…. God has determined that those who are saved are going to be like His Son" (The New Testament. . .A Book-by-Book Survey, pp. 200-201).
[Amen, Mr Cameron]
C. H. Spurgeon declared, "Mark then, with care, that OUR CONFORMITY TO CHRIST IS THE SACRED OBJECT OF PREDESTINATION" (Treasury of the New Testament, Vol. II, p. 72; emphasis Spurgeon’s).
[Amen, Mr Spurgeon! I remind our readers that this is the same C.H. Spurgeon who has left on record the following statements: "I believe, most firmly, in the doctrines commonly called Calvinistic, and I hold them to be fraught with comfort to God's people…" (1867, p.706) Note also that he comments: "When a Calvinist says that all things happen according to the predestination of God, he speaks the truth , and I am willing to be called a Calvinist; but when an Arminian says that, when a man sins, the sin is his own, and that if he continues in sin and perishes, his eternal damnation will lie entirely at his own door, I believe that he speaks the truth, though I am not willing to be called an Arminian. The fact is, there is some truth in both those systems of theology." (1903, pp.602-603) This is the position of historic Calvinism which I am seeking here to defend. At the opening of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Mr Spurgeon arranged for a number of ministers to preach on the five points of Calvinism. He himself answered many of the misrepresentations against Calvinism, some of which are unfortunately reproduced in this very review. You can access these opening sermons at:
This conformity to the image of Jesus Christ will take place when the body is redeemed at Christ’s future appearing and this will be the time of our adoption. Romans 8:23 says, "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." Ephesians 1:5 says, "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." This verse explains that the believer is predestined to adoption. However, as mentioned, adoption is defined for us in Romans 8:23 as future, occurring at the redemption of our body. Adoption is what we are predestined for. Adoption is receiving the full privileges of being a child of God, whereas presently we only have the firstfruits of the Spirit. Adoption is not our salvation. We are born again into the family of God, not adopted. The belief that adoption and the new birth are the same thing is error and is not the teaching of God’s Word. Adoption takes place when a believer receives his glorified body and is conformed to the image of God’s Son. Writing on the subject of adoption the well known Baptist pastor I. M. Haldeman explained, "There are great facts concerning us as believers which relate us to the dispensation of the fullness of times…. He has predestinated us to the place of sons in that dispensation, as it is written (Ephesians one)…. The expression, ‘the adoption of children’ in the Greek is uiothesia…. The compound word, therefore, signifies ‘son placing. . .the place of a son.’ Thus, as believers, we have been predestinated in that coming dispensation to the place of sons" (The Book of the Heavenlies, pp. 4-5).
[I think it is fair to say that you have left your original object of seeking to refute Calvinism.]
The teaching of predestination by Calvin and his followers is clearly in contradiction to biblical revelation.
[How can it be clear when you fail to mention one of the most central planks in Calvinistic teaching i.e. that the sinner is responsible for his own sin? Any one who would be satisfied to make a decision when such necessary evidence is lacking is very shallow indeed.]
Recognising there are only two chapters in Scripture where the words predestinate or predestinated are found (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:5,11) and understanding that there is no reference in these four verses to Heaven or hell, but only to believers ultimate conformity to Jesus Christ, John Calvin’s teaching on predestination must be rejected. It is human wisdom attempting to mix itself with God’s pure Word.
[As above…you have but artificially dealt with the subject so far. Not only have you failed to mention that Calvinists believe most firmly in man's responsibility for their sin, but wherever you chose to place the benefits which flow from election, you do not tackle the issue that such was decreed from eternity past. I think the court would throw your charges out and dismiss the case.]
Let us close the first implication with the clear, succinct teaching of former pastor Edward Drew. "People have had it drilled into them that away in the past God foreordained [predestined] that certain people should be lost and certain others should be saved. I would like to get that out of your minds this morning. Just let me begin by saying that that isn’t in the Bible….
[Isn't it wearisome to follow along the same old rut? Again…no mention that God has chosen to leave some men in their sins. He was under no obligation to save anyone, therefore under no obligation to save everyone. The wonder is that He has saved someone.]
God’s predestination is not salvation. God’s predestination is that those who receive the Lord shall be like the Lord Jesus. That is predestination and nothing else is.
[We are probably closer here than it appears. Are we contending over names? Predestination does lead to salvation for the elect. Salvation is much more than being saved from the lake of fire. It includes sanctification which takes in conformity to the Lord Jesus.]
God from the beginning, by His foreknowledge, predestinated that every believer should be made like Christ, and nothing else in the Book is predestination.
[I'll let this one go, although I suspect that we would differ greatly over what we mean by the word foreknowledge.]
That predestination is that God ordained one to be saved and another to be lost in hell eternally is not within the covers of this Book….
[Oh well. If a thing is worth saying once...]
God has ordained from the foundation of the world that if you will trust His Son, He will make you like His Son. That is what we have here… Those whom God predestinated to be like Christ, He called out. ...not before He saved them, but when He saved them, He called them out to be like Him…. It isn’t that God called you and didn’t call somebody else.
[It is true that there is the general call of the gospel. But there is also the effectual call of the gospel. Both are covered in the text which says that Many are called (general call) but few are chosen (effectual call) Matthew 22:14]
God’s predestination is being worked out now. In eternity past He determined that you should be like Jesus, and now that you are saved He calls you out, that while you are here you should show forth the Lord Jesus Christ" (Morning message on Romans 8: 29-32; March 1, 1942).
IMPLICATION TWO: MAN’S WILL IS NON-EXISTENT
The second implication of Calvinism deals with mankind’s unique ability to choose.
[I note your use of the word "ability" (as opposed for instance to the word "responsibility" linking it with the quotation below on "free will") Calvin observed in the Institutes (2:2:4) "What free will is, though the expression frequently occurs in all writers, few have defined. Yet Origen appears to have advanced a position to which they all assented, when he calls it a power of reason to discern good and evil, of will to choose either." This would appear to be your position.]
John Calvin says, "The only time free-will might be reasonably asserted to have existed was in Adam before the fall. Adam could have resisted if he would, since he fell merely by his own will. In this integrity man was endowed with free-will, by which, if he had chosen, he might have obtained eternal life." [Institutes 1:15:8] Notice that Calvin emphatically stated that if man ever had a free-will it was only true of Adam.
[It is worth noting that the term freewill is a very wide one indeed. Calvinists affirm that man is free to follow the dictates of his own will, but find it necessary also to point out that his will in itself is in bondage to the dictates of his heart. ("As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7) Since man's heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) then his will is in affect in bondage to sin. This is affirmed in verses like John 8:34 "Whosoever committeth sin is the bondage of sin." etc.,Westminster Confession of Faith has a whole section (Chapter 9) entitled Of Freewill. This should be consulted.]
However, he goes on to make it clear that even Adam never had free-will to choose. "Nevertheless, there is no reality in the free-will thus attributed to man, in as much as God had decreed the fall, and therefore must have in some wise already biased Adam’s will. It was not left in neutral equilibrium, nor was his future ever in suspense or uncertainty. It was certain that sooner or later Adam would fall into evil, and with that inevitable fall there disappeared every trace of the free-will which man may have had. From that time the will became corrupt along with the whole of nature. Man no longer possessed the capacity to choose between good and evil" (Calvin’s Institutes II, chapter iv, page 8). Is Calvin’s teaching that man has no free-will consistent with biblical revelation?
[I have been unable to trace this quotation in the Institutes. However, I found the following in Calvin's commentary on Genesis 3; (p80)
All, however, who think piously and reverently concerning the power of God, acknowledge that the evil did not take place except by his permission. For, in the first place, it must be conceded, that God was not in ignorance of the event which was about to occur; and then, that he could have prevented it, had he seen fit to do so. But in speaking of permission, I understand that he had appointed whatever he wished to be done. Here, indeed, a difference arises on the part of many, who suppose Adam to have been so left to his own free will, that God would not have him fall. They take for granted, what I allow them, that nothing is less probable than that God should he regarded as the cause of sin, which he has avenged with so many and such severe penalties. When I say, however, that Adam did not fall without the ordination and will of God, I do not so take it as if sin had ever been pleasing to Him, or as if he simply wished that the precept which he had given should be violated. So far as the fall of Adam was the subversion of equity, and of well-constituted order, so far as it was contumacy against the Divine Law-giver, and the transgression of righteousness, certainly it was against the will of God; yet none of these things render it impossible that, for a certain cause, although to us unknown, he might will the fall of man. It offends the ears of some, when it is said God willed this fall; but what else, I pray, is the permission of Him, who has the power of preventing, and in whose hand the whole matter is placed, but his will? I wish that men would rather suffer themselves to be judged by God, than that, with profane temerity, they should pass judgement upon him; but this is the arrogance of the flesh to subject God to its own test. I hold it as a settled axiom, that nothing is more unsuitable to the character of God than for us to say that man was created by Him for the purpose of being placed in a condition of suspense and doubt; wherefore I conclude, that, as it became the Creator, he had before determined with himself what should be man’s future condition. Hence the unskilful rashly infer, that man did not sin by free choice. For he himself perceives, being convicted by the testimony of his own conscience, that he has been too free in sinning. Whether he sinned by necessity, or by contingency, is another question; respecting which see the Institution, and the treatise on Predestination.]
In Genesis chapter two, Adam (before the fall) is told by God to keep His commandment, "…of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17). Would God require Adam to obey His command if Adam had no ability to obey?
[Calvin does not teach that man did not have the ability to obey. He merely points out man freely chose not to obey and by doing so affirmed the decree of God.]
If God had, according to Calvin’s teachings, "biased Adam’s will" to disobey God, then God would be the responsible agent of man’s sin!
[Part of the problem here is why did God allow sin to enter creation in the first place? I assume that you agree with me that God must obviously be stronger than sin and could have prevented it…had He willed to do so. But He didn't. At the very least, He refrained from taking action that could have kept it forever outside His creation. Why did He not when, I assume that we agree, He could have? If we apply your logic, we would have to say that His inactivity renders Him responsible. But we know that God cannot be tainted with sin. We have to sit back and say that He overruled man's sin for His own glory.]
God’s biasing of Adam’s will is not found in Scripture, rather it is a presupposition by Calvin to support his errant teaching.
[As above…I cannot find your quotation and must refrain from comment.]
Dr. S. H. Kellogg, Presbyterian missionary to India and noted author of numerous books and commentaries,
[As a Presbyterian, of course, he would have subscribed to the Westminster Confession of Faith which teaches the Calvinism so despised in this review.]
wrote, "When a man acts, it is he himself who acts, and not God. He acts moreover under no necessity or external constraint, but in the fullest and most unhindered exercise of that freedom of personal choice without which indeed he could not be regarded as in any true sense a responsive moral agent…. The Holy Scriptures unmistakably teach that in the life to come God will punish many of the human race with extreme severity, yet they never represent this as proceeding from arbitrary caprice, but always as based on moral reason, namely the free choice by such men of sin, and their incorrigible persistence in rebellion against the infinite Love" (Handbook of Comparative Religion, pp. 16-18).
[A good Presbyterian statement. Putting responsibility for sin where it belongs - on the sinner. Calvin taught that the sinner always bears responsibility for the sin. In Acts 2:23 Peter preaches divine sovereignty (Christ suffered according to the predeterminate counsel and foreknowledge of God) and man's responsibility (taken by wicked hand sand crucified.) Calvin comments on the latter part of the verse:
By the hands of the wicked. Because Peter seemeth to grant that the wicked did obey God, hereupon followeth two absurdities; the one, either that God is the author of evil, or that men do not sin, what wickedness soever they commit. I answer, concerning the second, that the wicked do nothing less than obey God, howsoever they do execute that which God hath determined with himself. For obedience springeth from a voluntary affection; and we know that the wicked have a far other purpose. Again, no man obeyeth God save he which knoweth his will. Therefore, obedience dependeth upon the knowledge of God’s will. Furthermore, God hath revealed unto us his will in the law; wherefore, those men do obey God, who do that alone which is agreeable to the law of God; and, again, which submit themselves willingly to his government. We see no such thing in all the wicked, whom God doth drive hither and thither, they themselves being ignorant. No man, therefore, will say that they are excusable under this color, because they obey God; forasmuch as both the will of God must be sought in his law, and they, so much as in them lieth, do to resist God. As touching the other point, I deny that God is the author of evil; because there is a certain noting of a wicked affection in this word. For the wicked deed is esteemed according to the end whereat a man aimeth. When men commit theft or murder, they offend for this cause, because they are thieves or murderers; and in theft and murder there is a wicked purpose. God, who useth their wickedness, is to be placed in the higher degree. For he hath respect unto a far other thing, because he will chastise the one, and exercise the patience of the other; and so he doth never decline from his nature, that is, from perfect righteousness. So that, whereas Christ was delivered by the hands of wicked men, whereas he was crucified, it came to pass by the appointment and ordinance of God. But treason, which is of itself wicked, and murder, which hath in it so great wickedness, must not be thought to be the works of God.]
Gleason Archer in his commentary on the book of Romans writes, "The choice of accepting or rejecting God’s grace is made by each individual without prior causation. Since man is created in the image of God and God’s own moral choices are not caused by any outside predetermined force, it is fair to conclude that men too retain the prerogative of uncaused choice" (The Epistle to the Romans, p. 61).
[Mr Archer seems to forget that sin has so bound the sinner, that it takes the mighty power of God to make him willing to come to Christ (Psalm 110:3) The sinner will not come to Christ because he is unwilling (John 5:40) - his will is so corrupted and bound by sin. Therefore the sinner cannot come (John 6:44/65) - not because he is willing to come and God disregards him - but because sin holds him back. Man is not in a state of neutrality in the matter of the gospel. He is in a state of enmity.]
If man lacks free-will to carry out any decision between good and evil other than those determined in eternity past, then man has no choice but to carry out an already determined plan.
[OK…let's take your line on this. Man has the natural ability to do good. To say otherwise leaves us open to the charges you level against Calvinists both above and below. Every day there are sinners freely doing good unaided by God who cannot or will not interfere in the matter lest the sinner's liberties are violated. Is it not strange in the light of this scenario that Paul should observe that "there is none that doeth good" sealing it with a repetition "no not one" (Romans 3:12) Such words apply to all men in all ages since the Fall. How can this be? Are you saying that although all sinners had the ability to choose to do good without divine intervention…not one single individual sinner ever availed of it? Surely, you assert too much?]
It is important to realise that the teaching of Calvinism regarding free-will is actually no different than what is taught by ungodly materialists, fatalists, and others who deny any free-will in man.
[It is vastly different. In his Institutes which you purport to quote above, Calvin actually gives a whole section [1:16:2] to the subject of fatalism, opening with these words:
That this difference may better appear, we must know that God’s providence, as it is taught in Scripture, is opposed to fortune and fortuitous happenings.
I believe that my steps are ordered of the Lord and although there is but a step between me and death, yet my death is appointed of God. I will not go one moment before God's appointed time - no matter what danger I am subjected to. But I still look both ways before crossing the road, dress up warmly in the winter and avoid when I can certain areas at night etc., I am not a fatalist. I believe in God's sovereignty but also in my own responsibility. If I declined to look both ways on the road and was killed by a bus, it would have to be concluded that although God decreed it, it but proved my stupidity.]
For example, materialistic psychology teaches that man is at the mercy of whatever stimuli that would appear in his environment. Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, puts this view into perspective, writing, "The materialistic interpretation of nature, as the term implies, entails viewing all signs as the manifestations of physiochemical processes, such as human beings observe when they look at nature. Joy and sadness, fear and elation, anger, greed. . .all human aspirations and passions. . .are thus interpreted as the manifestations of unintentional, amoral, biochemical processes. In such a world, nothing is willed; everything happens" (Insanity. . .The Idea and Its Consequences, p. 350).
[I see here we are on another roll. You have got it into your head that Calvinists are just pious fatalists and now you are going to make a few observations about fatalists and hope the mud sticks regarding those who believe in the doctrines of grace. I will let Calvin reject your unwarranted charge. Calvin wrote in his commentary on Daniel:
He next adds, Jehovah our God is just in all his works. In this clause the Prophet confirms his former teaching, and the phrase, God is just, appears like rendering a reason for his dealings; for the nature of God supplies a reason why it becomes impossible for anything to happen by the blind impulse of fortune. God sits as a judge in heaven; whence these two ideas are directly contrary to each other. Thus if one of the following assertions is made, the other is at the same time denied; if God is the judge of the world, fortune has no place in its government; and, whatever is attributed to fortune is abstracted from God’s justice.]
This kind of thinking is no different than the evolutionist’s idea that man is simply a product of nature; that is, nature has determined for him to act a certain way. Interestingly, the idea that man has no free-will is also the teaching of the New Age and other false religious systems that say man is simply an agent by which a greater power (cosmic conscience) acts out its will in the life of man to bring him into a "perfect oneness." This is known as determinism (the doctrine that outer events and human choices are the results of antecedent conditions, physical or psychological).
[Answered above. All this because you are convinced that Calvinists are fatalists. Evolutionists and others of then ilk refuse to recognise that man has sinned and is at a disadvantage because of it. This is a far cry from Calvinism. This mud just doesn't stick.]
Therefore Calvinism, like most secular philosophies, actually reduces man to the level of an animal since man, like the animal, can only carry out that which has already been determined for him whether by God or nature.
[It is sure hard to stop when the adrenaline gets going! If you ever read the writings of Calvinist preachers like CH Spurgeon or George Whitefield or indeed any…do you get even the impression that they believed that their listeners were brute beasts? No! These men pleaded with sinners to be saved. They emphasised man's responsibility to be saved.]
Essentially Calvinism does not recognise man as the highest order of God’s creative work (capable of independent choice), even though God created man in His own image.
[TheShorter Catechism of the Westminster Confession teaches:
Q10:How did God create man?
A: God created man male and female, after his own image , in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.
Again we emphasise that man lost his ability (but not his responsibility) to obey God through the Fall.]
In Calvinistic thought, man simply carries out that which God has determined, as an animal does when it carries out its basic instincts. This is the same determinism that saturates secular thought. For the Calvinist, the choices that one makes are not really the choices that he thinks he makes; rather, they are predetermined choices that God has made for him.
[Not so. Calvin points out in his comments on Genesis 50:20 (another verse which teaches God's Sovereignty and man's responsibility):
Meanwhile, Joseph skilfully distinguishes between the wicked counsels of men, and the admirable justice of God, by so ascribing the government of all things to God, as to preserve the divine administration free from contracting any stain from the vices of men. The selling of Joseph was a crime detestable for its cruelty and perfidy; yet he was not sold except by the decree of heaven. For neither did God merely remain at rest, and by conniving for a time, let loose the reins of human malice, in order that afterwards he might make use of this occasion; but, at his own will, he appointed the order of acting which he intended to be fixed and certain. Thus we may say with truth and propriety, that Joseph was sold by the wicked consent of his brethren, and by the secret providence of God. Yet it was not a work common to both, in such a sense that God sanctioned anything connected with or relating to their wicked cupidity: because while they are contriving the destruction of their brother, God is effecting their deliverance from on high. Whence also we conclude, that there are various methods of governing the world. This truly must be generally agreed, that nothing is done without his will; because he both governs the counsels of men, and sways their wills and turns their efforts at his pleasure, and regulates all events: but if men undertake anything right and just, he so actuates and moves them inwardly by his Spirit, that whatever is good in them, may justly be said to be received from him: but if Satan and ungodly men rage, he acts by their hands in such an inexpressible manner, that the wickedness of the deed belongs to them, and the blame of it is imputed to them. For they are not induced to sin, as the faithful are to act aright, by the impulse of the Spirit, but they are the authors of their own evil, and follow Satan as their leader. Thus we see that the justice of God shines brightly in the midst of the darkness of our iniquity. For as God is never without a just cause for his actions, so men are held in the chains of guilt by their own perverse will. When we hear that God frustrates the wicked expectations, and the injurious desires of men, we derive hence no common consolation. Let the impious busy themselves as they please, let them rage, let them mingle heaven and earth; yet they shall gain nothing by their ardor; and not only shall their impetuosity prove ineffectual, but shall be turned to an issue the reverse of that which they intended, so that they shall promote our salvation, though they do it reluctantly. So that whatever poison Satan produces, God turns it into medicine for his elect.]
Calvinism also promotes the secular doctrine of fatalism.
[Actually you have already mentioned this above where we stoutly refute it.]
Fatalism is the teaching that all things are subject to fate, or that they take place by inevitable necessity. It is indeed odd that Bible believing Christians would allow themselves to think the same thoughts regarding predestination and free-will as those who follow Islam and Hinduism.
Samuel M. Zwemer, writing from a vast knowledge of the Muslim mind, said, "The terminology of their teaching is Calvinistic, but its practical effect is pure fatalism. Most Muslim sects ‘deny all free agency in man and say that man is necessarily constrained by the force of God’s eternal and immutable decree to act as he does.’ God wills both good and evil; there is no escaping from the caprice of His decree….Fatalism has paralysed progress; hope perishes under the weight of this iron bondage…" (Religions of Mission Fields, pp. 224, 245).
[Since Calvinism asserts man's free agency, then Muslim terminology and doctrine is different which renders the above quote irrelevant.]
A.S. Geden also speaks plainly concerning fatalism. He writes, "The Muslim is a fatalist…. The Divine will is irresistible, and has decreed in every detail the entire course of the universe which He governs, and the fate each moment of every creature therein…. The only attitude possible for man is that of complete and passive resignation…. Its dogma of predestination and of fate is based upon its conception of the Divine nature….The Divine government…leaves no room for human free-will, forethought or choice" (Comparative Religion, pp. 102,103).
[Since Calvinism does leave room for human free will (as defined above) forethought and or choice, this quote is also irrelevant.]
J.N.D. Anderson, an authority on Islam, says, "A Muslim is required to believe in God’s Decrees. As we have already seen, the orthodox belief is that everything. . .good or evil. . .proceeds directly from the divine will, being irrevocably recorded" (The World’s Religions, p. 82).
[Useful quote. I'll keep in mind for when I meet some Muslims. Meanwhile back to our examination of your view of Calvinism. I hope the accuracy improves.]
Lastly, a statement from Nicol MacNichol, speaking in the Wilde Lectures at Oxford, said, "If there is no room for free choices life becomes a mere puppet-show…. ‘The doer and the Causer to do are one,’ says the Hindu peasant, and so saying accepts and justifies everything that happens, whether it be called good or ill" (Is Christianity Unique? p. 56).
[The Calvinist is not a Pantheist (I assume that you are not actually accusing us of that?) Neither do we justify everything that happens. We refuse to justify the wicked and we justify God for condemning the wicked.
The reason why you have gone off in a tangent on this matter with quotations about New Agers and Muslims etc., is that you have either forgotten or are carelessly unaware that Calvinists believe in man's responsibility for his sin. Although God allows sin to happen (which both Arminians and Calvinists believe) which, as Calvin points, out is tantamount to ordaining it, yet God can so do without incurring any blame. His motive is not wickedness, but His own glory. The crucifying of the Son of God was a most wicked deed…yet dare we say that God did not ordain it for His own purposes and glory? (Acts 2:23) God can draw straight lines with crooked rulers. We do not indict His holiness when He chooses to do so.]
From Genesis to Revelation man is continually shown to be exercising his God-given ability to choose, even after the fall of Adam. In 1 Kings 18:21, the worshippers at Mt. Carmel were invited to choose that day whom they would serve, either Baal or God. Was Elijah asking the people to do something they could not do or were the people only carrying out that which God had already determined in eternity past?
[You work on the assumption that responsibility implies ability. Elijah put before the people their responsibility. Had they (which they eventually did) chose to say that God was the Lord and that they would serve Him, we must put their faith down to the renewing of their wills by God. Since God works all things after His own will (Ephesians 1:11) I do not see any scriptural reason to suppose that He had not determined the outcome in the past.]
In Isaiah 5:20, the people were certainly capable of choosing between good and evil. The Scripture reveals how they changed good for evil and evil for good: "Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter." They had the ability to discern between good and evil, otherwise how could they have changed it?
[The issue is not so much that sinners cannot tell the difference between what is good and bad. That is why we teach/preach the 10 Commandments for instance. The issue is the inability of the sinner to do good - as Romans 3:12 (already quoted) points out. Isaiah 5:20 certainly shows man's depravity and his responsibility before God for His sin. Both of which Calvinists have preached with such glorious effect.]
Romans 1:17-32 is clear that man has chosen evil and is not predetermined to do so. Romans 1:28 clearly says, "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind…."
[Again, teaching the responsibility of man for his sin. Others, of course, did retain God in their knowledge and were not so abandoned by God. What ultimately made these stars to differ? (1 Corinthians 4:7) Man's free will (in your Arminian sense of the word) or God's free grace?]
The Calvinistic teaching that man has no free-will is not only contrary to biblical revelation but also to the writings of the church fathers of the first centuries.
[Once again you go back to this basic error - that Calvinists do not accept man has a free will of any kind . We must reject this basic premise and therefore all your supposed evidence to back it up. Again, let us say: Man's will is free to follow the dictates of his heart. Alas! His heart is bound by sin.]
British Authors Forster and Marsten in their work, God’s Strategy In Human History, point out, "The doctrine of ‘free-will’ seems to have been universally accepted in the early church. Not a single church figure in the first 300 years rejected it and most of them stated it clearly…. The only ones to reject it were heretics" (God’s Strategy in Human History, p. 244).
[If you mean your Arminian notion that man's will is not bound by sin and that he is a slave to the devil…then read the New Testament. Especially Ephesians chapter two and Romans three where Paul, at length, shows that man is incapable in himself of doing anything spiritual. Any Church Father who argues against this is to be rejected…just as we argue against those Church Fathers, appealed to by the Church of Rome, to support their heresies.]
Throughout the Bible man is seen to be responsible for his actions and accountable for his response’s to God’s overtures.
All of this indicates that man has a free-will. That this is so obvious in both the Old and New Testaments little more needs to be said about it. To do so would be to recount the story of man from Genesis to Revelation.
[Agreed…if we accept the traditional Reformed definition of free will. If we go for your Roman Catholic/Arminian definition…then you need to reread the Old and New Testaments.]
In closing the second implication it would do well to ponder the words of M. R. Vincent, a gifted Presbyterian scholar and writer.
[As with Mr Kellogg above, a member of a church which holds to the Westminster Confession of Faith which teaches the Calvinism you have tried so unsuccessfully to refute.]
"That the factor of human freedom [free-will] has full scope in the divine economy is too obvious to require proof. It appears in numerous utterances…and in the entire drift of Scripture, where man’s power of moral choice is both asserted, assumed, and appealed to" (Word Studies in the New Testament, Vol. III, p. 136).
[I have consulted Mr Vincent's Word Studies in the reference as above (an exposition of Romans 9) Mr Vincent decries that belief that God deals with sinners as if they were not responsible. No true Calvinist denies the responsibility of man. God treats men as responsible beings, appealing to their consciences which alert them to truth and error. Mr Vincent also teaches in the same exposition of Romans 9:
Such election must needs be arbitrary; not as not having good and sufficient reasons behind it, but as impelled by such reasons as are either beyond human apprehension or are withheld from it in God’s good pleasure. All that we can say in our ignorance of these reasons is: God did thus because it pleased Him. Certain it is that, could we penetrate to these reasons, we should come, in every case, at last, upon perfect wisdom. and perfect love, working out along hidden lines to such results as will fill heaven with adoring joy and wonder.
(9:18) Hence the conclusion. God has the absolute right to dispense or to withhold mercy at pleasure. "He hath mercy upon whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth." This last statement, on its face, appears to be the assertion of a rigid, inexorable predeterminism. But let it be at once said that Paul commits himself to no such theory. For to interpret this passage as meaning that God takes deliberate measures to harden any man against holy and gracious influences, so as to encourage him to sin in order that He may show His power in destroying him, is:
1. To ascribe to God the most monstrous cruelty and injustice,
according to the standard of His own revealed character and law.
2. To make God the author and promoter of sin.
3. To contradict other declarations of Scripture, as 1 Timothy 2:4;
James 1:13; 2 Peter 3:9.
4. To contradict the facts in Pharaoh’s own case, since God gave Pharaoh abundant warning, instruction, and call and inducement to repentance. The key-note of the discussion must be kept clearly in mind as shaping this particular form of statement. To repeat: Paul is striking sharply at the assumption of the Jew that God must dispense messianic blessing to him, and must not exclude him, because he is a Jew. Paul meets this with the bare statement of God’s sovereign right to dispose of men as He will. He does not ignore the efforts which God makes to save men from blindness and hardness of heart, but the attitude of the Jew does not call for the assertion of these: only for the assertion of God’s absolute sovereignty against an insolent and presumptuous claim.
As a Calvinist, I have no problem accepting Mr Vincent's observations.]
Also, the author of the article on Will in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia helpfully points out, "The words employed and passages cited show clearly that man is always regarded as a responsible being, free to will in harmony with the Divine will or contrary to it. This is further shown by the various words denoting refusal" (Vol. V, p. 3085).
God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
I take the liberty to quote this because of its statement that no violence is offered to the will of creatures i.e. no man is spiritually "kidnapped" by God and made to sin (for the reasons which Mr Vincent gives above) If this is what the I.S.B.E. means…then I accept it. It would be helpful if the whole quotation was given…does the writer assert that man's will is so affected by sin that he has lost his power to do any spiritual good? If not…it should, because it is the whole story.]
Though God be good and free be heaven,
No force divine can love compel;
And though the song of sins forgiven
May sound through lowest hell,
The sweet persuasion of His voice
Respects the sanctity of will.
He giveth day: thou hast thy choice
To walk in darkness still.
. . .Whittier, THE ANSWER
[Aye! And if you walk in darkness, blame none but yourself. If you walk in light, give God the glory for you were a child of darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord. I assume that this is the same Whittier who likened the ministry of George Whitefield, the Calvinist, to that of John the Baptist.]
IMPLICATION THREE: JESUS DID NOT DIE FOR THE WHOLE WORLD
The third implication of Calvinism has to do with evangelism.
[A logical yet interesting link. I think of the glorious band of great Calvinistic revival preachers (I use the word revival in the more restrictive use of the word i.e. not merely a gospel campaign or organised evangelistic effort but a great movement of the Spirit of God resulting in large numbers of people being genuinely converted) e.g. Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, C.H. Spurgeon, Daniel Rowlands of Wales etc., Plus of course Calvin himself who saw many souls converted out of Popery during the Reformation period.]
Calvinism teaches that only those to whom God has determined in eternity past to come, will come.
[Surely you believe this too? Can it be that someone will come who was not determined in eternity past to come?]
Let us remember that Calvin believed, "The reprobate like the elect are appointed to be so…" (Calvin’s Institutes II, chapter xxii, page 11), and "Their fate was the direct immediate appointment of God" (Calvin’s Institutes III, chapter iii, page 4).
[Let us remember that Calvin also taught the responsibility of the sinner and that if a man misses Heaven, then he has no one to blame but himself. There is nothing to be gained by half truth.]
Houck said, "Christ did not die for everyone. He died for the elect of God and for them alone" (Subjects of Sovereignty, p. 13).
[Consistent Calvinist (and Biblical) preaching.]
While a Calvinist can be busy telling everyone the gospel message, he believes that only those whom God has chosen (or elected to believe) will ultimately believe.
[Even the Arminian can do this also. How many of the non elect i.e. reprobates will "ultimately believe"?]
This means that the Calvinist can actually communicate to the unbeliever that if he or she is not one of those chosen by God before the foundation of the world, then Jesus Christ did not die for them and that they cannot be saved.
[True…but it makes more evangelistic sense to communicate to the believer that if he believes, then he will be saved. It is not inconsistent for a Calvinist preacher to insist that "whosoever will may come" knowing that God makes men willing in the day of His power (Psalm 110:3)]
Houck said, "He sent Christ to die, not for all, but for only those whom He intended to save" (ibid. p. 13).
[Consistent with his previous quote, the Reformed faith and the word of God.]
The bewilderment for any unbeliever listening to this kind of teaching is significant.
[Paul found it so. He said that the preaching of the Cross is indeed foolishness to them who believe not (1 Corinthians 1:18) …but he also added that to those who are saved, it is the power of God.]
After hearing the teaching that Jesus Christ only came to save some and not all, many unbelievers will continue to live a life of sin rejecting the salvation message of Jesus Christ having realised that they may not be part of the group that He came to save.
[Such is the illogic and blindness of the sinner, for which there is no excuse. Faith enables the sinner to say: "Whosoever will may come" I am one of the "whosoever". Many sinners will not come for all sorts of reasons. removing the offence of the Cross will not induce them to come.]
Others will reject the gospel and become the catalyst of unbelief for many others since they have been told that the God of the Bible created certain people predestined to hell.
[When properly explained and denuded of the many misrepresentations (such as found in this review) the sinner is reminded that he is responsible for his own sin and destiny. Under the Spirit's influence, he will realise that although God was not obliged to save any (and therefore all) yet in sheer mercy and grace, He has deigned to saved some. All who are willing to come can come and will find acceptance with God.]
As a point of historical note, Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses, experienced this very bewilderment I have spoken of. In the book, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom
[A Jehovah Witness book. Strange bedfellows indeed.]
it explains, "Charles’ parents sincerely believed the creeds of Christendom’s churches and brought him up to accept them too. Young Charles was thus taught that God is love, yet that he had created men inherently immortal and had provided a fiery place in which he would eternally torment all except those who had been predestined to be saved.
[JW's are notorious for their portrayal of half truths…a despicable tactic which I utterly eschew. Assuming that young Charles was reared in a true Calvinistic church, he would have heard the message of redeeming love and of the mercy of God "freely offered to us in the gospel"Shorter Catechism answer 31]
Such an idea repulsed the honest heart of teenage Charles. He reasoned: A God that would use his power to create human beings whom he foreknew and predestinated should be eternally tormented, could neither be wise, just or loving. His standard would be lower than that of many men."
[He would thus be repulsed with your theology also that God, at least knowing that many would reject the gospel (and many not even hearing it) still created them any way.]
The article concludes with "…turning away from church creeds and searching for the truth…" (page 43). Did young Charles find the truth? No he did not, and neither have millions of other Jehovah’s Witnesses. One can only wonder how many false cults and other heretical groups had their beginning from the ideas of John Calvin and others who taught that God only came to die for a select group of people.
[Very easy said Mr Huss. I would not like to father the heresies of false cults etc., on the doctrine of God. John Calvin was used of God to bring thousands out of the doctrine of Rome, which like you, propagates that Christ died ineffectually for people who are now in hell. This thought will be developed later in this refutation of your attacks.]
Arno C. Gaebelein, a well-known writer of biblical expositions as well as doctrinal and prophetic books, and for many years the editor of Our Hope magazine, was asked to comment on a question regarding a very pronounced Calvinistic book. The name of the book was The Sovereignty of God by author A. W. Pink. The question was, "Do you think Mr. Pink’s book is scriptural? I recently read this book and it has upset me as no other book I ever read. I was attacked by terrible doubts as to God’s justice and His very Being!" Dr. Gaebelein’s strong reply followed: "Mr. Pink used to be a contributor to our magazine. His articles on Gleanings on Genesis are good, and we had them printed in book form. But when he began to teach his frightful doctrines which make the God of Love a monster we broke fellowship with him. The book you read is totally unscriptural. It is akin to blasphemy. It presents God as a Being of injustice and maligns His holy character.
[Unfortunately Mr Pink, in the early editions of this book did deny man's free agency. This was a mistake. The Banner of Truth reflecting on Pink's more mature thought, dropped the offending chapters in their reprint. Whether this would satisfy Dr. Gaebelein or not is another matter.]
The book denies that our blessed Lord died for the ungodly.
[I wonder where? I have searched the book in vain for such evidence. Until someone can turn it up, I must regard this allegation as scurrilous. Addition: I was researching in Iain Murray's biography of Pink and came across the following: It is from the minute book of a church which Mr Pink pastored after it separated from a hyper Calvinist church. It records the conversion of a certain Mrs Ebbett: "She said that when the realisation came to her that she was lost she did not know what to do, tried to do all sorts of things but soon discovered her own helplessness. When Dr Pink preached a thing, the theme being "Christ died for the ungodly", she then realised that Christ died for her and was by grace enabled to tell the Lord about her condition and ask Him to accept her through Jesus Christ." (Life of Arthur Pink BOT: p.58) Gaebelein's criticism of Pink is totally unwarranted in this instance. Pink believed as every Calvinist believes that Christ died for the ungodly and here his preaching of this glorious message led directly to the salvation of a lost soul. The allegation is scurrilous and it is wrong to perpetuate it.]
According to Pink’s perversions He died for the elect only.
[Is this the evidence that Pink denied that Christ died for the ungodly? I didn't think it needed saying, but evidently it does: Calvinists believe that the elect, before they are called by grace to salvation, are ungodly people. Paul's list of foul groups of people is concluded with the words: "Such were some of you…" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) Paul was the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) This really is very basic stuff.]
You are not the only one who has been led into darkness by this book. Whoever the publisher is, and whoever stands behind the circulation of such a monstrous thing has a grave responsibility. It is just this kind of teaching which makes atheists" (Our Hope, Vol. 37, No. 11, May 1931, p. 684).
[We have acknowledged Pink's imbalance in the early editions. I suspect however that Gaebelein's controversy goes deeper than Pink's imbalance and that he hates Calvinism even in its more balanced form.]
For example, consider the words of the famous agnostic Col. R. G. Ingersoll who wrote over a century ago these poignant words to Christians who had saturated themselves with Calvinistic teaching and thought.
[Ingersoll lived, of course, before Pink's book was ever published. The attack leaves off Pink in particular and "saturated Calvinists" now move into the target area again.]
"The Bible was the real persecutor. The Bible burned heretics, built dungeons…and trampled upon the liberties of men. How long, O how long will mankind worship a book? How long will they grovel in the dust before ignorant legends of the barbaric past? How long, O how long will they pursue phantoms in a darkness deeper than death? Unfortunately for the world, about the beginning of the sixteenth century a man by the name of Gerard Chauvin was married to Jeanne Le Franc, and still more unfortunately for the world, the fruit of the marriage was a son, called John Chauvin, who afterward became famous as John Calvin….
[You certainly know to amass a group of rascals round you. First Russell…now Ingersoll. I'm sure glad they are not on my side. You are welcome to them.]
This man forged five fetters for the brain. These fetters he called points.
[Actually the five points of Calvinism were framed long after Calvin's death and the death of Arminius too. The five points merely answered the five Arminian points of controversy and were conveniently put into the acrostic form of TULIP. But don't let the facts stand in the way. Truth has an awful habit of spoiling the fun.]
That is, predestination, particular redemption, total depravity, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints. About the neck of each follower he put a collar, bristling with these five iron points….
[I can't honestly say that the doctrine of total depravity affords me much comfort - I feel my responsibility for my own sin - but the other points only minister the sweetest of joy to my heart. I quote As Spurgeon said (quoted above): "I believe, most firmly, in the doctrines commonly called Calvinistic, and I hold them to be fraught with comfort to God's people…"]
Who can estimate the misery that has been caused by this most infamous doctrine of eternal punishment? Think of the lives it has blighted. . .of the tears it has caused. . .think of the millions that have been driven to insanity by this most terrible of dogmas. This doctrine renders God the basest and most cruel being in the Universe. Compared with Him, the most frightful deities of the most barbarous and degraded tribes are miracles of goodness and mercy. There is nothing more degrading than to worship such a God. Lower than this the soul can never sink. If the doctrine of eternal damnation is true let me have my portion in hell, rather than in heaven with a God infamous enough to inflict eternal misery upon the sons of men" (From Col. R. G. Ingersoll’s Fourty Four Lectures Complete: Heretics and Heresies , circa 1875). It would seem obvious that if an erudite unbeliever such as Col. R. G. Ingersoll can see the terrible discrepancy of Calvinistic teaching that a born again believer who is indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit should be able to do so as well.
[Ingersoll's hatred turns to the doctrine of eternal punishment. I assume that you believe in an eternal hell. I am left wondering why you should quote, obviously with some favour, this outburst of one of the most notorious infidels America ever produced. Ingersoll was not (as acknowledged) an unintelligent man. He knew that there was a section of the Christian Church whose views on election were radically different from those of the Reformer. But Ingersoll is not content to merely attack Calvinists…no he wants to attack the whole system of Christianity. You can keep him. And Russell too.]
A Calvinist must understand that the belief system he is attached to gives the unbeliever an excuse not to believe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
[Billy Sunday once said: An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie. Sinful man always finds a reason not to come to Christ. You probably find that by experience from your own gospel meetings. The Lord Jesus told a parable to that end.]
A Christian would never give an unbeliever any reason to remain in unbelief would he?
If unbelievers are told that God died for some, and not for all, would they question God’s love and will for them, personally?
[But why should they? Faith lays hold on the fact that Christ died for the ungodly and that "whosoever will may come" Jesus said: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me…" By coming to Christ, I am giving infallible evidence that I have been elected of God. I have the great promise "…him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37)]
Would not Satan use this to confuse them and keep them from the gospel message that Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins?
[Because Satan perverts every truth of God, this does not prevent us from preaching it. When I plead with sinners to be saved, I assure them that there is room at the Cross for them. This is not inconsistent with Calvin's teaching. Calvin himself taught: "The gospel is preached indiscriminately to the elect and to the reprobate; but the elect alone come to Christ because they have been taught of God." (Is. 4:146) This was borne out inCalvin's own soul winning ministry.]
Regrettably, this is exactly what the teaching of Calvinism does. This writer has met many angry people who have rejected the gospel because they have understood and now believe the teaching of Calvinism that they were very possibly not a part of the group Christ died for.
[Your controversy here is not with Calvin's teaching, but with the sinner's unbelief in the truth of God.]
Is this consistent with biblical revelation? Are these the kinds of questions that God’s Word seeks to raise in the minds of the lost? Certainly not!
[Hence the need to preach the "whole counsel of God" so that the sinner is left without any excuse at all.]
"Whosoever will…" is the consistent biblical invitation to the lost (Revelation 22:17).
[Amen! We highly recommend Spurgeon's sermons on the same.]
Jesus Christ has given the church His mandate to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Matt. 28:18-20; 2 Cor. 5:14-21).
[Amen again. Isn't it better to get away from the mischievous rantings of Ingersoll and Russell and keep to scripture? Incidentally, William Carey who is known as the "Father of modern Missions" was a zealous Calvinist. As was David Brainherd and a host of other great missionaries.]
It is very clear from the Scripture that God is a saving God.
From Genesis to Revelation, God voices His desire for the lost to be saved. The Scripture teaches, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:3, 4). Divine language cannot be made any more clear!
[I think Spurgeon again gives a good exposition of this text in his sermon on the same: It is quite certain that when we read that God will have all men to be saved it does not mean that he wills it with the force of a decree or a divine purpose, for, if he did, then all men would be saved. He willed to make the world, and the world was made: he does not so will the salvation of all men, for we know that all men will not be saved. Terrible as the truth is, yet is it certain from holy writ that there are men who, in consequence of their sin and their rejection of the Saviour, will go away into everlasting punishment, where shall be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth…Does not the text mean that it is the wish of God that men should be saved? The word "wish" gives as much force to the original as it really requires, and the passage should run thus- "whose wish it is that all men should be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth." As it is my wish that it should be so, as it is your wish that it might be so, so it is God’s wish that all men should be saved; for, assuredly, he is not less benevolent than we are. Then comes the question, "But if he wishes it to be so, why does he not make it so? " Beloved friend, have you never heard that a fool may ask a question which a wise man cannot answer, and, if that be so, I am sure a wise person, like yourself, can ask me a great many questions which, fool as I am, I am yet not foolish enough to try to answer. Your question is only one form of the great debate of all the ages,- "If God be infinitely good and powerful, why does not his power carry out to the full all his beneficence?" It is God’s wish that the oppressed should go free, yet there are many oppressed who are not free. It is God’s wish that the sick should not suffer. Do you doubt it? Is it not your own wish? And yet the Lord does not work a miracle to heal every sick person. It is God’s wish that his creatures should be happy. Do you deny that? He does not interpose by any miraculous agency to make us all happy, and yet it would be wicked to suppose that he does not wish the happiness of all the creatures that he has made. He has an infinite benevolence which, nevertheless, is not in all points worked out by his infinite omnipotence; and if anybody asked me why it is not, I cannot tell. I have never set up to be an explainer of all difficulties, and I have no desire to do so. It is the same old question as that of the negro who said, "Sare, you say the devil makes sin in the world." "Yes, the devil makes a deal of sin." "And you say that God hates sin." "Yes." "Then why does not he kill the devil and put an end to it?" Just so. Why does he not? Ah, my black friend, you will grow white before that question is answered. I cannot tell you why God permits moral evil, neither can the ablest philosopher on earth, nor the highest angel in heaven. This is one of those things which we do not need to know.
In other words, the willingness of God here has not passed into His decree. Evidently He has not decreed the salvation of all men without exception, although He declares it is His will that such be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. As a Calvinist, I am quite happy to take the glorious declaration of this verse and use it to persuade men of the mercy of God that awaits them if they apply for it.]
Who did Jesus Christ come to save and to die for? John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
[Calvin comments on this verse: Christ brought life, because the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish… And he has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the import of the term World, which he formerly used; for though nothing will be found in the world that is worthy of the favour of God, yet he shows himself to be reconciled to the whole world, when he invites all men without exception to the faith of Christ, which is nothing else than an entrance into life.
It is God's revealed will that He desires the salvation of the whole race. This ought to encourage every single sinner to seek salvation. No man has the right to say: "God does not love me" John 3:16 says otherwise. Yet it is also true that only the elect will be given faith to believe. We cannot run away from the clear teaching of scripture. The faith that saves is distinctly called the faith of God's elect (Titus 1:1) This belongs to the secretive will of God. We can content ourselves with that which God has revealed, and therefore teach like Calvin; (commenting on the next verse):
There is now no reason why any man should be in a state of hesitation, or of distressing anxiety, as to the manner in which he may escape death, when we believe that it was the purpose of God that Christ should deliver us from it. The word world is again repeated, that no man may think himself wholly excluded, if he only keep the road of faith.]
Romans 5:6-8 says, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly…. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." The benefits of His death were directed toward sin in providing redemption (paying our indebtedness to sin and breaking its dominion over us).
Ephesians 1:7 declares, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."
[Amen again. I like when you keep close to scripture.]
1 John 2:2 states that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. That is, propitiation is God’s recognition of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross in behalf of the world, whether man enters into its blessings or not.
[Take time to think about this one. Don't rush in right away. Did the Lord Jesus die and actually make propitiation for the sins of (say) wicked Haman? I mention him because he was in hell when Jesus died on Calvary. He was never going to leave hell (Luke 16:26) Why was he in hell? Because he died in his sins (John 8:21) Are you telling me that at that precise moment when "God laid on [Christ] the iniquities of us all" that the sins for which Haman was suffering were actually and physically and really imputed to Christ and that He actually, physically and really suffered the wrath due for them and so pay the debt. Your Arminianism compels you to say "Yes, He actually did" for to say otherwise is to limit the atonement to…well whoever apart from Haman. If Christ at that moment in time actually paid Haman's debt…why then is Haman still in hell? Can the God of Heaven, whose justice you are anxious (rightly) to defend, punish sin twice? Once on Haman and once on Jesus? Obviously not. Payment God cannot twice demand…first at my bleeding Surety's hand and then again at mine. You perhaps answer (as I have heard it said) that it is unbelief that keeps Haman from enjoying the benefits of salvation. I agree…but I must ask: Did Christ actually atone for this sin of unbelief? If so…why does it hinder him more than any other sin? If he did not so atone…then He did not die for all his sins.]
To say anything different than what God’s Word says concerning our Lord’s death and it’s application to men will not only bring God’s reproof, "Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar" (Prov. 30:6), but also God’s judgement (Rev. 22:18,19).
[Again…God's word is a two edge sword.]
It is important to realize that our Lord’s death provided reconciliation towards man and the world in relation to Himself. Second Corinthians 5:19 states, "…God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." What other conclusion can be reached but that God desires all men to be saved and has made provision for all men to come to Him?
[None. Spurgeon the Calvinist preaching on this text said:
We are moreover bidden to tell man that the atonement of Christ not confined to the Jew, that God has not reconciled the Jewish nation to himself, but the "world." That is to say, Christ has died for all nations, classes, sorts, and sizes. The atonement was not made for a class, but for all classes, not for the old exclusively, but for the young, not for the young only, but for the old as well. This is such an atonement made by Christ upon the cross that it presents a warrant for every sinner born of woman to come to God and say, "Lord, forgive me, for Christ has died." When we preach the Gospel it is in no stinted terms, looking about and thinking that perhaps there might be half a dozen in the building to whom the gospel might honestly be spoken, but looking every man in the face, we preach reconciliation by Jesus Christ to him, and point him to the atoning blood. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish but have everlasting life." Let no man, woman, or child here say, concerning himself, that there is a difficulty with God which Christ has not removed. The difficulty is in thine own soul, and if thou be willing to be reconciled, as sure as thou livest, and as sure as God’s Book is true, there is a reconciliation provided for thee in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Oh what gladness it is to be allowed to speak thus.]
According to John Calvin a sinner can only be saved if they are a part of God’s elect.
[Ultimately only the elect will be saved…but salvation is to be freely offered to all men without exception.]
However, election in Scripture only concerns itself with service that is according to the purpose of God.
[Service for God is an evidence of salvation which is an evidence that we have been elected to everlasting life.]
British author Dr. H. H. Rowley writes, "Whom God chooses, He chooses for service. There is variety of service, but it is all service, and it is all service for God…. The divine election concerns exclusively the divine service…. Election is for service. This is not to ignore the fact that it carries with it privilege. For in the service of God is man’s supreme privilege and honour…. To those who willingly and consciously accept the task to which they are called, the resources of God are open for the fulfilment of their mission, and here again is high privilege. Yet it is never primarily for the privilege but for the service that the elect are chosen…. Their election is for service, and it is only valid insofar as, and so long as, they fulfil that purpose [God’s]" (The Biblical Doctrine of Election, pp. 42, 45).
[I think we are straining at gnats here. It doesn't really solve the Arminian problem that God has in His sovereignty chose some men out of the mass of lost humanity and left others to perish in their chosen sin.]
M. R. Vincent, writing from his vast knowledge of Biblical languages explains, "Election and the kindred words, to choose, and chosen or elect, are used of God’s selection of men or agencies for special missions or attainments; but neither here nor elsewhere in the New Testament is there any warrant for the revolting doctrine that God has predestined a definite number of mankind to eternal life, and the rest to destruction….
[If Mr Vincent means that God arbitrarily damns men without any reference to their sins, then I agree that such a doctrine must be considered revolting.]
Election...the act of God’s holy will in selecting His own methods, instruments, and times for carrying out His purposes...is a fact of history and of daily observation" (Word Studies in the New Testament, Vol. IV, p. 16; Vol. III, p. 137).
H. H. Hobbs clearly states, "When reduced to its simplest elements election is twofold. first, God elected a plan of salvation which He accomplished in Christ. Man may either reject this plan or accept it…. Secondly, God elected a people to make known His plan of salvation…. Thus election is to both salvation and evangelism.
[Nice to see someone agree with Calvinists that election is to salvation and service.]
In both, the free-will of man determines the final result"
[The word determine is a strong word. Statements like these make God play second fiddle - sitting on the side lines as a helpless spectator.]
(What Baptists Believe, pp. 106-107).
[What some Baptists believe would be a better title. The 1689 Baptist Confession, assented to by Spurgeon and a host of others including many Baptists today would reject Mr Hobb's Arminian theology.]
That is, by free-will a man can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved, yet doubt God’s elective purpose for him resulting in a fruitless and barren life for the Saviour. Conversely, he who is saved can believe in God’s elective purpose resulting in a fruitful and productive life for the Saviour. The apostle Paul realised God’s elective purpose for him and so have many other faithful believers throughout church history. Like Paul, all believers should understand God’s elective purpose for them. Quoting Dr. Rowley once again he says, "To be the elect of God is not to be His pampered favourite. It is to be challenged to a loyalty and a service and a sacrifice that knows no limits…. Just as the prophets in the moment of their consciousness of their election to their office felt a trembling humility and a burning sense of the task to which they were called, so should all the elect who compromise the Church of Christ feel an ever renewed humility of spirit and wonder at the greatness of their privilege, together with a burning of heart at the greatness and urgency of the task to which they are elect…. And when a Church turns in on itself and becomes a mutual improvement society, and regards itself as a little Ark of safety in a troubled world, instead of charged with a mission to the world, it turns its back on its election. The corollary of election is ever purposeful service, and its demand is for consecrated zeal" (The Biblical Doctrine of Election, pp. 168, 173, 174).
[As we have acknowledged before, election leads to salvation which leads to service for God. No problem with this. The determining factor is God's free grace…not man's free will. I did not come to Christ against my will, but because my will was graciously renewed by the power of God.]
In Ephesians 1:4 the Scripture teaches that the saints are chosen in Him to be holy and without blame before him in love, not chosen to salvation.
[There is more to salvation that being delivered from hell fire. Holiness is part of the salvation to which we have been chosen from eternity.]
Robert McClurkin writes, "We are not chosen to be put into Christ, ‘but chosen in Him’….God places every believer ‘in Christ’ to share His election. Christ is God’s Elect, ‘Mine Elect in whom My soul delighteth’ [Isaiah 42:1]. He was elected to fulfill a mission and to perform a task…. Keep in mind then that election is ‘in Christ.’
[The elect were chosen in Christ unto salvation. To deny this is to deny 2 Thessalonians 2:13]
We are not among the elect until we come into Christ by repentance and faith" (Biblical Balance on Election and Free Will, pp. 29,40).
[This is nonsense. Being ordained unto eternal life, we then believed (Acts 13:48) Our being chosen in Christ was before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) - our faith and repentance could only be in time.]
Living holy lives and doing those good works that God has created us for in this present age of grace is God’s elective purpose for His saints. How will this be accomplished? By allowing the Spirit of God to have His way in our life so that a consecrated and obedient walk before Him is the result. Ephesians 2:10 explains, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (See also Titus 2:14; 3:8; 3:14).
[It is more accurate to say that good works and holy living is the result of our salvation which in turn is a result of our election in Christ.]
The doctrine of Election is dynamic Biblical truth that correctly orients all believers to the purposes of God, and as such, demands responsibility and decision.
If men are not elected or chosen to salvation as John Calvin taught then how are men to be saved?
[This is a truly amazing statement. Calvin does teach that men are elected and chosen to salvation - just that such cannot be said of all men without exception. It is sometimes hard to know where you are coming from when you make foolish statements like these.]
Galatians 3:8 says that, "…God would justify the heathen through faith…." Faith is the means for salvation and Jesus Christ has provided the way of salvation. Faith always has an object and for the sinner this will be Jesus Christ and His work on the cross for them. Men put their faith on the perfect finished sacrifice of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ whose blood was shed for them for the remission of their sins and who rose again bodily from the grave. This salvation is given to anyone who will admit his lost condition as a sinner. Then when he, by faith, receives the Lord Jesus as the one who died for him and rose again, he shall be saved from the guilt and penalty of sin.
[Amen. Back unto good ground again.]
How does faith come? Dr. C. I. Scofield explains, "There are three things, grace, faith, salvation, and these are all the gift of God. But here is the significant fact, dear friends, here begins your responsibility: of this wonderful trio. . .grace, faith, salvation. . .you have already received the gift of faith. Now you are saying: ‘If I have faith, if already God has given me faith, why am I not saved?’ Because you have not used it rightly…that is all…. Dear friends, do not make difficulties about things where there are no difficulties. Faith is a gift and you have it" (In Many Pulpits With C. I. Scofield, pp. 90-91).
[This is news to the Apostle Paul who wrote to the Thessalonians and said: "All men have not faith…" (2 Thessalonians 3:2) True…natural man can produce that kind of faith that is akin to the faith of devils (James 2:19) The faith that saves is distinctly referred to as the "faith of God's elect" (Titus 1:1) and the logical reality of it all is: Only the elect have it. However, we may summons all men without distinction to faith in Christ, since they are responsible before God, and knowing that in our very summonsing, God may be pleased to grant that which He requires.]
Dr. H. A. Ironside said, "Faith is the gift of God…. All men may have faith [in Christ Jesus] if they will;
[Scofield says that all men have faith…Ironside takes the opposite view says that they may have it if they are willing.]
but alas, many refuse to hear the Word of God, so they are left in their unbelief. The Holy Spirit presents the Word, but one may resist His gracious influence. On the other hand, one may listen to the Word and believe it. That is faith. It is God’s gift, it is true, because given through His Word" (Full Assurance, pp. 98-99).
A Calvinist will teach that if man expresses his faith toward God and His Word (regarding salvation) it would be a work of man.
[Your lack of documentation is a comment in itself. Calvinists believe no such thing. Faith is the gift of God. I don't know where you are coming from with this one.]
But faith defined in Scripture is not a work. Romans 4:5 clearly teaches, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." The teaching of Ephesians 2:8,9 is also clear, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
[I agree completely…which makes your comment about Calvinists believing that faith is a work most peculiar. I have never yet heard or read any Arminian make the charge against Calvinism that you are making. Strange.]
Commenting on these verses Washington Gladden said, "What says the text? ‘By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God’…the pronoun translated ‘that’ cannot refer to faith, and must refer to salvation by grace.
[The Calvinistic teaching that faith is a gift (which Mr Ironside affirms above) does not solely rely on Ephesians 2:8. It is the teaching of Philippians 1:29 where it is given us on the behalf of Christ not only to believe, but also to suffer for His sake. The root word for given is the same as that of grace.]
Read the next verse. ‘Not of works, lest any man should boast.’ What is not of works, faith, or salvation? To say that faith is not of works, is nonsense; to argue that salvation is not of works, is to do just what Paul is doing. The grace of God, the pardon and sympathy and help of God, is God’s free gift; it is nothing that we have earned or merited; it is gratuity…. The act of accepting salvation is surely man’s act, and that act is faith. The free act of God in bestowing salvation is grace; the free act of man in accepting it is faith" (A Homiletic Encyclopedia, R. A. Bertram, editor, p. 32).
[I agree. Calvinists need to be careful that we do not give the impression that God believes for us. I believed…but God gave me the faith to believe and enabled me to believe His Son.]
J. F. Strombeck in his book, Shall Never Perish writes concerning faith, "There is no merit in faith. If there was the slightest merit in faith, it could not be a channel through which grace could work. It would be a counter agent to grace which, by its very nature excludes merit on the part of the saved one. Faith does not only exclude the thought of merit, it actually includes the idea of helplessness and hopelessness. In faith one calls upon another to do that which one is unable to do for oneself. A child in the family is sick and near death. The family physician is called. In so doing the parents confess their own inability to deal with the illness and express their confidence in the doctor. There is no merit in calling the doctor. Their faith in the doctor merely gives him the opportunity to work. The object of the sinners faith is Christ. [Hebrews 11:1 states, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen"]. He did not come into the world to help men to be saved. He came to save that which was lost...that which was beyond all human help. As Saviour, He came to give His life as a ransom...to die, and thereby take upon Himself the judgement for sin.
Jesus gave a clear illustration of what faith in Him means. He said to Nicodemus: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:14,15). The Israelite in the wilderness showed his faith by looking on the serpent of brass that hung on the pole (see Num. 21:5-9). In this one act of faith was expressed a confession of sin and utter helplessness and an acknowledgement that God’s provision was his only hope. He did not understand the significance of the serpent, nor why it was made of brass. He did not analyse his faith to see if it was sufficient. He did not question the intensity of his look. He surely claimed no merit for looking. There were just two things in his mind: his own absolute hopelessness and the sufficiency of God’s provision. And this is all that there is to that faith through which the lost are saved. There is no power in faith that contributes to salvation…. Sometimes one hears sinners invited to come to the cross and lay their sin burden there. If this were possible, it might be contended that faith is a work, but even this is impossible. No person can take the sin burden off of himself. The sin burden must always rest upon a person and it stays on the sinner until it is taken and placed upon Christ and that can be done only by God. "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6).
If man is totally incapable of doing anything to remove the sin burden from himself, he is much more incapable of contributing anything to the doing of all of the things already mentioned as being true of the one who is saved. Through faith (that is the acknowledgment of one’s own utter helplessness and hopelessness and the casting of one’s self upon God’s provision) God is able to act in grace. That is the meaning of: "It is of faith that it might be by grace." That is also the meaning of: "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God" (John 1:12). The meaning of faith then, as well as the meaning of grace, excludes every possible vestige of human merit" (John Strombeck, Shall Never Perish, pp. 25-28). Romans 10:17 is clear about the origin of faith when it says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." It is clear from the Scripture that man is the one who must hear and believe. John 5:24 says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
If the Word of God is distorted and the gospel is skewed by saying only certain ones can believe and Jesus Christ may not have died for them, then man will not hear and faith will not come. That is, man will not apply his faith to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ for him.
[History bears out the error of your assertion. Many of the great revivals in the Christian church came through Calvinistic preachers. Spurgeon taught clearly the doctrines of grace as did Jonathan Edwards etc.,]
The unbeliever is then given an excuse not to believe. Why would any believer ever want this to be an end result?
[We have covered this ground before. There is little point in drifting round in circles.]
Biblical revelation contradicts Calvin’s teaching and understanding of the gospel and its application to men.
[Again, you did not state Calvin's overall position clearly and even managed to make statements which misrepresented Calvin's position altogether. I suggest further research before you start coming to conclusions.]
IMPLICATION FOUR: GOD’S JUDGEMENT IS DISTORTED
The fourth implication of Calvinism pertains to the timing of God’s judgement. John Calvin taught that before the world began God had already declared eternal judgement on some for reasons man cannot understand.
[You covered this ground under your first point. Readers will forgive me for use of the copy and paste facility: Reprobation consists of two main parts. The first is called preterition where God in His sovereignty decided not to elect some to everlasting life. As God owes no man anything, none can justly argue at the righteousness His decision in passing him by and leaving him to his own sinful self determination. This act of preterition does not make man a sinner. The second part is called condemnation. This is the act of a Sovereign Judge. It is passed upon sinners. No man will be damned except for his own sin. It is true that in these particular quotes, isolated from a large section of his works, Calvin is emphasising the sovereignty of God part. But elsewhere, Calvin quite clearly reminds us that the reprobate is responsible for his own damnation. To quote: "For when we assert that none undeservingly perish, and that it is by God's freely given kindness that some are released, we have said enough to show forth his glory without the least need of evasion." (Institutes 3:24:12) Again he taught that "We who know all men to be on so many accounts liable before God's judgement seat…confess that the wicked suffer nothing out of accord with God's most righteous judgement." (Institutes 3:24:14)]
Calvin teaches, "Who then shall be saved? That is what His sovereign will decides and nothing else. It is purely a matter of the divine sovereign will which, doubtless for good reasons known to God Himself, but none of them relative to anything distinguishing one man morally from another, chooses some and rejects the rest" (Calvin’s Institutes III, chapter xxiii, page 10).
[As above. Preterition is sovereign…judgement is judicial. It is not that there is no moral consideration in the whole matter…it is just that the elect were not more moral than the reprobate. Paul was the chief of sinners…yet he was among the elect.]
A Calvinist will make God judge man and his sin before God’s time of judgement as given in His Word. This judgement, according to Calvin, will not be relative to anything that would morally distinguish one man from another, but rather is purely a matter of God’s will. Is this what the Scripture teaches?
[Once more… we answered this under your first point. Saying a thing twice does not necessarily make it right.]
It is true that God has judged sin throughout history. One only has to recall the "great deluge" of Genesis chapter six, or the death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary to appreciate God’s righteous judgement on sin. It is also true that God’s wrath abides on those who remain in their unbelief. However, it is not until the Great White Throne judgement of Revelation chapter twenty that God’s eternal judgement for man’s sin takes place and God’s official declaration to those who chose not to believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ is applied to the unbeliever. When this happens, these unbelievers will be cast into the lake of fire forever. This is the teaching of God’s Word: "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20: 11-14).
A Calvinist would believe that those who are described as "cast into the lake of fire" are those who, before the foundation of the world, were decreed by God to be there. Is this true?
[As far as it goes…yes.]
No, it is not! According to the Bible, men will be judged to the lake of fire because their name was not found written in the Book of Life. . . "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:15). The Scripture also teaches that men are judged according to their works (Rev. 20:13). According to the Scripture, an unbeliever’s judgement is qualified by God in two ways: first, his works; and second, his name being found in the Book of Life. Nowhere in Scripture can we find the false teaching that God in eternity past decreed some to the lake of fire.
[You are saying nothing new here. I refer the reader to the first part of this review of what Mr Huss supposes is Calvinism.]
According to Jesus Christ, the lake of fire was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41) who fell from their right standing with God before the fall of man. That is, the original intent of the lake of fire (prior to man’s fall into sin) was punishment for Satan and his angels because of their rebellion against God. After the fall of man into sin at Eden, God broadened the lake of fire to include those of the human race who would choose not to believe in God’s promised redeemer effectively taking their names out of the book of life and proving their unbelief by their works (Genesis 3:15). This is worth noting since nowhere in Scripture do we find a place of eternal residence other than the lake of fire and the New Jerusalem prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2). It is also revealing since it tells us that God never had any desire or plan for mankind other than for man to always be with Him. This truth is consistent with Scripture (1 Tim. 2:3-6; 2 Pet. 3:9; Acts 17:30; John 3:16-17; Ezekiel 33:11).
[Here we need to differentiate between the secretive and the revealed will of God. We are still on old ground. I refer the reader to R.L. Dabney's reference to this above.]
Indeed, an unbeliever’s eternal residence will be the lake of fire, but not because our Lord decreed it to be!
[So when the Bible says that God works all things out after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11) - it does not refer to the eternal destiny of the unbeliever?]
Regrettably, some will be lost, but God will not be the agent of their perdition.
[True…they are responsible for their own plight. This is the correct balance of scripture. I agree.]
They are the ones who by their works have proven they knew not the Saviour and are thus cast into the lake of fire.
Presently, God is acting in mercy and grace and is not dispensing such judgement until the Great White Throne. God has not consigned anyone to the lake of fire as yet.
[We are moving away slightly from the issue of Calvinism. Suffice to say that there are people burning in hell even now (Luke 16:19-31)]
The Calvinist believes and teaches that God has already judged some to the lake of fire, even before their creation by God.
[All that comes to pass has been decreed by God from eternity. We cover this above.]
It is true that God will be the judge, but not until grace and mercy have been expended, the tribulation has come and gone, and Jesus Christ has reigned on the earth for one thousand years. Until then, His grace and mercy are extended to man. 2 Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord…is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." In other words, God is longsuffering to us (giving us who know Him time to proclaim the message of salvation) so that others might be saved. The Scripture teaches this in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. It says, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
The love of Christ and the duty that accompanies our being an ambassador for Him requires us to proclaim God’s reconciliation to all men. All were dead, He died for all, all need to be saved, and all who believe will be! We are to view the lost as such so that in giving them the gospel some will truly believe and be saved.
[True again. No Calvinist would dispute these words as they stand.]
What terrible loss awaits the Calvinist who makes God to be something that He is not.
[Likewise, what a terrible loss awaits the Arminian who makes God to be something that He is not.]
God is a saving God. "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17). God’s Word concludes with a Gospel invitation to "whosoever will."
[Amen. As a preacher, both indoors and in the open air, I love to sound out that great text. Incidentally, Arthur Pink whom Mr Gaebelein basically slandered above concluded this gospel meetings by pleading with sinners to be saved. One sermon finished with these words:
Why not believe in him for yourself? Why not trust his precious blood for yourself, and why not tonight? Why not tonight, my friend? God is ready, God is ready to save you now if you believe on him. The blood has been shed, the sacrifice has been offered, the atonement has been made, the feast has been spread. The call goes out to you tonight. 'Come, for all things are now ready.' (Studies in the Scriptures 1927)
[Read the sermons of the great Calvinist evangelists and see how they all insist on this great truth: Whoever will may come" What spurred these men on in their zeal for souls, was the great truth that the elect will come.]
We must be careful not to fall into the errant teaching of Calvinism, but cling to God’s Word alone and not man’s teachings that contradict Biblical truth.
[If by Calvinism, you mean the doctrines of grace as Calvinists believe them (and not as you have wrongly thought we believed) then those who believe these doctrines do actually cling to God's word. It is those basic tenets of Arminianism which contradict Biblical truth.]
2 Timothy 2:23-26 says, "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
[A good quote. Just noting there that repentance likewise is a gift of God.]
For the Calvinist, there are many ‘why’ questions that can never be answered.
[I think the "why" questions belong to every Christian. The secret things belong unto the Lord, the things that are revealed unto us and our children. (Deuteronomy 29:29)]
Reconciling their understanding of election, predestination, adoption, and foreknowledge is an impossible exercise for the Calvinist. This inability to reconcile these terms of Scripture is answered by the Calvinist with such statements as, "God is sovereign, and man cannot understand these doctrines until we get to heaven." Whatever cannot be explained or understood is placed under the sovereignty of God.
[As quoted, some things are held back from us. Other things are revealed. There are a lot of notable Calvinistic theologians out there who can present a clearer picture of God's purposes as revealed than the Arminian ones.]
Yet the Scripture teaches the meaning of these terms. When understood in their biblical context, they beautifully come together to present a perfect picture of God and His saving grace.
G. B. Stevens in his work The Theology Of The New Testament writes, "Theology has often applied these ideas to the subject of man’s final destiny. Whatever may be the logic of such an application, it is exegetically unjustifiable. It is a use of Paul’s words which he does not sanction, and which misapprehends the point of his argument…. I reply that Paul does not teach the eternal, unconditional predestination of some men to final salvation and of others to final condemnation.
[We have already refuted this above.]
He does not teach the doctrine of predestination which Calvin taught, nor does he teach the doctrine as held by historic Calvinism….
[Evidently I would have to disagree with this view.]
If we should assume, for the sake of argument, that in Romans 9-11 Paul was speaking of human destiny, [Paul is not speaking about human destiny in these chapters, rather he is discussing the historic missions of men and nations i.e. Pharaoh, Jacob and Esau]
[The language of Romans 9 is fitted to the discussion of salvation and damnation. The use of the word mercy and hardened along with words like vessels of wrath fitted to destruction etc., show that this is so. Those who teach otherwise are seeking to blunt the teaching of God's word. It gains nothing to be a trimmer of God's word.]
and that he held the Calvinistic view of God’s purpose, we might summarise his argument thus: God has from eternity appointed some to eternal salvation and others to eternal perdition, ‘in order that he might have mercy upon all.’
[It seems to be a common trait of Arminian theologians that they fail to tell the whole Calvinist side. This is a serious failing. As I debate with different people from a different theological viewpoint than my own, I always seek to set out their stall for them as fairly as possible. We might disagree on our views, but I would be horrified to think that I had misrepresented some one.]
On the contrary, Paul’s whole doctrine of sin assumes that Adam fell freely and voluntarily. His sin was contrary to the will of God. It equally assumes that all men who perish do so by their own fault. The salvation of all is the aim of the gospel. God "willeth that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4). Christ came to be the "Saviour of all men" (1 Tim. 4:10). The maxim which emerges from Paul’s discussion of the mysteries of God’s providence and purpose is: "That he might have mercy upon all" (Rom. 11:32). God may choose some and reject others; he may appoint some to one career, others to another; his ways are past finding out; he may do what he will; but whatever he does, it is to the end ‘that he may have mercy upon all.’
[Amen. Calvin himself would agree with you here.]
It would be a glaring contradiction for Paul to affirm that God does not will the salvation of some, but has eternally appointed them to perdition. Happily for his consistency, he has never recorded such a statement or its equivalent. It is reasonable to suppose that consequences which Paul has not himself drawn from his own doctrine of predestination, and which if drawn would contradict his explicit teaching regarding the universality of God’s purpose of grace, are not a part of his system of thought" (pp. 385, 386).
[Again, an understanding of the secret will of God and the revealed will of God will go a long way towards understanding these things.]
If one will come to God’s Word in humility and believe what God has written, the believer will learn God’s truth. Paul told Timothy that he "…hast fully known my doctrine…" (2 Tim. 3:10). The Scripture admonishes the believer to "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).
My prayer for those who are caught in the error of Calvinism would be that they fully know, like Timothy, God’s truth as well, leaving the alloy of human wisdom that defines Calvinism and come back to the humble fellowship that believers have with the Spirit of God who leads and guides His people into all truth.
[Once I held to the doctrines that you held to for men are Arminian by nature. My Calvinism (which is a long way away from the caricature which you have painted) has opened my eyes to the greatness of God who sits unchallenged in the Heavens, none staying His hand or saying unto Him what doest thou? (Daniel 4:35) I found it consistent to pray for the lost, for what can God further do to save them, if (according to Arminian) he has effectively done all that He can?]
C. H. Mackintosh, a noted writer and Bible commentator wrote concerning God, "He, blessed be His name, has not confined Himself within the narrow limits of any school of doctrine, high, low, or moderate. He has revealed Himself. He has told out of the deep and precious secrets of His heart. He has unfolded His eternal counsels, as to the church, as to Israel, the Gentiles, and the wide creation. Men might as well attempt to confine the ocean in buckets of their own formation as to confine the vast range of divine revelation within the feeble enclosures of human systems of doctrine. It cannot be done, and it ought not to be attempted. Better far to set aside the systems of theology and schools of divinity, and come like a little child to the eternal fountain of Holy Scripture, and there drink in the living teachings of God’s Spirit" (Miscellaneous Writings of C. H. Mackintosh, Vol. V; p. 168).
[Amen Mr Mackintosh. We only refer to our doctrines as Calvinism because that is the name by which they are commonly called.]
May God enlighten your heart to His truth as you consider these very serious implications of The Doctrines of Grace, otherwise known as Calvinism. - MARK HUSS
[In closing: In the light of what I pointed out, you would need to seriously revise these "very serious implications" I have found nothing here that would induce me to turn from the Doctrines of Grace. I am somewhat disappointed that they were not set forth with any great degree of accuracy. Surely it is not acceptable to understate a man's belief on one hand and misrepresent it on the other? - COLIN MAXWELL.]
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