An Inquiry into Calvinism

“My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin.  But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the righteous One.  He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.”  I John 2:1, 2

“This is good, and it pleases God our Saviour, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, a man, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself—a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.” I Timothy 2:3-6

“What then?  Shall we try to put another meaning into the text than that which it fairly bears?  I think not…You must, most of you, be acquainted with the general method in which our older Calvinistic friends deal with this text. ‘All me’ say they ‘that is, some men’:  as if the Holy Ghost could not have said ‘some men’ if He meant some men.  ‘All men,’ say they: ‘that is, some of all sorts of men; as if the Lord could not have said, ‘All sorts of men’ if He had meant that.  The Holy Ghost by the apostle has written, ‘All men,’ and unquestionably he mans all men…My love of consistency with my own doctrinal views is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture.”  Charles H. Spurgeon (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 26, pages49f)…found in Dave Hunt, What Love Is This? p. 274

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you.  I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. I command you: love one another.”  John 15:16, 17

“It is always important to distinguish between Divine foreknowledge and Divine predestination.  God foreknows everything that every man will do; but He does not predetermine everything that every man does.  Nay, that would make God the author of sin.”  J. Sidlow Baxter, Explore the Book, p. 89

“Today there is growing division on this issue, most Calvinists insisting that Christ died only for the elect.  On the other hand, IFCA International, a group of about 700 independent evangelical churches and 1,200 pastors (some of them Calvinists) declares in its doctrinal statement, ‘We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for all mankind…to accomplish the redemption of all who trust in him.’”  Dave Hunt, op.cit., p. 19

“Yes, God was speaking to ‘Israel mine elect’ in Isaiah 45:4, but most of them did not heed His call.”  Dave Hunt, op. cit., p. 103

“Debate over Calvinism continues within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).  On May 31 a group of SBC leaders published a statement titled the ‘Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation,’ which expresses concern about Baptist ‘New Calvinists’ and their goal of ‘making Calvinism the central Southern Baptist position on God’s plan of salvation.’

The statement acknowledges that Calvinism, with its emphasis on predestination and God’s sovereignty, has played a role in Baptist theology for its 17th century origins, and  that not all SBC Calvinists have ‘demanded the adoption of their view as the standard.’  But it suggests that some radical Calvinists are trying to force their theology on their non-Calvinist Baptist brethren.

“A number of Baptists, both Calvinists and non-Calvinists, have criticized the statement for fostering unnecessary division and unfairly representing Calvinism.  Surveys indicate that a minority of SBC clergy are Calvinists but that larger numbers of young pastors promote the theology.

“Although two current SBC seminary presidents signed the document, Frank Page, the president of the SBC’s executive committee, did not, saying that the denomination needed to focus on areas of agreement.” Thomas Kidd, World magazine, June 30, 2012, p. 68

Editor’s Comment:  Those leaning toward Calvinism owe themselves a thorough reading of Dave Hunt’s book What Love Is This? If you can still accept limited atonement after reading his book, then enjoy Calvinism, but please drop me a line and explain why a judgment at the end time… it would appear that everything has been decided at the frontend…

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3 thoughts on “An Inquiry into Calvinism

  1. Ma Sands says:

    Labels burble inside me, when I try to make them sit still and mean one thing. : )
    I’ve tried, quite some few times over the years, to comprehend what is meant by “Calvinism”. Have not succeeded –yet. : )
    My eldest son (older than his twin brother by 8 minutes : ) attends John Piper’s church, and once told me he & they are Calvinists of a sort, accepting, I think he said, 3 of the 7 tenets –or something like that. : )
    About what appears to be the argument within all these quotes above here, I wonder if the settling of discord could be as simple as accepting that, since we live, in this portion of life, in linear time, and are incapable of comprehending quite much that God does fully, it is very possible that those who say it’s all decided already, are not denying that Jesus the Christ died for all sin, but are saying two things: He died for all sin, and He also knows which are the folks who will not be accepting that unto salvation. That is what I myself am sure He has told us, even though I cannot reason with my limited linear reasoning, to how the two can both be.
    It is much like the other thing that hits my belly like the huge metal ball of a church-tower bell each time even a whisper of the question begins to enter my mind: How can God have had no beginning?

  2. Luddite Barry says:

    OK. I’ll bite. This article states well the quandary posed by the “limited atonement” point of the 5 points attributed to Calvin.
    The problem with the “unlimited atonement” espoused in this article is also rooted in the judgment. If Christ died for the sins of all men, then the price for the sins of all men has already been paid by our Savior. If it’s already been paid, how can the Father exact a second penalty at the judgment for those who have no saving faith? Would it be justice for those sins to be punished twice?
    Having posed that question, I’ll freely confess that this is a problem rooted in logic, rather than a clear statement in scriptures. But the scriptures are also quite clear that those who have no saving faith will spend their eternity in punishment for their sins.
    Therein lays the logical predicament that must be answered by the non-Calvinist. How is it that the Heavenly Father can punish Jesus for the sins of all mankind and then turn around and punish individual men for those same sins if they fail to find a saving faith?

    • Greg M. says:

      “The provisional benefits of Christ’s death are not extended for or given to those who do not believe in Christ. This is so because eternal life is a gracious offer to be received by faith, not a compulsion that is forced by irresistible power. If all humanity is composed of guilty sinners deserving the punishment of hell, Christ died for all such humanity, and some humans fail to appropriate by faith the benefits provided by Christ’s death, how may it be said that God is unfair? Did not God provide the completely satisfactory remedy and offer deliverance by grace alone through faith alone in Christ and His finished work alone? That Christ died for every single man does not validly argue against the fairness of God. Rather, the universal extent and intention to provide a way of deliverance validates His justice and the wrathful judgment of those who refuse or neglect His gracious offer. The primary reason for such a death sentence is that men are sinners, are guilty, and deserve condemnation. The secondary reason for it is that they have not appropriated the remedy of the cross by personal faith. Men stand justly condemned because of sin and guilt if they are not believers (John 3:16, 18, 36). Men will never stand condemned because Christ did not die for them, because He did. Therefore, it is not legitimate to say that God is unfair in sending unbelievers to hell. On the contrary, it would seem completely unjust for God to send some men to hell because no provision was made for their salvation.” Anthony B. Badger, JOTGES, 2004, p.42-43

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