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Oct 05, 2012

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Ben Simpson

So, with what exactly do you take issue in the quote?

That God ordained the fall of mankind?
That out of mere sovereign grace God chose to adopt some of the fallen?
That election precedes faith and therefore, only the elect will believe?
That God can do with His creatures (both angelic and human) what He wants, using some as vessels of vengeance while others as vessels of mercy?
That God can ordain sin but not be responsible for sin?

Just curious since you left us hanging.

peter lumpkins

Well, no Ben I didn't leave you or others hanging. I specifically mentioned in the opening line the insurmountable difficulty embedded within Augustinian thinking I find; namely, the rigid, non-negotiable theo-philosophical determinism without which Calvinism per se reduces, at least in my view, to a hollow intellectual shell.

With that, I am...
Peter

Les Prouty

Great quote. It reminds me why I am a Calvinist and wonder how I was ever not a Calvinist. I too find this kind of thinking non-negotiable am ever so glad it is. For if God's plan to save some sinners were negotiable, none would ever be saved.

peter lumpkins

Yes, Les, that's just wonderful...a God Who gets His kicks by creating people for the specific purpose of damning them to an eternal hell for which they were chosen before born to populate, all of course to the praise of His "glorious justice." Yes, that's a wonderful thought by which to live. And I can see easily how such a soothing, loving thought could inspire a life of sacrificial charity and jaw-dropping service...

With that, I am...
Peter

Les Prouty

Peter,

"And I can see easily how such a soothing, loving thought could inspire a life of sacrificial charity and jaw-dropping service..."

Many men and women who were/are Calvinists have devoted their lives to "sacrificial charity and jaw-dropping service" to a far greater degree than the two of us combined. I'm afraid that argument won't work.

peter lumpkins

It's not an argument, Les, it's a conclusion spiced with a little bit of sarcasm. Furthermore, I didn't post the original piece to argue a point but make an observation about my theological journey.

Have a good afternoon.

With that, I am...
Peter

Les Prouty

Peter,

Sorry if I misread you. I'm not looking for an argument either. Have a good day yourselves and from St. Louis, Go Cards!!

andrew

Peter,
Your attempt to get God off the hook seems to fail unless you say that he did not know that man would sin and thereby be condemned. Is there a real difference between God determining for these things to happen and God not directly ordaining them yet proceeding with creation knowing they would happen?

peter lumpkins

Andrew,

It's an unsettled issue in philosophy of religion whether God's knowing the future reduces to God's causing the future. Some Reformed thinkers argue there is no distinction, and therefore attempt to make non-Reformed thinkers into determinists through the back door, apparently similarly to what you're suggesting. Interestingly, Open theists mostly agree with those Reformed thinkers who do so, at least from the way I understand the exchange.

Suffice it to say, at least from my take on it, there seems to me to be an intuitive difference between what will be and the determining cause leading to what will be. Whatever the case, it's not the non-Reformed who has the most difficulty at this juncture. Contrary to Calvin's dogged insistence he's not doing so, his understanding does in fact make God out to be the author of sin. For me, I see absolutely no way around this. It's one of those thorny little spikes which goaded me away from rigid Calvinism.

With that, I am...
Peter

lydia

"Many men and women who were/are Calvinists have devoted their lives to "sacrificial charity and jaw-dropping service" to a far greater degree than the two of us combined. I'm afraid that argument won't work. "

Yes, the historical record of Calvinist "charity" are jaw dropping. We can start with Geneva. Refugees were fine if tow the party line. If not, punished, banished or worse, burned. Or how about the much (by the YRR) Puritans? Native American who did not cooperate or convert were wiped out. The Quakers were persecuted instead of welcomed. Many who dared to disagree were banished, or worse.

I am about ready to read about the Dutch Reformed definition of "charity" in South Africa.

It is a wonderful thing that sort of "charity" became illegal in America!

lydia

"a God Who gets His kicks by creating people for the specific purpose of damning them to an eternal hell for which they were chosen before born to populate, all of course to the praise of His "glorious justice." Yes, that's a wonderful thought by which to live. And I can see easily how such a soothing, loving thought could inspire a life of sacrificial charity and jaw-dropping service..."

Exactly! I am cheered by more and more people I am meeting who have figured this out and are leaving the Reformed movement. it is fatalistic UNLESS you are one of the specially anointed ones who are to be obeyed.

Hobart M. Tucker

Andrew,

In regard to your question -- yes there is a big difference. It is the difference between believing God's Word or man's.

James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

-- Bart

Steve Martin

God is in charge. He does use all things, including evil, for His purposes. Elects us through the gospel (somehow), and loves and forgives ALL people.

And yet, many will not hear (who knows why not) the gospel and will not receive the gift of faith and will spend eternity separated from Him in hell.

I'm not a Calvinist. It robs people of any assurance of the gospel. It forces people to look inward for their assurance, and that is always a dubious exercise.

I'm also not a fan of baptist theology which also turns people back into themselves with "their decision for Jesus". That is also a dubious exercise that does not rely upon the promises and decision that God has made for them, the ungodly.

Thanks.

-theoldadam.com

Louis

I would not phrase the quote the way it has been phrased (of course it wasn't written in English anyway.)

And I certainly wouldn't agree with a detractor's summary of what the quote means.

Guys, these issues are really unknowable in many respects, and there seems, to me, to be no perfect answer that sounds good to our ears.

I agree with one writer who noted that from a human perspective there are an equal amount of problems with a God who ordained such things and a God who, while powerful and all knowing, watched such things and did nothing to stop it. Sure, one side or the other can argue the points that makes their side seem more humane and fair, but stepping back and looking at it from a human perspective, it doesn't make sense.

Even the non-Calvinist admits that the fall infected all humans so that they are not able to choose the good and live in harmony with God, but will inevitably sin and be at odds with God.

How, from a human perspective, that's supposed to be a big improvement on God ordaining things, is beyond me.

The basic point for me is that it is o.k. for any person to come ot their own conclusions and point out why they think they are right.

But something, it seems, should be held in reserve. Humility demands that we can't really understand this stuff at its essence.

Louis

Oh, and let me add, it is really a dead end trail to try and argue that the guys in my camp are more godly than the guys in your camp from a historical perspective.

Does anyone on here really want to go there?

peter lumpkins

Louis,

First you suggest "these issues are really unknowable in many respects..." then conclude, "How, from a human perspective, that's supposed to be a big improvement on God ordaining things, is beyond me." Can't have it both ways, Louis. It seems strange to suggest something is beyond comprehension in one breath and turn right around and claim it makes no sense in the next.

Once again: there seems to intuitively exist a clear difference in knowing what will be and decreeing what must be. In short, is infallible knowledge intrinsically causal in nature? It seems to me it is not.

For my part, it most certainly does make a difference to suggest God decreed the fall and not merely allowed it, an allowance which Calvinists cannot claim.

Now, if you are of the mind of this being of the mysterious nature, I'd invite you in joining me in dismissing Calvin's denigration of God's character by making God out to be the author of evil.

With that, I am...
Peter

Chris Roberts

I'm having a hard time figuring out where to find the quote in Calvin's work. I don't doubt that it's his, I'm just trying to find it. I see you quoted it from a secondary source and I find references (without quoting it) to Opera ix in Schaff, but what is that?

Chris Roberts

Peter,

"It's an unsettled issue in philosophy of religion whether God's knowing the future reduces to God's causing the future."

That's probably not what he was getting at. If God knows all the pain that will come following his act of creation, and he creates anyway, then how does he avoid carrying at least some of the responsibility for the pain? God knows people will reject him, will rebel, will ultimately be cast into Hell - but he creates them anyway and leaves the world in such a way that allows their sin to take place.

If I have infallible knowledge that if I take my kids to the Grand Canyon tomorrow, one of them will ignore my instructions to be still and will instead jump up and down right next to the edge, slip, and fall to the bottom, to what degree am I responsible if I still take my kids there tomorrow? I didn't write that future, but if I know it with absolute certainty, how do I not bear at least some of the responsibility for facilitating their painful disobedience? Those who criticize Calvinism's view of God, what then would you say to a parent who does what I have just described - which is the same thing non-Calvinists say about God?

bigfatdrummer

Chris--

You are trying to put earthly (human) characteristics (situations) on an omnipotent, omniscient, and just God. So to answer your question; no. It is not the same thing that Non-calvinists say about God. Why must calvinists try to make God and His Word logical and then try to make a logical system. God saved you, and me. That my brother is not logical.

Chris Roberts

bigfatdrummer,

So you can claim God's ways are beyond our understanding in relation to the non-Calvinist scenario, but Calvinists aren't allowed to say that in regards to our view? We affirm that God ordains all things, that he has written history, that everything is by his will (all of which are repeatedly, clearly, and fiercely taught in the Bible), and that God is not responsible for sin and evil (also taught in the Bible) and we acknowledge that how this works is a mystery beyond our understanding.

Craig

I wish I could have been there the day Calvin got to Heaven and God sat him down and told him he was wrong. Only because the Catholic Church of the day was such an atrocity was this man ever taken seriously in the first place. It's amazing how he can develop a hierarchy where God's character and attributes are concerned. I bet Calvin is very very sorry he ever wrote this

Chris Roberts

Well, for what it's worth (little to me; I don't read Latin) I think I found it: http://libguides.calvin.edu/content.php?pid=47579&sid=422438

Peter, where'd you get hold of the 1909 Review and Expositor?

peter lumpkins

Chris,

Of course God is responsible in some sense for creating a world in which the possibility of pain exists (or even probability of pain for that matter). But bearing responsibility for creating a world in which pain is merely possible is a far different thing than creating a world where pain is not only possible because of the free agency of creatures, but necessary and determined by God Himself. In the former, God bears the weight of creating creatures with the capacity to inflict pain while in the latter creatures are decreed to inflict pain with God manipulating circumstances so that they cannot not inflict the pain He has in eternity willed (i.e. decreed) to be inflicted.

Surely no one will reasonably assert the government is morally culpable because it permits or even creates laws on firearms which make the possibility of one man shooting another man a practical reality. In fact, most of us in the West look upon such a scenario as a good thing in itself.

On the other hand, if the govt. not only created the possibility that one man might shoot another man by legislating on firearms, but also manipulated circumstances so that one man must necessarily shoot another man, and had legislated it to be so since its founding, we've got an entirely different--even repulsive--form of responsibility in play, a form which makes God out to be the author of evil so far as I am concerned.

So, no, Chris, the Reformed are fairly well saddled with their own unique problem unlike the non-Reformed. We may have our own thorns to bear, but to suggest as you do non-Calvinists have a similar problem makes very little sense.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Got a copy while I was at Mercer in Macon a few years back...

With that, I am...
Peter

Mel Ankton


Lumpkins: "No disrespect, John, but I find the rigid, non-negotiable theo-philosophical determinism which your teaching produces to be a hollow intellectual shell. I mean, are you seriously espousing a God Who gets His kicks by creating people for the specific purpose of damning them to an eternal hell for which they were chosen before born to populate, all of course to the praise of His 'glorious justice.'"

Calvin: "Well, Peter, to begin with, this terminology to which you refer is not my language but the jargon of monks which I never use. But it is also malicious impudence to say that I have applied the term sin to God or to his will. What I have said is that the will of God, in that it is the supreme cause, is the necessity of all things; but time and again I have stated that God for His part disposes and controls all that He does with such equity and justice that even the most wicked are compelled to glorify Him, and that His will is neither a tyranny nor an irrational whim but is in fact the true rule of all good. Moreover I have particularly stated and affirmed that men are compelled to do neither good or evil, but that those who do good do so of a free will which God gives them by His Holy Spirit, and that those who do evil do so of their own natural will which is corrupted and rebellious."

Lumpkins: "I hear what you are saying, but despite the words that are coming out of your mouth, you do in fact make God out to be the author of sin. For me, I see absolutely no way around this."

Calvin: "Foolish men contend with God in many ways, as though they held him liable to their accusations. They first ask, therefore, by what right the Lord becomes angry at his creatures who have not provoked him by any previous offense; for to devote to destruction whomever he pleases is more like the caprice of a tyrant than the lawful sentence of a judge. It therefore seems to them that men have reason to expostulate with God if they are predestined to eternal death solely by his decision, apart from their own merit. If thoughts of this kind ever occur to pious men, they will be sufficiently armed to break their force by the one consideration that it is very wicked merely to investigate the causes of God's will."

Lumpkins: "Yeah, that's a wonderful thought by which to live. And I can see easily how such a soothing, loving thought could inspire a life of sacrificial charity and jaw-dropping service. I mean, not to play an Open-Theist or anything of the sort, but it is an unsettled issue in philosophy of religion whether God's knowing the future reduces to God's causing the future."

Calvin: "I see you're a man who bludgeons distinctions, Peter, so let me be as clear as I can as quickly as I can. The authors of scripture are quite capable of drawing fine distinctions, and so should Christian theologians, so follow me on this one. In the Bible there is a distinction between God necessitating men to sin, which it and I emphatically deny, and the will of God being the supreme cause [the necessity of all things]. What’s the difference? The difference is that in sinning men act as men, of their own will. They have beliefs and desires of their own, and are able to act in accordance with them, whereas if God were to necessitate men to sin, this would obliterate their will. God necessitates all things—rocks, plants, non-human animals, human beings, angels—in accordance with their various natures. Also it is important to note that I always and forever will reserve the term ‘free will’ for the activities of the regenerated will, freed from the slavery of sin. Those who do evil do so of their own natural will, that is a will that is ‘natural’ yet ‘unfree’ because they are unregenerate, in bondage to sin. ‘Freedom’ as it applies to human action, is a moral and spiritual term for me, as it was for my mentor Augustine. Only the Son can make a person free."

Lumpkins: "But have you heard my analogy about governments and moral culpability?"

Calvin: "Yeah, about that..."

Chris Roberts

Mel,

Great comment.

Peter,

"But bearing responsibility for creating a world in which pain is merely possible is a far different thing than creating a world where pain is not only possible because of the free agency of creatures, but necessary and determined by God Himself."

You miss my point. God does not merely create a world in which pain is possible, God creates a world knowing full well that pain will be a reality. Whether or not he has ordained said pain, he knows it will come to pass. He knew every detail of world history before he ever spoke the world into existence (I assume you agree with this?). The world he created was one in which pain was not just possible, but he knew exactly how much pain would be an eternal consequence of his creation, yet still he created.

Back to my analogy, we would be inclined to say someone is a terrible parent if they know with certainty that their child will do something to harm himself - will, of his own free will, bring pain, perhaps even death, on himself - and yet that parent does not stop the child. I am not omniscient, yet I have a good notion of what would happen if I let my small children run unattended around a deep pool surrounded by slippery flooring. God is omniscient and he knew exactly what his creatures would do with their freedom, yet he still created them.

bigfatdrummer

Chris--

You said: "We affirm that God ordains all things, that he has written history, that everything is by his will (all of which are repeatedly, clearly, and fiercely taught in the Bible), and that God is not responsible for sin and evil..."

Okay then, which is it? Is everything His will, or is He not responsible for sin and evil? You can't have it both ways even though you have stated both.

God is not just a parent...He IS God. Your logic, or lack thereof, does not work even within your man made system of belief.

Eric

Peter,
If I'm reading you correctly. I think your analogy misses the point of the canyon example.
You should have said if the gov. Knows a man will go out and kill folks, they do not share responsibility. You said if they simply know its possible. You see, we all know that it is "possible" for an accedent to happen at the canyon...the point was that the father knew something would happen....just as God knows what will happen.

Eric

I'm a product of the public school system :)
Should proof read spelling BEFORE I post.

Eric

Craig

Call me stupid, (and you wouldn't be the first) but how does God in His might Sovereignty, (which apparently although the Bible clearly says all His attributes are equal, our Reformed cousins place a much higher emphasis on over all His other attributes) choosing to allow man to have a free will, violate that Sovereignty? Isn't that, in itself, just another sovereign act?

Mel Ankton

Craig,

1) The scriptures teach that God knows the end from the beginning, even down to the very number of hairs on your head and whether or not that sparrow will fall dead to the ground near the birdfeeder in the park near St. Petersburg square. We are on sound scriptural footing to state and defend the omniscience of the Triune God.

2) But as soon as we want to stake our claim for God's omniscience, we are left to ask what it means for the will to be "free." Can God infallibly know a future "free" action? If so, how "free" can it be? Would there ever be a scenario where it could it be other than what God knows? These are questions raised and not easily answered, but for the non-compatibalist notion of "freedom" to stand, the human will cannot be determined or overruled by any competing outside force, namely God. The human will, on these terms, is indeterminitely free.

3) "Free" choices, such choices that are indeterminately free as described above, could not be known even by an omniscient being. By definition of the terms it is impossible to know what a "free" person would decide to do in a given situation if the person’s decision is conceived to be indeterministically free. How could it be known?

4) If God knows all things--realities and possibilities--and ordains the ends as well as the means, the we are left to consider the truth of the meticulous providence of God. Lumpkins is correct to point out that this is a problem for the Reformed camp, but it is only a problem because they believe God is all-knowing and intimately involved in the affairs of men.

Example: The Bible teaches that some human beings will spend eternity in hell. Whatever "eternity in hell" amounts to, it is certainly not the purpose for which God created the world--God does not desire this for anyone (2 Pet 3.9). But if he is omniscient--knowing all realities and possibilities--then he knew exactly who would reject him prior to creating anyone; and knowing this, he could easily have refrained from creating these people. Why didn't he do so? This is a more difficult question to answer for the Reformed than it is for the Open Theist (whose God lacks this knowledge) or the defender of simple foreknowledge [Lumpkins?] (whose God knows the actual future but cannot use that knowledge to change the very thing he foreknows). This does not show that there are no reasons why God might create people he knows would reject him, but the need to posit and defend such reasons is a cost not borne by the non-Reformed camp.

With that being said, I do think there are biblically grounded and philosophically sound reasons for God's goodness in election, as well as his perfection in all that he predestines and brings to pass (Eph. 1.11).

Ron Hale

Peter,

I tend to believe that you weighed the arguments pro and con (maybe even prayerfully) and freely made up your mind to write this excellent post?

I don’t think your decision to write this post was the “in time” effect of what God previously determined in eternity.

For those believing in strong determinism … means they gotta believe that “outside” causal factors caused them to believe in determinism and that choice was outside of their personal control.

That hurt my brain; I'm through for the day.

Tim Rogers

Peter,

This is what I see. You make such a great point that Mel has to channel John Calvin to answer you. :)

Louis

Peter:

I am sorry you missed what I said.

First, these things are a mystery. Human understanding and formulations are limited. That's the big reason I don't get too worked up about this stuff.

Second, i said that people who phrased their understanding in a particular way appear to be presenting what they believe to be a much better picture of God. I was commenting that the picture painted is not such an "improvement" when looking at it in human terms. I see the theological distinction in the 2 sides, and it's a significant matter. But in terms of saying God is really mean and arbitrary in the Calvinist view, but nice and fair in the other view, doesn't seem to be so. The problem of evil, sickness, unbelief, eternal punishment are all there for Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike.

I was not trying to say - you can't understand this, and then claim that I could.

I still believe that these things cannot truly be understood, and we work with the light we have.

Notwithstanding the fact that I hold that belief - that it can't fully be understood, does not prohibit me from analyzing and commenting on what people claim about these issues.

I surely hope that's not the standard for human discussion and interaction.

Louis

Peter:

Reflecting on this causes me to ask a question.

I remember David Platt's sermon at the Convention this year. I thought it was excellent, especially his comments about the mystery of salvation and unknowable many of the particulars are, and his warning that we should not try to remove the mystery from conversion and salvation.

I am wondering (and I may be way off base), but is the concept about the mystery of salvation and the fact that some of these questions cannot be answered - do such statements bother you or other non-Calvinists.

Put another way, do non-Calvinists see the mentioning of mystery etc. by Calvinists as a bad thing or untrue in some way.

Do non-Calvinists generally react against that and say that the we can know all of these things?

This is a sincere question. I am not as schooled in the Calvinist vs. Non-Calvinist debate, as you, and I wonder if I have touched on one of the points of disagreement without even knowing it.

peterlumpkins

All

Sorry. Been with the grandies all day. Maybe I'll be able to jump in shortly. If not this evening, surely by tomorrow afternoon. I do want to respond to a couple of comments.

With that, I am...
Peter

lydia

"Oh, and let me add, it is really a dead end trail to try and argue that the guys in my camp are more godly than the guys in your camp from a historical perspective."

Not sure where you got the idea anyone was arguing who was more godly. The point was the environment for charity. Do yoou really want to argue that the Reformers who banished, tortured and burned people for differing beliefs were more "charitable"?

"Does anyone on here really want to go there?"

Calvinism historically is Theo-political. You cannot escape that fact. We must look at the practices of Reformed history although I do understand why many in the NC/YRR would rather we not. The historical practices of the Reformed movement give us great insight into why the NC/YRR movement today is very top down and authoritarian. And it helps us understand why some are moving the SBC in that direction and how they redefine biblical concepts basically change the polity we have practiced for about 100 years.

Craig

Mel,
You didn't have to explain it to me...I was feigning stupidity. It was a rhetorical question I asked. Again, while I appreciate the depth of your answer, you don't do much except move all the chips from one pile to another pile. The question to me is justice. God, being the very source of justice, is totally just. As He is totally all the other attributes. In His justice, if He intervenes in the coming to faith of some and not of others, then in they very intervention He has violated true Justice, Because, if as we all agree, hell awaits those who reject Christ, the person to whom God never sent his convicting Spirit could justly and truthfully say "God, had you put forth the exact same effort toward my conviction and conversion as you did those who accepted Jesus I would have accepted Him too" In that moment it is no longer a matter of whether a person accepted Jesus but of the capricious whim of God. The person is not condemned to Hell because of sin, or because of rejecting Christ but solely because of the desire of God. While that may be sovereign, it is not just. To be just, all would have to have the same opportunity. Why this violates some mystical sovereignty is beyond me. Personally I think those who adhere to this sort of thinking simply have the sort of personality that likes being on the right side of the equation...like being members of an exclusive country club. If God was bent on selecting salvation for certain of us, why go through such in-depth and specific machinations assuring Christ's sacrifice would be proper? That he would be all man / all God so that the propitiation would be complete? Why the great lengths to preserve the proper bloodline of the sacrifice? Why take such great measures that focus on the perfection of Jesus' sacrifice if in the end it wasn't even about accepting or rejecting His work on Calvary? To turn a Calvinist argument back on the Calvinists, if God "raised up Pharaoh for the sole purpose of demonstrating His glory and sovereignty, why could he not just remake the rules and select those who were coming to the feats and not even put Jesus through the hell of Calvary? What WAS that if not a sacrifice for ALL with the intention that ALL would be saved? God is far more secure in Himself than Calvinists are in themselves...and apparently than they are in God as well.

Louis

Lydia:

My point was not to try and deny the problems with Calvin and the application of Reformed theology by some.

But groups who were not Calvinistic have just as much abuse in their histories.

That was my point.

lydia

"But groups who were not Calvinistic have just as much abuse in their histories."

True. The Catholics from which the "Reformers" wanted to "Reform". They had a lot in common with each other. All in the Name of Jesus. Louis, the persecuting state church were Calvinists or Catholics.Even in England. The Puritans brought their persecuting Theocracy to America. Thankfully, it died out.

Craig

I'm guessing that if we just stuck to TODAY and left out the history channel we'd have plenty to worry about. Personally I don't care about Reformed Theologians per se. You're entitled to your position. But what I see it doing to the urgency of evangelism in Evangelical churches breaks my heart. I hate to throw out a "Fundie" term but Reformed Theology has stripped the church of her passion for souls.It's logical, really. Since God already has both teams picked, why have any urgency at all?

Les Prouty

Louis,

"But groups who were not Calvinistic have just as much abuse in their histories."

So true. Not sure there are enough megabytes here to list all the atrocities committed by non-Calvinists.

Lydia, see how that works. I dare say there have many, many more atrocities and abuses and murders committed by non-Calvinists. So to use your sophomoric extrapolations, those NCs undoubtedly committed those acts precisely because they were/are NCs.

Craig

Les...if you are heaping the Catholic Church in with "Non Calvinists" as defined by this discussion and this site, you have made an assumption of my stupidity. You know very well what Lydia is meaning when she says "Non Calvinist".
As for Calvin, one only need read his personal letters and his dogma of overtaking the political offices of the day (or his desire for such) to know what sort of character he held. If the man was alive today he'd be outcast...and not because of his TULIP garden but because in many ways he was a foulmouthed, short-tempered troll.

lydia

'true. Not sure there are enough megabytes here to list all the atrocities committed by non-Calvinists.

I would love to be schooled on the institutionalized state church,non Reformed, non Catholic abuses.

I am sure there are plenty of "groups" throughout history who used violence, persecution.The Munster group would be one.

I am just wondering about the ones that also wielded the power of the state for a long period of time.

Les Prouty

"Calvinism historically is Theo-political."

And Baptists were historically pro-slavery.

"I would love to be schooled on the institutionalized state church..."

And I would love to be schooled on widespread Reformed (Calvinistic) institutional state church existence today. Now.

You see Lydia, as Louis rightly pointed out, Whatever abuses happened in the past by and among Calvinists cannot intellectually or actually be attributed to Calvinists today. And some examples which YOU attribute to Calvinism (a point I do not concede) does not make so that the source of said abuses can be attributed to Calvinism. No matter how many times you repeat it (kind of like when Romney reminded that to The One last week...The One apparently thinking he can repeat lies enough and it becomes so).

And the sword you use against modern Calvinism surely turned it back on all you non-Calvinists. But the point being, name some modern day Calvinists killing people in the name of God, etc. I can surely name some modern day non-Calvnists killing in the name of God. But that fact does not accrue to you.

Have a blessed Lord's Day as I plant to after gathering to sing praises to God and hear His word proclaimed in a Reformed church....and no one was abused or killed.

lydia

"And Baptists were historically pro-slavery."

I know, I have read about it. Shameful. Mostly the Calvinists. :o) Boyce was against succession UNTIL he found out it meant abolishing slavery. Then he was very much against it. See, he really believed their being slaves was the best way to disciple them.

I praise God we moved away from the Calvinism of those days. I hate to see it come back. It always involves some sort of method to control people and is always top down and authoritarian.

"And I would love to be schooled on widespread Reformed (Calvinistic) institutional state church existence today. Now."

It is against the law in Westernized democratic societies now. A result of the Enlightenment so many Reformed believe was nothing but evil as I seen several make that point.

"And the sword you use against modern Calvinism surely turned it back on all you non-Calvinists."

Thank you for admitting there is a "modern" Calvinism. A sort of reengineered brand for free societies. I have no doubt there would be serious punishments if Calvinists had the power of the state to do so. It is inherent in their "systemized" Theology. That is why it usually dies out or goes liberal over time in free societies. The Puritans never got their "New Jerusalem" even though they banished or killed enough people trying.

Just quick read on some threads from YRR for the excuses made for the persecution and murder the Reformers carried out is incredible to me. They all use a form of the Nuremburg defense. There have been quite a few of these on the Today threads over the past 6 months and it is something I have heard from them for several years. It is eye opening how little they understand and what they will excuse. They did the same thing with all the Driscoll teaching and behavior.

I believe if people do their homework on the "practices" of the Reformers and how those practices are inherent in their ST, they will better understand why the NC/YRR movement is so enamoured with an authoritarian top down structure and why some of the Reformed in the SBC are determined to make it more top down and authoritarian.


" But the point being, name some modern day Calvinists killing people in the name of God, etc. I can surely name some modern day non-Calvnists killing in the name of God. But that fact does not accrue to you."

Yes, we can all name non Calvinists who kill in the name of God. Except they do not have the power or affirmation of institutions or state behind them.

"Have a blessed Lord's Day as I plant to after gathering to sing praises to God and hear His word proclaimed in a Reformed church....and no one was abused or killed"

Of course not. It is illegal. But we have seen quite a few cases of horrible church discipline used against people for disagreeing with the leaders. Or, Membership covenants making it a sin to question leaders, etc. There are all sorts of ways to try and "control" people in a free society. One of them is censorship using shame. That is a big one in Reformed circles.

My job is to wake people up to stop following man made systems and men who crave power and lofty titles and follow Christ. To remind them they CAN have the indwellling Holy Spirit to guide them as one in the Holy Priesthood and that someone with a Christianese title is not their Holy Spirit. I long for the days when the SBC was more committed to spiritually mature Christians. Not lemming who follow the latest guru.

Les Prouty

"I know, I have read about it. Shameful. Mostly the Calvinists."

Mostly? Two things: 1) If mostly, then there were SOME NC. Indicted too. 2) If mostly, have you done a count? How do you make such an assertion without empirical evidence? That's what I thought.

"It is against the law in Westernized democratic societies now." My point made. Thanks. You can't name any.

"Thank you for admitting there is a "modern" Calvinism."

You're welcome.

"Modern: of or pertaining to present and recent time; not ancient or remote."


And there are modern Baptists and modern Southern Baptists and modern Lutherans and on and on.

"I have no doubt..." Fill in the blank. Shear conjecture. Objection sustained. Thank you your honor.

"Yes, we can all name non Calvinists who kill in the name of God. Except they do not have the power or affirmation of institutions or state behind them."

And your point is? Because you've already admitted above Calvinists has such power today. Stop making my points for me. That's no fun.

"Of course not. It is illegal" I said stop making my point. All you have proved is you can't find such things and they are illegal. You have not and cannot prove that if such things were legal that Calvinists would commit such things.

"But we have seen quite a few cases of horrible church discipline used against people for disagreeing with the leaders. Or, Membership covenants making it a sin to question leaders, etc."

Your honor, again pure conjecture based on hearsay. I move to strike unless she can come forth with empirical evidence..stats your honor.

"...they CAN have the indwellling Holy Spirit to guide them as one in the Holy Priesthood and that someone with a Christianese title is not their Holy Spirit. I long for the days when the SBC was more committed to spiritually mature Christians. Not lemming who follow the latest guru."

For once we agree.

BTW, you just happened to catch me in a sort of friendly snarky mood.

peter lumpkins

Hi "Mel"

I like the creative way you responded. But contrary to Chris’ claim about being a “good comment”—no wait, “great comment!--I must defer since you placed words in John Calvin’s mouth not found in John Calvin’s writings--at least so far as his predestinarianism is reflected. Let me offer you an example.

Your version of Calvin: “I have particularly stated and affirmed that men are compelled to do neither good or evil, but that those who do good do so of a free will which God gives them by His Holy Spirit, and that those who do evil do so of their own natural will which is corrupted and rebellious."

John Calvin himself:

“That men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on any thing but what he has previously decreed with himself and brings to pass by his secret direction, is proved by numberless clear passages of Scripture (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion Institutes I, xviii, 1).

“Nothing save” but by God’s “secret instigation” working in men’s hearts by his “secret direction” hangs as Calvin’s deterministic albatross from which his apologists cannot hide.

Hence, Calvin I’m afraid did not just attribute good to God but also indirectly the evil that men do as well (albeit evil supposedly having an ultimate good come out of it). Deny it as he wishes (along with you), if at least some of the evil that men do is clearly attributed to God, then some of the evil that men do is clearly authored by God wouldn’t you say, Mel?

Second, to suggest I was playing as an “Open-theist” by suggesting that infallible knowledge of future free actions of moral agents does not reduce to causal connections because it is an unsettled issue among philosophers of religion is the funny moment of the afternoon, Mel. Open Theists agree wholeheartedly with strict Calvinists about the nature of infallible foreknowledge concerning causal connections. What a Georgia hoot.

Third, Mel, if you’re going to make assertions like “In the Bible there is a distinction between God necessitating men to sin… and the will of God being the supreme cause [the necessity of all things]” then show a little spunk and display it from Scripture. Where is the distinction as you’ve described it, Mel?

Fourth, you write, “The difference is that in sinning men act as men, of their own will. They have beliefs and desires of their own, and are able to act in accordance with them, whereas if God were to necessitate men to sin, this would obliterate their will.”  Yes, and just how does this square with Calvin’s words above, Mel?  Nor is it reasonable to assume, given Calvinistic assumptions that “God ordains whatsoever comes to pass,” that humans will have free desires, free thoughts, etc. on their own. Rather, given the deterministic framework to which Strict Calvinists are wed, things are now for one reason and one reason alone--because God decreed them to be. A person possesses no thought that God did not decree the person to have. God does not permit it in the Calvinistic model; God ordains it. Hence, this gobbledygook about one having thoughts one’s self makes absolutely zeros sense in a Calvinistic framework.

In addition, the unbalanced focus on the WILL of God remains precisely one reason why Calvinism as a system is so thoroughly suspect. Calvin's pronounced obsession that God's WILL remains all that matters seems like pure Occamism, hardly a position far from many Calvinists today.

Finally, if you’d care to comment on the analogy I made pertaining to the government, be my guest. I’d like to hear. But to wash it down the drain by a glib remark without telling us why it makes apparently no sense proves to us exactly what, Mel?

With that, I am…

Peter

P.S. You do need to be aware I have a natural aversion to exchanges with anons, "Mel". While some anons do comment frequently here, I know who they are and why they feel they must remain anon. The same will apply to you. If you want to continue, drop me a line and explain why you feel it necessary to remain anon...

peter lumpkins

Hi Chris,

“God does not merely create a world in which pain is possible, God creates a world knowing full well that pain will be a reality.” Nor did I imply He created a world where evil was merely possible. What I implied (and denied) was the deterministic view that God created a world where pain was necessary and determined by God Himself which is precisely what Calvinists maintain.

You furthermore state, “He did not create a world where    Whether or not he has ordained said pain…” Uh?  “Whether or not he has ordained said pain”?  Please, Chris. You surely do not believe it’s a “whether or not.” You believe God decreed every ounce of pain and every particle of evil do you not?

Nor is this about a disagreement on omniscience but the grounding of omniscience. While you believe as do I God infallibly knows the future, you believe it to be so because God determines the future. The way I see it, your understanding of omniscience is little other than foreordination. That’s the rub between us (and between Calvinists and many non-Calvinists).

Nor is your analogy helpful, Chris. We’re not talking about little children under the guardianship of parents who must be patrolled from falling into a deep pool, but about fully capable free human beings with the capacity to actually deliberate on choices they face. And, yes God did create them knowing precisely what they would do as free moral agents. The difference is, for the non-Calvinist, God did not determine what they would do. For the Calvinist, it was necessary for them to do what they did.

With that, I am…

Peter

Lydia

Les,

The question comes down to this: did the beliefs of the Catholic and the reformed leaders drive their behavior and practices? Are we seeing today from the reform wing of Christendom a practice of top down polity? are we seeing the Southern Baptist Convention being led to have a more top down polity?

I think the answer is yes. I believe a case can be made that the reformers of today prefer authoritarianism. they believe they can make a case that pop authoritarianism in the body of Christ is biblical. there are a ton of examples.examples of this happening today. you are 1 of them. you have chosen to be called a ruling elder. not a serving elder. what does a ruler do but rule?

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