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Featured The No-Straw-Man Calvinism challenge.

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Hammster, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. Hammster

    Hammster I heard I was in town. Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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    As what usually happens in these threads, once Calvinism is mentioned, or someone who is Reformed posts something that seems Reformed, the arguments against Reformed Theology come out, and are usually emotionally driven straw man arguments.

    This gets us nowhere because the Calvinists aren't really given the opportunity to defend what we believe, but have to spend time correcting the incorrect argument.

    So here's the challenge. Below you will find links to some various documents that those who hold to Reformed Theology will agree on, at least soteriologically. The challenge to to quote from one of them, and then state why you believe it is incorrect. This will hopefully lead to a reasoned discussion. Any argument that does not start this way will be considered off topic. You are, however, free to start your own thread on that matter.

    Here are your links.

    The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith (I would have used the Westminster Confession, but I'm Baptist :))

    Canons of Dordt

    Heidelberg Catechism

    Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin, Christian Classics Books, Bible Study
     
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  2. Hammster

    Hammster I heard I was in town. Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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    I had the off topic posts removed.
     
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  3. ByTheSpirit

    ByTheSpirit Pray always!!

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    I will go first, although I have a feeling this will turn into a buzz saw: (From the Canons of Dort"

    "FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 6. That some receive the gift of faith from God, and others do not receive it, proceeds from God's eternal decree. "For now unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18 A.V.). "who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will" (Eph 1:11). According to which decree He graciously softens the hearts of the elect, however obstinate, and inclines them to believe; while He leaves the non-elect in His just judgment to their own wickedness and obduracy. And herein is especially displayed the profound, the merciful, and at the same time the righteous discrimination between men equally involved in ruin; or that decree of election and reprobation, revealed in the Word of God, which, though men of perverse, impure, and unstable minds wrest it to their own destruction, yet to holy and pious souls affords unspeakable consolation."

    Predestination/Election - The idea that God never gives most people the opportunity for salvation because he will not/has not chosen them.

    Ezekiel 18:32 NIV
    “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!”
    ‭‭
    Through the prophet Ezekiel God makes the declaration that he takes no pleasure in the death of ANYONE. Now you can make the argument he is speaking only of the elect (Israelites) here, but that would present another problem with "Election", the idea that an elect can still die spiritually in sin. But I don't think he is speaking only of Israelites because Paul wrote in 1 Timothy that God wants ALL to be saved & Peter wrote that God wills ALL to come to repentance.

    Luke records in Luke 7:29-30 that people had either accepted or rejected the purpose of God for their lives by accepting or rejecting John. This alone speaks of man's ability to accept or reject God's will (which as spoken above includes salvation for all people).

    (The following are important questions for me concerning Calvinism but may not be related to the OP)

    *This idea that God has purposes only a few for salvation from the beginning brings to bear much deeper and heavier questions that need asked but in this environment will probably be dismissed as "straw men", which is another issue altogether.

    Why pray if God purposes all things and will do them without human interaction/intervention?

    Why evangelize if the elect will be saved regardless?

    Is God responsible for evil in the world if everything that happens, happens as a result of his will & purpose?
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
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  4. ByTheSpirit

    ByTheSpirit Pray always!!

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    BTW shouldn't this thread be in the debate forum if you alone get to choose what posts will be displayed and accepted into your argument? If you want a controlled environment isn't that what the debate forum is about?
     
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  5. Hammster

    Hammster I heard I was in town. Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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    The first few posts didn't follow the guidelines of quoting from a source. They just jumped right in without even addressing the OP.
     
  6. Hammster

    Hammster I heard I was in town. Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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    I read the source you cited. It doesn't mention that God does things without human interaction or intervention. So I don't see how this relates.

    I don't see how the other two questions relate, either.
     
  7. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    I began a thread which uses 11 quotes from Calvin to show that, on Calvinism, 1) God is the author of evil, 2) God predestines to Hell, and 3) there is no free will.

    Now I would insert an argument to show any one of these three points, but I suspect that you will just say, "Still doesn't disprove Calvinism." Do you think Calvinism disagrees with any of those three points? Do you think God is not the author of evil, or God does not predestine to Hell, or there is free will?
     
  8. ByTheSpirit

    ByTheSpirit Pray always!!

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    @Hammster about my initial response to the OP, post #3, what is your response to that other than the questions at the bottom of it? I will edit those out for sake of discussion.
     
  9. Hammster

    Hammster I heard I was in town. Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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    My response is that I'm still not sure what your conclusion has to do with the quote.

    It's as if you only said "Calvinists believe in election", and then responded to it. But I don't see how your points relate to the quote.
     
  10. ByTheSpirit

    ByTheSpirit Pray always!!

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    Allow me then to rephrase it, I need to work on my communication skills apparently

    From the Canon of Dort, article six:

    "FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 6. That some receive the gift of faith from God, and others do not receive it, proceeds from God's eternal decree. "For now unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18 A.V.). "who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will" (Eph 1:11). According to which decree He graciously softens the hearts of the elect, however obstinate, and inclines them to believe; while He leaves the non-elect in His just judgment to their own wickedness and obduracy. And herein is especially displayed the profound, the merciful, and at the same time the righteous discrimination between men equally involved in ruin; or that decree of election and reprobation, revealed in the Word of God, which, though men of perverse, impure, and unstable minds wrest it to their own destruction, yet to holy and pious souls affords unspeakable consolation." (Bold added for emphasis)

    The emboldened statements above. God decrees reprobation, without any chance of repentance. That God "leaves the non-elect to his own just judgement" is to say he creates people just to destroy them in hell. Right?

    Ezekiel 18:32 says plainly that God takes no pleasure in ANYONE's death, so they should repent and live. This is in complete alignment with Paul and Peter both stating that God wants all (not just the elect) to be saved and not perish.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  11. Firearms

    Firearms Newbie

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    In my life's-long journey through the Christian teachings, I came across Calvinism several years ago. In a matter of month's study, everything 'clicked' and made sense for the first time in my life, as before I just couldn't make sense of many things. I don't know if I should post here, but I do so just to provide the scant knowledgeable view as I have it. It is my own belief, and it makes everything so clear to me that it can't be separated from me anymore than my belief in the Creator.

    The way I see this, God designed the wages of sin, as he willed and designed everything. I also take no pleasure in the punishment that my children deserve, but I dare not spare them of it... because I love them*eta. I'll agree with John Piper in that the essence of God's emotion must be infinitely complex. He was not forced into sending His own Son to die, it was according to His will, and in fact, it was a good and right and a hard thing to do: Does God Delight in Destroying Sinners? | Desiring God

    But we know that not all are saved, not all will repent. So to harmonize His hopes for His creation with reality of His judgement, I have to believe that this is a part of God's infinitely complex emotion. As a father, I want and will things for my kids, but I simultaneously know that simply can't be so.

    In my view, this only serves as a practical and visual example of...
    I believe we should pray because He instructs us to do so, and because it is a means that He has chosen to be one manner by which He brings about His holy plan. And I understand how this can be a chicken-before-the-egg argument that is circular, but as I mentioned, it clicked for me and made sense to what had never made sense before.

    I again believe that this is the means by which God chose to draw His elect to Himself. He could have done things differently, but he chose and instructs us in this way. Hyper-Calvinism for sure, would say that there is little reason to pray or to go unto the nations because God will do it all, but I believe that is contrary to scripture. I believe the truth is that God instructs His church to evangelize as His chosen method to call His elect out of death and into light.

    Depends on all the dark crevices within the definition of 'responsible'. Job 42:11 immediately popped into mind. I don't believe that God's to blame for evil. I believe that He's in control of it all. I've never done cocaine or slept with a prostitute, not because I had the uprightness to choose the path and walk it completely autonomously and separated from His strength. No, those wicked instruments never entered my path because He chose that they not. It was by His hand alone that I avoided any pitfall of sin that I did. But for the grace of God, I would have dove in deep for certain.

    *ETA
    After thinking about this statement that night, I realized how far from good this analogy is to the act of God casting His creation into everlasting suffering. The reason God stands firm in His judgement to eternally punish those who are not His own is because He is just, faithful, and He performs every last letter of His word. I will now slink back to the recovery subforum until I am qualified to venture out. I knew I shouldn't have posted here.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  12. ByTheSpirit

    ByTheSpirit Pray always!!

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    Thank you for your gracious response. It is refreshing to speak to someone about the topic without it getting overboard.

    I would like to address this point above.

    We are all born into sin and as such, objects of wrath, I think of that much everyone can agree. But back to my original post from the Canon of Dort, Article Six, God decrees election or reprobation. Meaning he will not allow those "decreed for reprobation" to repent and be saved.

    How can we reconcile God's love for those whom he decrees from before their birth to be condemned in hell?

    "I love you so let me cast you into hell for eternity, without ever even granting you the chance for repentance so you can avoid this terrible fate."

    That just boggles my mind.
     
  13. Hammster

    Hammster I heard I was in town. Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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    That's better. :)

    You, however, add "without any chance of repentance". That's not stated.

    The misconception is that there's no equal ultimacy. God doesn't equally act towards the reprobate in the same way He acts towards the elect. "He leaves the non-elect in His just judgment to their own wickedness and obduracy".

    As to your point, I agree that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. I'm not sure why you'd think Reformed Theology is against that.
     
  14. Thursday

    Thursday Well-Known Member

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    From the Canons of Dordt:

    FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 9. This election was not founded upon foreseen faith and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality or disposition in man, as the prerequisite, cause, or condition of which it depended; but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness, etc. Therefore election is the fountain of every saving good, from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to the testimony of the apostle:

    From the bible:

    Romans 2
    6God will repay each person according to what they have done. 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

    John 15:10
    If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love.

    Gal 6
    7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

    1 Peter 1:17
    Since you call on a Father who judges each person's work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.
     
  15. Hammster

    Hammster I heard I was in town. Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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    So your argument is that you can do enough good to please God? Just making sure.
     
  16. Thursday

    Thursday Well-Known Member

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    We will reap what we sow. Do you claim Paul is not accurate?
     
  17. Hammster

    Hammster I heard I was in town. Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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    Yes.
     
  18. ByTheSpirit

    ByTheSpirit Pray always!!

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    Perhaps I misunderstand it then. But to me if you compare a decree of election with a decree of reprobation then the two are equal in measure. And I have read nothing to suggest otherwise.

    IOW, if God doesn't necessarily leave people in reprobation but grants that they may indeed be saved, then what are they saved by if not by his election? Which in turn would mean they were of the elect and not of the reprobate.
     
  19. Hammster

    Hammster I heard I was in town. Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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    I guess the best way to explain it is this. Left alone, we would all be reprobate. God wouldn't need to do anything. However, He has chosen some to salvation.

    So there's action towards the elect. None towards the reprobate.
     
  20. Thursday

    Thursday Well-Known Member

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    God chose all for salvation. Those who cooperate with his grace will be saved.

    Titus 2:11
    For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

    2 Peter 3:9
    The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

    John 12:32
    And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.

    1 Timothy 2:4
    who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
     
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