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ROBERT FAW, correspondent: From baptism by immersion to the fervent Bible-based preaching, Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky, looks and sounds like many other Southern Baptist congregations. What you cannot see, however, is that this Baptist church is infused with Calvinism—the teachings of a 16th-century Swiss theologian, John Calvin, whose tenets were practiced by America’s Puritans in the 17th and 18th century.

PASTOR DANIEL MONTGOMERY: We want a robust, full, holistic understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ, and Calvinism and the doctrines of grace really give us that picture. There’s been a rise in Calvinism for sure, and I think the return to the doctrines of grace or Reformed theology is really a desire to return to more foundational truths.

New-Calvinism_post01FAW: John Calvin’s basic belief is the absolute sovereignty of God, that everything and everyone is God’s will, including who is saved. Al Mohler is a Calvinist and president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

DR. ALBERT MOHLER : I think Calvinism is probably about as countercultural as anything you could imagine in secular America, or secular-rising America, because Calvinism, by just its very nature, gets right to the reality of the one, true, and living God.

FAW: The growth of Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention has been significant and not always welcomed. In one recent survey, 30 percent of SBC pastors say they consider their churches Calvinist. Dr. Steven Lemke is provost of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, which is not considered Calvinist. He fears the debate over Calvinism could split the Southern Baptist Convention.

DR. STEVEN LEMKE: I think that there are still people worried that someday the Southern Baptist Convention could split over these issues. So that continues to be one of the tension lines in the Southern Baptist Convention.

FAW: A tinder box? You make it sound like a tinder box.

New-Calvinism_post02LEMKE: It is, and people feel very strongly on both sides of the issue.

FAW: An advisory group within the SBC requested that pastors be forthcoming about their Calvinist beliefs when being considered for a job at a church.

LEMKE: When a young pastor came, and he began teaching and preaching things that was very different than these people had been taught and believed all their lives that obviously created tensions in churches and led to churches splitting or pastors being fired.

FAW: Though Pastor Montgomery and his staff don’t use the language of Calvinism when they gather, Montgomery says the essence of Calvinism is embraced by his congregation. His church, he says, is growing because of it. His congregation is made up of CEOs, suburban moms, and women from strip clubs and ex-cons from half-way houses.

MONTGOMERY: For some, Calvinism is divisive and unbiblical. But we’ve really seen the exact opposite in our expression, in our embrace of Reformed theology and Calvinism. We’ve seen that it unifies our efforts, it gives us an understanding that God is at work in this world. We don’t need to make things happen. We simply join God in what he’s doing.

New-Calvinism_post03FAW: Professor Rhyne Putnam teaches at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and says many young people are attracted to Calvinism.

PROFESSOR RHYNE PUTNAM: I think there’s a sense where you have a kind of comfort that God is in control of things. We have a generation that really longs to go into deeper analysis of theology and deeper analysis of biblical studies.

FAW: It’s more intellectual.

PUTNAM: Right, I think so. It tends to be a little bit more heady than some of the more affective and kind of emotive kind of preaching.

FAW: Another reason for the explosive growth: charismatic proponents and prolific authors like Dr. Albert Mohler.

MOHLER: Calvinism offers a theological understanding of culture that many other theological systems just do not offer. Here you have people who are saying, “I want to go all the way back to where i can find something stable.”

New-Calvinism_post04FAW: Indeed, for Southern Baptists like Steve and Connie Christian, who actually named their son John Calvin, the appeal of Calvinism is its certainty.

STEVE CHRISTIAN: there’s a depth of thinking there that says we’re about the grace of God and they really think through what it means to be totally captivated by the grace of God.

FAW: Calvinism also appeals to some Baptist women who believe the Bible tells them they are enjoined to “submit graciously” to males.

CONNIE CHRISTIAN: I have a husband who is, I believe, called by God to be the head of our home, and therefore the responsibility lies with him, and I’m happy with that fact. I’m glad I’m not responsible, you know.

MOHLER: There’s no justification for any discrimination on the basis of gender, unless the Creator has told his church, “This is how I expect you to organize your church in obedience to me, and this is how I expect you to organize your marriage in obedience to me.” And I do believe we’re under that authority.

New-Calvinism_post05bFAW: One of the most contentious issues dividing Calvinists and non-Calvinists is predestination, the belief that God selects some but not all souls for salvation. If some are “chosen” in the lexicon, and others are “frozen,” and if from the outset everything is predetermined, then non-Calvinists argue what is the point of evangelism? But at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, the dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, a Calvinist, argues that predestination and evangelism go hand in hand.

ADAM GREENWAY: We don’t know who the elect or the non-elect are, so we preach that whosoever will may come. We preach an indiscriminate gospel, and we leave the matters in terms of election and predestination... those are God’s business, not mine. Many of our strongest missionaries and evangelists have held to Calvinist beliefs.

FAW: Southern Baptists who are Calvinists also maintain the belief that not all are chosen for salvation is just something in the gospel that cannot be explained.

MONTGOMERY: It’s a tension that we see throughout human history, and typically what we try to do with tension is we try to choose sides well. Is God sovereign, or are we responsible? And I would argue that’s a tension that we’re to live with and a paradox that we’re to embrace rather than completely solve. New-Calvinism_post06b

FAW: But no matter how Calvinists attempt to explain predestination, that doctrine, for Baptists who are not Calvinists, is troublesome.

LEMKE: Many of us have concern about the notion that God from eternity just chose a certain number of people to be elect and that Christ came to die for only that small group of people. We believe that God is interested in saving people, not damning people.

FAW: And, Lemke asks, what happens to personal responsibility and what kind of image of God does Calvinism portray?

LEMKE: Sometimes we worry that the emphasis on wrath or righteousness seems to be overriding the statement that’s very clear in Scripture that God is love, and God does allow human response to play a role, and we are accountable for our choices.

FAW: Though the Southern Baptist Convention is the largest denomination by far, membership and baptisms are down, fueling the debate of whether Calvinism is a catalyst for growth or a hindrance. Even so, Dr. Mohler sees the debate over Calvinism as very positive.

MOHLER: I think it’s a fantastic thing. When you imagine that mainline Protestant denominations have largely been arguing over things like same-sex marriage and any number of other things, and trying to figure out how in the world to engender some kind of genuinely theological discussion, i think we should see this is as a tremendous achievement of the Southern Baptist Convention. The question is now how we steward that, and I hope we steward it in a very healthy direction.

FAW: A stewardship which thus far has resulted in steady growth and growing pains.

For Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly this is Bob Faw in Louisville, Kentucky.

In This Episode << SLIDE LEFT TO SEE ADDITIONAL SEGMENTS

The New Calvinism

In some Southern Baptist churches there has been a revival of interest in Calvinism, the theology of the 16th-century reformer John Calvin, who also had a great influence on colonial America.. “For some, Calvinism is divisive and unbiblical” says Southern Baptist pastor Daniel Montgomery of Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky, “We’ve seen that it unifies our efforts, it gives us an understanding that God is at work in this world. We don’t need to make things happen. We simply join God in what he’s doing.”

  • cipher

    Calvinism is the most abominable system of belief ever concocted in the tragic history of our sorry species. At its best, it is the ultimate form of selfishness. At its worst (which is by far the more common manifestation) it qualifies as a form of psychopathy – a willingness (and I would insist an eagerness) to see billions of one’s fellow human beings tormented for all of eternity.

    Calvinism has become one of the most pervasive influences within the evangelical subculture, even upon people who don’t identify as Calvinists. It is one of the chief motivating forces underlying Christian fundamentalism, which is a threat to human continuity. These people aren’t simply mistaken; they are dangerous.

    The irony is that Calvinists believe they represent the cure for what ails us, when in reality, they are the most egregious symptom of the illness of which humanity needs desperately to be healed, but almost certainly never will be.

  • SoliDeoGloria

    Wow! Tell us how you really feel. :) I agree with Charles Spurgeon when he said, “Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.”

  • Joe

    Now that you’ve let us know your thoughts regarding this issue, the question must be asked. What flavor of a world view do you hold?

  • Robert Cook

    Calvin, held four points others five, Arminius

    was wrong also both systems teach some sort of Gospel regeneration which is a false idea. The Gospel does not give eternal life it is Good news to those who already need it. you must have ears to hear before you can believe.

  • Gordon

    This is the most ridiculous nonsense I have ever come across. Groundless foolish response from someone who obviously has no interaction with the tenets of Calvinism. Dangerous? Please watch your speech. Pretty soon this kind of thinking will be the stimulus driving governments to suppress people for their theological adherence. Sounds like the middle ages coming back.

  • http://www.churchhistorytimelines.com/ Church_History_Timelines

    “Calvinism is the most abominable system of belief ever concocted in the tragic history of our sorry species.”

    Have you not heard of Islam?

  • John

    Kuyperianism (from Abraham Kuyper) is probably the new Calvinism…..

  • JM LaRue

    Thankful I was saved by grace through faith, this not of my own so that I have nothing to boast in (Eph 2:8-9).

    Thankful I am God’s workmanship made for good works, which he prepared beforehand for me to do (Eph 2:10).

    Thankful that God began the good work in me and will be faithful to complete it (Phil 1:6).

    Thankful having been chosen, I was predestined according to the plan of God who works out everything in conformity to the purpose of His will (Eph 1:11).

  • John Blossom

    I am a United Methodist, and I share some people’s concerns about the rise of the so-called “New Calvinism,” or the “Pure Gospel” movement – or the original teachings of John Calvin and his followers, for that matter. My main concern is that this “new” movement seems to focus on an interpretation of the gospel is far from pure – and in fact seems to corrupt the very nature of the offer of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ offered to anyone and everyone through the grace of God. The “we’re saved, you’re not, that’s God’s will” thinking of Calvinism doesn’t focus on the pure love of God offered to all through faith in Jesus Christ. Without this understanding of God’s love, then the gospel makes little sense indeed. When you look at the theological underpinnings of Calvinism, both in its traditional form and in these new packagings (recommended reading: Roger E. Olson’s book “Against Calvinism”) what you find is a “sovereign” nature of God that is not about God’s awesome divinity so much as an interpretation of the Bible that is both weak in its exegesis and strong on applying narrow readings of select passages outside of the four gospels which are used as lenses for the interpretation of God’s purposes and nature more outside of Christ than in him.

    I hope that all people in all denominations in all walks of life find salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, including Calvinsts. God can work wonders in all people, and the God of my understanding is a God of unconditional love, not a condemning, dividing and punishing God. Christ is king because of God’s universal love, not because of a will of God to reward an elite few arbitrarily. So if people are moved to find the living Christ in Calvinist churches, that God is no doubt pleased. But if we find it in ourselves to condemn or punish others either directly or though neglect as a part of living out our faith, be it in a Calvinist church or anywhere else, then I would suggest that the true gospel has not arrived on our hearts. The good news is that there is hope for the entire world in Christ. Few will respond to that call with a full and open heart, but that is what our evangelism is about – to offer the good news to the entire world.

    So why this repackaging of Calvinism? I don’t pretend to understand the workings of the Reformed movement in any detail, but what I see from an outsider’s perspective is that in our current tough economic times in the U.S., people are struggling to find answers as to why God is not rewarding what many perceive as their righteous living as faithful people. This repackaging of Calvinism is designed keep people from asking questions as to whether the established order of things in the secular world is aligned with our mission as Christians to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth based on the love of God. Instead, it seems to say that whatever you do in your own life is OK, because you’re on God’s list for heaven, and so what you need to do is to accept that whatever leaders declare themselves to be chosen by God to lead us should be followed. In an earlier era, they called this “the divine right of kings” – a confluence of church and state that was more designed to use religion as an instrument to enforce the will of the king upon a king’s subjects through both the church and the state than it was to call kings to bring God’s love equitably to all people.

    In other words, it appears that there is a political agenda wrapped tightly into this movement, an agenda that seems to be at the real core of what’s behind both its energetic funding and promotion and its urgency within the body of the church. It’s not so much a matter that certain politicians or rich people want to manipulate people through this movement as it is that there are many people in general who believe that being right about God is more important than being righteous and living out God’s sanctifying grace through sacrificial love for the world in Christ. In an earlier era of economic and political unrest, people looking for answers turned to “strongmen” like Hitler and Mao to form states with religious-like cult fervor for their leaders, but it was only because people wanted such “kings”. The prophet Samuel warned the people of Israel about wanting such a king, as did all the prophets after him and of course Christ himself. . I fear that at the end of the day, this “new Calvinism” is part of a broader movement to do likewise in the United States and elsewhere. Let’s remember that the serpent was able to persuade Eve to eat the apple from the tree with the promise that they’d understand how God sees things. As Christians, perhaps we should worry less about thinking that we can know what a sovereign God sees and more about obedience to the abundance of God’s love for us in Christ. May we seek God through humble praise, worship, prayer and acts of peace and justice throughout the world.

  • Laurieb

    Well said, Joe Blossom.

  • Observer

    The thing missing in this statement is the question “What does God have to say about this?” I don’t base my beliefs on what John Calvin has to say, but on what the Bible has to say. I do read what Calvin wrote about God’s Word but also read other views. His teachings most usually go against the “popular” interpretation and knowing my own sinful heart and being a student of history, I realize that the only reason I have to object is because Scripture does what it is supposed to do–challenges me to acknowledge my depraved heart and God’s undeserved love to me. It is clear from history that mankind always trys to promote self and re-define God because we don’t like what we know to be true–”THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS; THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE” (Romans 3:10-12). So, based on this concept from God’s Word that is just one of many identifying how depraved and warped our thinking is–How can we believe that we are capable of making any decision for God that isn’t instigated by Him?

  • Lamar Carnes

    The title of the article is just not true! It is neither new nor is it Calvinism.
    I can prove my statement can they? I think they would lose fast in a court of law or a court of Christians who wish to stand for truth and facts rather than conjecture, speculation and fairy tales!
    The facts are these are Biblical truths preached and taught down through the history of the Church and even much of it is taught if not all, in the Old Testament as well. Calvin only wrote a small portion of writings on the subjects mentioned, Luther wrote so much more and spoke and preached on the subjects more than Calvin every did. He would be amazed at how folks are misusing his name tagging it onto Biblical doctrine.
    And new, well if 2000 to 4500 years is new so be it!!
    Lamar

  • John Blossom

    Observer, you claim to say that what you believe is not based on what John Calvin has to say, but your statements are in essence defining a key point of Calvinism – the claim of “total depravity” of the human mind without any free will of ours in the matter. I would agree that there is nothing that a person can do to “earn” righteousness – only God can show us the way of righteousness. And this God has done clearly for everyone who chooses to repent and turn to a faith in redemption through Jesus Christ.

    To look at a more complete view of the scripture that you are quoting, Paul uses it to point out that both Jews and Gentiles could not not claim righteousness apart from faith in Christ. Paul goes on to say in Romans 3 verses 21-22, “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile…”

    In other words we have no choice as to where to turn for salvation but have a choice to choose Christ or not – and it is our choices that determine our relationship to the God of grace. Adam and Eve had free will – they exercised it to initiate sin. Without God’s assistance through faith in Christ in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, we are choosing death and fear. In Christ, everyone can accept love and the promise of eternal life. Without this choice, what is the value of love promised in John 3:16? True love is meaningless unless we choose to love, just as God’s love is so precious to us in Christ because he chose to first love us in Christ so that we could love God, ourselves and the world in Christ.

    So I would urge you to consider the greatness and universality of sinfulness, to be sure, but we have God’s blessed assurance of a way out of sin – and that way is faithfulness to the grace of God’s love in Christ. We can choose kingdom living right now, right here, knowing that Christ is there to show us the way to it. We have no need to condemn, but only the chance to desire what the angels desire. As John 3 continues to tell us in verse 17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” All of God’s creation is worthy of salvation in Christ, for it all proceeds from the Creator. The Creator cannot condemn what he has created, only the choices that we make as beings endowed with free will. We make our own condemnation by turning from God’s love in our choices. But the child of God, each one of them, is precious and worthy of redemption.

  • truthseeker43

    Actually I think in the end you both believe the same thing. I have argued this with my son – he a Calvinist – in the end it doesn’t change that we both believe the Bible has told us how we are to live as Christians, how we are to pursue the lost. That is what I love about what I call the “Young Reformed Pastors” they are brilliant from a human perspective and probably do whatever they want but they understand the importance of total submission to the Triune God – even in areas where it is impossible to have full understanding. I am thankful that since I was a child God has hardwired me to accept that He is fully Sovereign and I have full free-will. There is no way to humanly understand that but I know that that is true. Love this discussion.

  • Monergistic Medic

    And what do you have to say about John 6:44? That’s just one verse out of many.

  • lmalone

    Calvinism is nothing but systematized Plato with his “philospher kings” as the priests and pastors telling us ignorant “unanointed” peasants what to believe. The focus is on a Sovereign God who is NOT Sovereign over His own Sovereignty therefore none of us can understand Him but the “anointed” Philosopher king— instead of the focus being on King Jesus who appealed to the peasants and dissed the “religious leaders” of His time. Ironic, eh?
    What I cannot understand is that since they believe man has no real volition except his total depravity, why they think we should listen to them? Makes no sense. They are totally depraved.
    Now for the fun: Many Calvinists will tell me I simply do not understand
    Calvinism. See how it works? We need the philosopher kings to lead us ignorant peasants.

  • lmalone

    “Calvinism is the most abominable system of belief ever concocted in the tragic history of our sorry species.”

    Have you not heard of Islam?”
    They are cousins. Both worship a determinist god.

  • lmalone

    If one cannot read the bloody evil mess of church history including the Reformers and walk away appalled at the doctrine that drove it, what else is there to say? The excuses made for the evils perpetuated by the Reformers are basically this: But mom, Bobby was worse than me! Besides it was a long time ago!
    Actually, the roots of tyranny run through both from Augustine in both Catholic and Protestant history. Torture, banishment, burnings, etc, etc, right up to the Puritans (Pilgrims) when it comes to the Protestant Reformers. Thank God our Founders saw right through it.
    Do the New Calvinists ignore history or rewrite it? Who was promoting Aparthied in S. Africa? Dutch Calvinists. Who were the slave owners in American South? Calvinists.
    It is a sicko doctrine. Run.

  • lmalone

    If one cannot read the bloody evil mess of church history including the Reformers and walk away appalled at the doctrine that drove it, what else is there to say? The excuses made for the evils perpetuated by the Reformers are basically this: But mom, Bobby was worse than me! Besides it was a long time ago!
    Actually, the roots of tyranny run through both from Augustine in both Catholic and Protestant history. Torture, banishment, burnings, etc, etc, right up to the Puritans (Pilgrims) when it comes to the Protestant Reformers. Thank God our Founders saw right through it.
    Do the New Calvinists ignore history or rewrite it? Who was promoting Aparthied in S. Africa? Dutch Calvinists. Who were the slave owners in American South? Calvinists.
    It is a sicko doctrine. Run.

  • bob

    A God that saves people who won’t save themselves is tragic?

  • Tony

    “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The LORD has made both of them.”(Proverbs 20:12)

  • Tony

    Where exactly in the Bible does it say, “All of God’s creation is worthy of salvation in Christ”? What about Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Also as I read it in John 3:18-19 right after the verse you quoted, and the other ‘famous’ verse, it says, “18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”

  • Tony

    Where exactly in the Bible does it say, “All of God’s creation is worthy of salvation in Christ”? What about Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Also as I read it in John 3:18-19 right after the verse you quoted, and the other ‘famous’ verse, it says, “18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”

  • Tony

    It’s kinda funny and a little sad to read people who make a caricature of Calvinism, or Reformed Theology. Just read your Bible and stop pulling verses out of context people. Stop trying to label what is just Biblical Theology, whatever you want to call it. And FYI, Free Will is NEVER mentioned in the entire Bible except concerning a Free Will offering in the Old Testament, men have wills, but apart from the saving work of Christ, …”8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.”(Ephesians 2:8) You see, it’s actually the Free Willy’s who are the arrogant boasters, who don’t want to give God all the glory, but want to keep some of it for themselves! Sorry, but sometimes the truth hurts, All Glory To God!

  • Tony

    It’s kinda funny and a little sad to read people who make a caricature of Calvinism, or Reformed Theology. Just read your Bible and stop pulling verses out of context people. Stop trying to label what is just Biblical Theology, whatever you want to call it. And FYI, Free Will is NEVER mentioned in the entire Bible except concerning a Free Will offering in the Old Testament, men have wills, but apart from the saving work of Christ, …”8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.”(Ephesians 2:8) You see, it’s actually the Free Willy’s who are the arrogant boasters, who don’t want to give God all the glory, but want to keep some of it for themselves! Sorry, but sometimes the truth hurts, All Glory To God!

  • John Blossom

    Yes, John 3:18-19 make it clear that it is our free will to love sin rather than God in our works that condemns us to death. All have fallen short through sin. Yet as John 3:16 makes so clear, in Christ God has offered every one of his creations a way out from those choices. John 1:12 underscores our changed relationship from turning from sin to God in Christ: ” Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Our rights to salvation, our worthiness, our justification, come from Christ alone in faith through God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8) and our continued sinfulness may lead us away from these rights, but the offer of this worthiness is universal. God hates all sin, but wants to save all sinners, “for we are his good workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” (Ephesians 2:10).

  • John Blossom

    Yes, John 3:18-19 make it clear that it is our free will to love sin rather than God in our works that condemns us to death. All have fallen short through sin. Yet as John 3:16 makes so clear, in Christ God has offered every one of his creations a way out from those choices. John 1:12 underscores our changed relationship from turning from sin to God in Christ: ” Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Our rights to salvation, our worthiness, our justification, come from Christ alone in faith through God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8) and our continued sinfulness may lead us away from these rights, but the offer of this worthiness is universal. God hates all sin, but wants to save all sinners, “for we are his good workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” (Ephesians 2:10).

  • John Blossom

    Yes. people who have accepted salvation through faith in Christ alone with a repentant heart are more similar
    than not, hopefully.

  • John Blossom

    Yes. people who have accepted salvation through faith in Christ alone with a repentant heart are more similar
    than not, hopefully.

  • John Blossom

    Interesting point. It is a point that parallels the gnostics – those who believed that only special people with hidden knowledge could know God. Yet the gospel points us in exactly the opposite direction – Christ came to make God evident fully to anyone and everyone without the need of a social class given special knowledge and power. Gnosticism was rejected as heresy by the early church.

  • John Blossom

    Interesting point. It is a point that parallels the gnostics – those who believed that only special people with hidden knowledge could know God. Yet the gospel points us in exactly the opposite direction – Christ came to make God evident fully to anyone and everyone without the need of a social class given special knowledge and power. Gnosticism was rejected as heresy by the early church.

  • Tony

    Yes John, you’re right that our will,which apart from Christ’s work is “enslaved to sin”(Romans 6:6), and you’re also right that in John 3:16 the Gospel is ‘offered’ to everyone, but you stopped short again in John chapter 1, which if you’d continued to verse 13 which makes it very clear, “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (Again, you can’t pull verses out of context.) It can’t be any clearer there that we’re born again of the Will Of God right?, not of our will. The only reason we ‘can’ respond is because God has already sent His Spirit to change our affections towards Him, because apart from that, “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”(Romans 8:7) You see, in quote, end quote “Calvanism” if you have to cll it that?)

  • Tony

    It’s as simple as reading your Bible, it’s not rocket science, “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise”(1Cor.1:26) , notice God did the choosing! It’s all through the Bible, but you do have to actually read it? it continues in verse 29, “so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” Again, you can’t boast because it says it’s “By His doing”! It’s not just a few scattered verses as some people here are saying, it’s everywhere!

  • Tony

    (I got cut off) in John 1 it’s talking about our position,after salvation, see we already “did receive him” past tense, then he gave us the right to become Children of God, heirs of his kingdom, not the right to choose him of our own free will apart from his already saving us. That doesn’t say anything about our supposed ‘rights’ to salvation, and certainly nothing about our supposed worthiness? It said were already saved, already “believed in his name” past tense. And our ‘worthiness’ to enter Heaven is based on His work,not ours, it says that “He Gave” us the right to be his children, to enter his heaven and live with him forever. And sorry but, you CANNOT lose your salvation as you imply, 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.b The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself

  • cipher

    PASTOR DANIEL MONTGOMERY: There’s been a rise in Calvinism for sure, and I think the return to the doctrines of grace or Reformed theology is really a desire to return to
    more foundational truths.

    Interesting that one can have a “desire” without having free will – but I’ve long since ceased to marvel at the fact that conservative Christians don’t really hear what they say.

    MOHLER: i think we should see this is as a tremendous achievement of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    The only thing you’ve achieved is the (probably irreparable) destruction of civilization.

  • Tony

    It’s scary Daniel, that you’re a Pastor, and yet, I see a lot of bitterness and hatred in your words, and also that you make a lot of false accusations, with no Scripture to back it up? We all have a Will, and desires, they’re just not totally free, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.”(Romans 6:20) Until we were saved, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved”(Ephesians2:4) Then were free from the power of sin, though it’s still present with us. “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.”(Romans 7:14) But the end of that chapter is great in conclusion, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

  • Tony

    It’s scary Daniel, that you’re a Pastor, and yet, I see a lot of bitterness and hatred in your words, and also that you make a lot of false accusations, with no Scripture to back it up? We all have a Will, and desires, they’re just not totally free, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.”(Romans 6:20) Until we were saved, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved”(Ephesians2:4) Then were free from the power of sin, though it’s still present with us. “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.”(Romans 7:14) But the end of that chapter is great in conclusion, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

  • cipher

    You’re confusing me with the pastor in the story, whom I quoted. I can see your reading comprehension skills are on a par with those of most evangelicals.

    You’re psychotic. Nothing you say is of any value.

  • cipher

    You’re confusing me with the pastor in the story, whom I quoted. I can see your reading comprehension skills are on a par with those of most evangelicals.

    You’re psychotic. Nothing you say is of any value.

  • Tony

    No I’m not psychotic, but sorry, I was replying early in the morning, I see you’re not the pastor.

  • cipher

    Not because of that – and you certainly are psychotic. Your belief system is a manifestation of psychopathology, but you’re incapable of seeing it.

  • Tony

    Psychopathology is the “scientific study of mental disorders”, are you saying I study them too much? :) I don’t think you know what you’re talking bout, or the definition of your own terms. This conversation is pointless. I think I’m throwing pearls to swine?

  • John Blossom

    Tony, it seems that you’re mixing apples and oranges a bit here. If course salvation is born of Christ, but it is offered to God’s creations, all of which God judged to be very good creations (Genesis 1:31). God loves creation and spirit and wants them to be reconciled in Christ. And this requires free will, our choice.

    As today’s lectionary notes in Romans 8:6-11, with my emphasis added: “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” God does not determine our affections, he offers his affections, in order that we may offer our affections willingly. If our minds and hearts do not cooperate with the Holy Spirit, then the Spirit’s work is stillborn in us.

    Our will is nothing without God’s will in Christ, but Christ’s will without our willing response does not provide God with the work of love in us that he offered to us willingly in Christ. Without that new creation, our submission is no different than a tree being planted in a forest. God wants a relationship with us as children who have freely chosen to be his servants, not as slaves to a master who has determined us to be slaves unilaterally.

    This is a key area in which Calvinism seems to diverge from other views of the gospel with its insistence that human will has no voice in the matter of responding to the offer of salvation. Faith is meaningless if we have no will to turn to God in faith in gratitude for the universal offer of salvation in Christ. So to bring it back to your point, God’s offer of salvation through grace is the initiating, prevenient, calling cause of salvation, a call completed in our willing response to love God and the world as God has loved us.

    We echo this sort of covenant in our marital covenant vows. Love takes two to tango in a covenant. In Christian marriage we do not treat our spouses as property to be ordered around like a slave as the result of our covenant; instead we work out our covenant with one another through our individual and mutual covenants with God, both based on unconditional love, relying on God’s prevenient grace as our foundation in moving forward in grace.

  • John Blossom

    Tony, it seems that you’re mixing apples and oranges a bit here. If course salvation is born of Christ, but it is offered to God’s creations, all of which God judged to be very good creations (Genesis 1:31). God loves creation and spirit and wants them to be reconciled in Christ. And this requires free will, our choice.

    As today’s lectionary notes in Romans 8:6-11, with my emphasis added: “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” God does not determine our affections, he offers his affections, in order that we may offer our affections willingly. If our minds and hearts do not cooperate with the Holy Spirit, then the Spirit’s work is stillborn in us.

    Our will is nothing without God’s will in Christ, but Christ’s will without our willing response does not provide God with the work of love in us that he offered to us willingly in Christ. Without that new creation, our submission is no different than a tree being planted in a forest. God wants a relationship with us as children who have freely chosen to be his servants, not as slaves to a master who has determined us to be slaves unilaterally.

    This is a key area in which Calvinism seems to diverge from other views of the gospel with its insistence that human will has no voice in the matter of responding to the offer of salvation. Faith is meaningless if we have no will to turn to God in faith in gratitude for the universal offer of salvation in Christ. So to bring it back to your point, God’s offer of salvation through grace is the initiating, prevenient, calling cause of salvation, a call completed in our willing response to love God and the world as God has loved us.

    We echo this sort of covenant in our marital covenant vows. Love takes two to tango in a covenant. In Christian marriage we do not treat our spouses as property to be ordered around like a slave as the result of our covenant; instead we work out our covenant with one another through our individual and mutual covenants with God, both based on unconditional love, relying on God’s prevenient grace as our foundation in moving forward in grace.

  • Lamar Carnes

    It is not Calvinism nor is it new! It is the Doctrines of God’s grace without works of any kind or any contribution by man regardless of the type of contribution. God purposes to save certain sinners and calls them out doing a work of life in their hearts enabling the dead t o come to life and believe and repent, Without God’s initial first work none and I mean absolutely no one would ever be saved! That has been preached since Christ and Paul and the Church fathers down through history. Calvin did not originate it, and in fact, it had nothing really to do with Calvin ever! H e only wrote a small part on the doctrine which already existed in some of his sermons and writings. Luther was much more vocal on these Doctrines and preached much more than John Calvin ever did. And others did also. Why do those who deny the scriptures on this use Calvin to try and denigrate the teachings is beyond me. I think it got that nickman only because of the Presbyterians who did preach it, but so did the Baptists and so did the original founding fathers of the Southern BAptists Convention and that is a fact! So, using that term identifying the Doctrines of Grace is a lie and a misrepresentation of the facts and what it is all about! Better to go to the scriptures and keep things in context and deal with them rather than throwing out a word to try and make something sound like some type of a cult or man made doctrine. It isn’t and never way The Synod of Dort did however point out the heretical errors of Jacob Arminius and his five points against the doctrines of grace taught by all major Christian Churches in that day! If people are interested in telling truth and facts, they will quit calling this Calvinism. That is a very blatant LIE! Even John Calvin would rise up and say the same! And if it were proper, which it isn’t to put a name on the doctrine, it would be the Reformer Martin Luther rather than Calvin who should have the tag! But even then, it would be improper. That would be like Calling the Armenianism of Billy Graham Grahamism!

  • DC

    “You’re psychotic. Nothing you say is of any value.”

    If such a sentence is coming from a Christian, then i seriously doubt his salvation. How can such demeaning words come out from someone truly born again??

  • DC

    “This is a key area in which Calvinism seems to diverge from other views of the gospel with its insistence that human will has no voice in the matter of responding to the offer of salvation. Faith is meaningless if we have no will to turn to God in faith in gratitude for the universal offer of salvation in Christ. ”

    This is the gist of the issue why Calvinism is so hard to accept. First of all let me state that i am in agreement with the calvinistic soteriology although i would not strictly consider myself as reform. Prevenient grace certainly sounds much more attractive to the ears. However, avoiding ad-hominem points and going back to scipture as the logical and deductive source for this discussion, i can’t see the concept of being able to choose freely with the aid of prevenient grace in scripture. If you are of the wesleyan arminianism view than you should affirm total depravity and agree that men are dead in their sins and have “no voice in responding to salvation” (Eph 2:5 etc). However, when God’s grace touches a person, can he/she resist it? Yes you might say. But John 6:64-65 is pretty explicit in this matter. Prevenient grace provides an opportunity to come to Christ, irresistible grace makes it a certainty to come to Christ.Calvinism is not about God dragging a person kicking and screaming unreluctantly into the kingdom. That’s a common fallacy. Calvinism is about God changing a person’s will to respond positively to his call. it is efficacious and hence allows one to respond positively and not with uncertainty. (Ezekiel 36). The type of free will promoted in the western culture certainly makes the calvinistic view of determinism as somewhat offensive. However, it is important to view the concept of human free will through biblical lenses rather than our pre-suppositions.

    Some call Calvinism a dangerous and abhorrent doctrine. But that is certainly not right, for all the reformed doctrine is seeking is to provide a logical and coherent framework for interpreting the Bible without any distinct irreconcilable facts. It is not a doctrine that delights in sending people to hell or making God look “evil”. I have many arminian friends and i see no reason to go to war with them. I might not yet be persuaded with the arminian view but to me, as both arminianism and calvinism falls within the pale of orthodoxy so it isn’t a big issue. It’s good to debate but we should not cross the boundary of personal attacks and labeling a doctrine as evil and heretical without a clear and concise understanding of the development and view of the theology.

  • DC

    “This is a key area in which Calvinism seems to diverge from other views of the gospel with its insistence that human will has no voice in the matter of responding to the offer of salvation. Faith is meaningless if we have no will to turn to God in faith in gratitude for the universal offer of salvation in Christ. ”

    This is the gist of the issue why Calvinism is so hard to accept. First of all let me state that i am in agreement with the calvinistic soteriology although i would not strictly consider myself as reform. Prevenient grace certainly sounds much more attractive to the ears. However, avoiding ad-hominem points and going back to scipture as the logical and deductive source for this discussion, i can’t see the concept of being able to choose freely with the aid of prevenient grace in scripture. If you are of the wesleyan arminianism view than you should affirm total depravity and agree that men are dead in their sins and have “no voice in responding to salvation” (Eph 2:5 etc). However, when God’s grace touches a person, can he/she resist it? Yes you might say. But John 6:64-65 is pretty explicit in this matter. Prevenient grace provides an opportunity to come to Christ, irresistible grace makes it a certainty to come to Christ.Calvinism is not about God dragging a person kicking and screaming unreluctantly into the kingdom. That’s a common fallacy. Calvinism is about God changing a person’s will to respond positively to his call. it is efficacious and hence allows one to respond positively and not with uncertainty. (Ezekiel 36). The type of free will promoted in the western culture certainly makes the calvinistic view of determinism as somewhat offensive. However, it is important to view the concept of human free will through biblical lenses rather than our pre-suppositions.

    Some call Calvinism a dangerous and abhorrent doctrine. But that is certainly not right, for all the reformed doctrine is seeking is to provide a logical and coherent framework for interpreting the Bible without any distinct irreconcilable facts. It is not a doctrine that delights in sending people to hell or making God look “evil”. I have many arminian friends and i see no reason to go to war with them. I might not yet be persuaded with the arminian view but to me, as both arminianism and calvinism falls within the pale of orthodoxy so it isn’t a big issue. It’s good to debate but we should not cross the boundary of personal attacks and labeling a doctrine as evil and heretical without a clear and concise understanding of the development and view of the theology.

  • DC

    “This is a key area in which Calvinism seems to diverge from other views of the gospel with its insistence that human will has no voice in the matter of responding to the offer of salvation. Faith is meaningless if we have no will to turn to God in faith in gratitude for the universal offer of salvation in Christ. ”

    This is the gist of the issue why Calvinism is so hard to accept. First of all let me state that i am in agreement with the calvinistic soteriology although i would not strictly consider myself as reform. Prevenient grace certainly sounds much more attractive to the ears. However, avoiding ad-hominem points and going back to scipture as the logical and deductive source for this discussion, i can’t see the concept of being able to choose freely with the aid of prevenient grace in scripture. If you are of the wesleyan arminianism view than you should affirm total depravity and agree that men are dead in their sins and have “no voice in responding to salvation” (Eph 2:5 etc). However, when God’s grace touches a person, can he/she resist it? Yes you might say. But John 6:64-65 is pretty explicit in this matter. Prevenient grace provides an opportunity to come to Christ, irresistible grace makes it a certainty to come to Christ.Calvinism is not about God dragging a person kicking and screaming unreluctantly into the kingdom. That’s a common fallacy. Calvinism is about God changing a person’s will to respond positively to his call. it is efficacious and hence allows one to respond positively and not with uncertainty. (Ezekiel 36). The type of free will promoted in the western culture certainly makes the calvinistic view of determinism as somewhat offensive. However, it is important to view the concept of human free will through biblical lenses rather than our pre-suppositions.

    Some call Calvinism a dangerous and abhorrent doctrine. But that is certainly not right, for all the reformed doctrine is seeking is to provide a logical and coherent framework for interpreting the Bible without any distinct irreconcilable facts. It is not a doctrine that delights in sending people to hell or making God look “evil”. I have many arminian friends and i see no reason to go to war with them. I might not yet be persuaded with the arminian view but to me, as both arminianism and calvinism falls within the pale of orthodoxy so it isn’t a big issue. It’s good to debate but we should not cross the boundary of personal attacks and labeling a doctrine as evil and heretical without a clear and concise understanding of the development and view of the theology.

  • cipher

    Did I say I was? But that’s you people all over; you spend your lives worrying about who is saved and who is damned.

    Demeaning? Your obscene theology demeans you, but you’re too brainwashed to understand that.

  • Ryan P

    I spent years combating the “Calvinistic” view of salvation. Looking back I was very bias about the Reformed view because of 2 major assumptions that I had. Number 1: Human beings aren’t really the bad guys. The T in TULIP is for Total Depravity, many folks prefer “radical depravity”. Arminians and Calvinists both affirm this doctrine. “No man seeks God, no not one…” Kind David and the Apostle Paul (and obviously the Spirit of God inspiring them) both affirm this. However, we as natural born enemies of God, have a hard time coping with this. I know that I have and still do at times. Christians, who must affirm Ephesians 2 where we are referred as natural “children of wrath” who follow the prince of the power of the air, but have been rescued by God who is rich in mercy, still have a heart for mankind (I hope so). So, sometimes we see election (the Reformed view of this doctrine) as unjust. Instead of seeing God’s mercy in the matter, we call Him unjust. Number 2: Justice does not seem to be what is factored regarding whom God elects, mercy does. Examine scripture and get back with me. Justice is factored in when God unleashes His wrath on the eternal Son of God to exhaust His wrath for whomsoever believes. This way God shows mercy without forsaking His justice. These 2 factors have shed a huge light the debate for me. I understand why people naturally struggle with Calvinism. Personally, I was convinced by Daniel 4, John 6 and the first 4 chapters of Romans that Calvinism isn’t a system invented by Beza in response to the Remonstrandts, its simply what the Bible teaches about the falleness’ of human beings and the mercy and power of God.
    Step back and wrestle with scripture and see the goodness of God and the helplessness of man, including you and me. We need a Savior, right? Cling to Jesus folks! Trust the goodness of God and the absolute sufficiency of Christ’s person and work. I pray that you hear sincerity and honesty in my tone.

  • John Blossom

    With due respect, I am not seeing any scriptural support for your statements. I am not sure what is the source of your translation of Ephesisans 2:5, But common translations render it as follows:

    - “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.” – NIV

    - “that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” – New Living Translation

    - “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” King James Version

    And so on. I am sorry, I see nothing in this passage or any other passage which says that our response to God’s offer of salvation doesn’t matter. Specific to this passage, look just above it at Ephesians 2:1-2: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” So Paul makes it clear that this being “dead in transgressions” referenced in Ephesisans 2:5 is the death of sin – the death of our ungodly choices – our “following the ways of this world” is defective. Without God’s prevenient call to grace, we have nowhere to turn but death.

    This theme of “nowhere to turn” is picked up by Peter in John 6 in the broader context of the passage that you selected. Broader context from NIV:

    56 “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.” [Again, note that spiritual life - salvation - comes first from God's grace, but is determined ultimately by whether we partake of it to live.] …60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”…63 “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” [In other words, Jesus knew who was not willing to turn to him in spirit.]…67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
    68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” [Jesus' disciples chose life - choice matters!]

    I am not sure what parts of my response you are referring to that could be interpreted as ad hominem, but I would certainly agree that condemning another person is not the point here. The point is not to be right about God, but to accept that only God has given us a righteous way out of sin. If our response to this call to righteousness doesn’t matter, then repentance doesn’t matter – indeed, if, as Calvinism claims, grace for the elect is resistible, then it would be possible to be “saved” without being repentant at all. More importantly, perhaps, without the choice to respond to the life of the spirit in Christ, then evangelism in its most valuable sense is fruitless. It would be the equivalent of God saying to Ezekiel, “Prophesy to all of these bones so that just a few that I have already chosen may come to life.” No, in Ezekiel’s vision it was clear that God wanted all of the bones to come to life. We have been enjoined by Christ to preach the gospel to all nations, and that good news is that God wants to awaken Christ in all of us.

    Specific to the doctrine of “total depravity,” Jacobus Arminius noted that “In this [fallen] state, the free will of man towards the true good is not only wounded, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost. And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace” Grace is there to re-awaken our free will to choose the life of the spirit, like the sun shining of a field of dormant seeds. As far as I am aware, John Wesley’s understanding of this doctrine did not differ substantially.

    Wesleyan Aminianism is in harmony with all scriptures in their full context, first through the entirety of the gospel, which is a gospel of God’s love made present and active on earth so what we may choose to be living examples of the gospel for the sake of God’s kingdom on earth. God’s love in the spirit made present and active in the flesh for the sake of the whole world’s redemption IS the gospel. God is not a morally ambiguous monster, pre-ordaining specific individuals to damnation before they were ever born “just because.” God loves his creation when it lives in the spirit, and he wants it all back in the spirit. God knows that our free will makes this hard, but with God, we are told by Christ, all things are possible. With that in mind, I would agree with you that amity between all people of faith and spirituality is important for the sake of the whole world being reconciled in Christ. The point is not to defend theology: the point is to bring the kingdom of heaven on earth to a world that needs it so badly.

    Thanks to everyone for a very thoughtful and spirit-filled discussion. It has helped me to appreciate my faith, and I hope and pray that everyone will find deeper faith every day in love for the God who first loved us.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    Ah, Calvinism. An extra-insane method to interpret an already insane mythology. I can’t say I’m surprised to hear it making it a come-back in the Buy-Bull Belt.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So tell me, do you enjoy the idea that most of humanity will burn in hell because the tyrant made up by the ancient Hebrews decided to curse all of humanity for the

    “sin” of two people, even though according to the myth, these two had no capacity for morality?

  • http://www.churchhistorytimelines.com/ Church_History_Timelines

    “The only thing you’ve achieved is the (probably irreparable) destruction of civilization.”

    Oh, so the Southern Baptist Convention has achieved the (probably irreparable) destruction of civilization? Tell me more.

  • Ryan P

    “I don’t pretend to understand the workings of the Reformed movement in any detail, but what I see from an outsider’s perspective is that in our current tough economic times in the U.S., people are struggling to find answers as to why God is not rewarding what many perceive as their righteous living as faithful people. This repackaging of Calvinism is designed keep people from asking questions as to whether the established order of things in the secular world is aligned with our mission as Christians to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth based on the love of God.”
    I appreciate your honesty, but I think you’ve exposed one major issue that you have with Calvinism. You’ve rejected it and don’t care to understand…please correct me if I’m wrong. Secondly, people don’t understand the righteousness of God, the wrath of God, nor the mercy of God. They all balance beautifully. You must see this, John. He owes us nothing except judgment…literally. We live in a nation where people honestly believe that “God helps those who help themselves”. On the contrary, He rejects the proud and loves the humble and lowly. Yet, sinners must be humbled by God. We’re so indoctrinated by works theology and the prosperity (false) gospel that we’re convinced that God is crazy about us and pacing the Heavens wanting us to get our act together. Um, Jesus is the Savior, right? God supplied the remedy. God saves men from Himself through His Son. Do You realize the Torah required families to stone an obstinate child? Sounds pretty harsh, right? Now read Isaiah 53. The Father “stoned” the good Son in order to reconcile His wayward children. What simultaneous mercy and justice. Yet we get stuck on what we think God is not doing and what we think we deserve from Him. I’m very conservative, but I find it funny how many self-righteous right-wingers bash those on welfare as being arrogant and feeling entitled…I want to slap them and be like, can you imagine how God’s anger must kindle towards us? “God, I did good today, I deserve your favor!” That’s legalism folks. That’s not Christianity. Luther said it best, “we are all beggars.” In the end, no matter how hard this life is, I’m guaranteed the God wins. That’s the truth of the Gospel. I cling to Christ and I can’t go wrong. He’s my only hope. I pray that those reading this will trust in Him. Stand for His righteousness and never take His mercy for granted . If you think Calvinism isn’t men sitting around all day pondering election then frankly, you don’t know enough Calvinists.
    I believe that many don’t care to understand that the Reformed doctrine is the result of reading the Bible with a consistent hermeneutic revolving around the person and work of the Eternal Son of God. Does that sound arrogant? If so, do you make the same claim about your position? Doesn’t this make us equally arrogant? You believe you’re right and so do I. Good, truth exists, and one of us is right and the other is wrong. Search for truth. I used to spend hours on the SEA (Society of Evangelical Arminians) Website. I despised Calvinism. Yet I never got answers or consistent exegesis, only rebuttals and critiques. I hope you dig into the position more thoroughly. We’re not a bunch of jerks sitting around talking about those “reprobates”, and if any reading this are like that, I fear for you. Humanity deserves no less than the Angelic host that rebelled, yet God’s love (not mans great righteousness or worth) for mankind, made in His image, compelled Him to enter in and suffer with and for us. This is Christianity folks, plain and simple. Anything else is a distortion.

  • DB
  • John Blossom

    I am not a deep student of Calvinism, but I have studied it, and I do hope to study it more, What I see is a systematic theology that has a view of what God ought to be that selects a relatively limited number of passages from the Gospel to substantiate that theology – when the gospel as a whole paints a completely different picture of the meaning of God’s love made present and active in Christ, first in Jesus and now in us through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit when we turn to God in Christ. I am less concerned about a theology that “balances beautifully” than I am about the gospel of salvation offered by God universally through faith and repentance coming to life on this earth. If Calvinists live that gospel, than I am hardly one to complain.

    God himself has been humbled by worldly sin through Christ’s punishment and death in his passion. We deserve complete punishment for it! Yet in Christ, our God is not a punishing God; our own sin is punishment enough. God wants us to have humility, but this comes not through punishment but through love. When we respond to God’s love in Christ, we reverse the shame of Adam and Even in the New Adam’s blood. We look at the truth of our sins as Adam and Eve did, and through God’s justifying Grace in Christ we get to shed them in our new life in Christ, shedding his blood that dwells in us for our sake and for the world’s sake.

    As 1 John 4:18-19 says so eloquently, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” Christ did not come to re-institute a new version of the Old Testament’s punishing God, but to lead us to the true spiritual love of God and his ways that was in place before sin came upon this earth. Hence, instead of stoning people, Christ asks us to consider who is without sin and able to cast the first stone. As we see at the end of Jesus’ encounter with the adultress who no one would stone (John 8:10-11) “Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’* And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’” God reveals his full essence in Christ as mercy, not wrath.

    The argument of “new” Calvinism seems to be that it rejects prosperity theology and works theology. Well, perhaps that’s true on some level. And I would agree that blaming poor people for being poor is both bad Christianity and bad theology – not that it hasn’t stopped many who claim to be Christians from doing so. But what does “new” Calvinism offer in place of those alternatives? From my perspective, not much. To simplify it’s response, I see this “new” movement saying, “Accept that God is sovereign, you don’t deserve his love, praise him for his power, be glad that he has elected you for no good reason.” Somehow, that seems like a limited response to both prosperity theology and so-called works theology. It doesn’t really ask people to do things on behalf of God through his grace. It doesn’t seem to ask us to drop a single drop of blood in Christ’s name in thanks for the son of God having given all his blood.

    That’s not to say that many of your statements are not worthy of praise and are probably inspired by the Holy Spirit. I agree that my salvation comes from Christ’s righteousness alone and that I should never take His mercy for granted. But I now that our Savior died for all who are willing to turn to him in repentance. We are saved through Christ’s worthiness, and that worthiness was forged in the blood of sacrificial love upon a cross, not for some, but for all who turn to him and who are willing to allow Christ to live in them instead of their worldly selves. No doubt your heart sees that. I would only ask you to continue to examine carefully all doctrines to make sure that they are not asking you as a new creation in Christ to hold obedience to human fear and power rather than to God’s love in Christ.

    Again, it’s not a matter of one of us being right and the other one being wrong. Only God is right. If we seek to be right about God, then we’re no better than Job’s friends who were more interested in telling Job how wrong he was about God then helping a righteous but proud friend to come to peace with God humbly. It took God himself to cut through the theology and to declare to Job that God is God, and that he may expect mercy from him only to the degree that he would pray for his friends. It was only then that God restored Job’s fortunes (in an Old Testament, pre-resurrection way).

    So to sum it up, I think that a whole, honest and full-hearted reading on the Gospel cannot help but to draw us to some fundamental conclusions about the nature of God revealed in Christ:

    - That we are all captives to sin through our own choices, which, unchecked by God’s grace in Christ, may lead us to complete death, both in this life and the next. God gave us free will so that we may love the world has he loves the world, and we, God’s very good creations, have abused this gift horribly and corrupted God’s creation.

    - That by God’s prevenient grace offered to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, anyone and everyone can open themselves to salvation through repentant faith in Jesus Christ. Christ has opened the door, to respond to this call we must respond to God’s offer of grace and walk through it to leave the world behind whilst on this earth by living here in Christ. We walk though that door only after God’s convicting grace has enabled us to see the complete and horrible truth of our sins through God’s loving but truthful eyes. Only then may we through the door of Christ by God’s justifying grace, for without Christ to show us the way away from our sins in fully loving knowledge of them, we know not where to turn away from sin and death. This response to grace is dependent upon our choices; we may respond to it fully, partially, or not at all.

    - That Christ’s atonement for the world’s sins was not limited to a few pre-determined people. Christ could see easily who was not responding to him in full faith while on this earth, and all fell short. Yet those very people were the ones who responded to him after his resurrection and through that response employed God’s Holy Spirit to bring the gospel to all other sinners in need of redemption. Few are the people who take up this offer fully, but the heavy work of opening the door through Christ’s atoning blood has been done absolutely and unconditionally for all who are willing to take up his cross. The glory for God is not in our deeds through the cross, but in our willingness to perform them out of love for God and not out of love for this world. God is reconciled to the whole world in Christ: are we willing to be reconciled to the whole world in Christ, no matter what it takes? The works of the cross are empty and inconceivable without faith, but through faith and God’s sanctifying grace living in us they allow Christ’s glorious love to be present and active – it’s own reward, lest we should boast of our deeds in Christ.

    - We are redeemed through God’s grace alone, but we are only dust; the will of worldly fear is part of human life, and so grace can be resisted, either in its initial call or in our lives after our initial call. God does not perfect flesh, but through his grace alone we may have our spirits perfected for some period of time on this earth. Very few are those who have done this for any significant amount of time. If we believe that we have been perfected, then we must subject ourselves in our own minds and hearts and through the discernment of others to great scrutiny. Through the evils of human willfulness, our perceived righteousness can become our rightness faster than we may believe! This doesn’t make God’s work in us any less perfect, it only calls into right perspective our ability to allow this work to reside in us willingly.

    - That saintly living may persevere, but it is the living of Christ that perseveres in this world – not the saints. No human on earth can declare anything about the state of human salvation – that is God’s work alone. If we declare ourselves to be “saved for all time,” we are only partially right. God offers us salvation for all time and all the time, as long as we dwell in him and deny this world and take up the cross. If we truly love God’s offer of salvation in Christ, then no doubt that passion for God’s ways will ride high in our hearts. But if we insist on being invulnerable to God’s judgment through our acts on earth after having first encountered God’s offer of grace in Christ, then we are more interested in our value than God’s value in us. Sainthood is not an office – it is a covenant relationship with God, and, as with the covenant of marriage, we will find good days and bad days, trying to love the covenant no matter what through God’s grace in Christ.

    These are only my own opinions, informed by scripture. For a very complete analysis of these precepts with liberal scriptural references I would suggest a reading of John Wesley’s “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection.” Google Books has free ebook editions and there are printed editions also. If people find the grace of God in their lives through other means, I am hardly one to complain or condemn. But I do urge people to consider the alternatives to a condemning God, no matter what their path.

  • Ryan P

    Honestly, I have a fair amount of issues with your systematic theology. You’re so stuck on defending man’s freedom to choose you seem to rob from the Cross of Christ. You said some stuff that scared me quite a bit, but I’d rather not go there in a public dialogue. I must ask you though:
    Did Jesus pay it all? Did he absolutely redeem “whomsoever would believe” on that day? Did He afford and exchange the righteousness of God to men (and women) on that day while absorbing their due punishment? Think about it…their justification, their rebirth/new life, sanctification, and eventual glorification…Did He purchase it all? Otherwise a man must save himself, even if 1 single sin after His initial repentance and faith, and then keep himself by his own will and merit. Christ righteousness is applied and then removed. Man is born and again only to die again. This is horrifying. If so, Heaven is empty, Jesus’ life and death wasn’t necessary or He was simply a good example…whom no one can follow. Seriously think about it. Then read the Gospel of John. Jesus died for His Bride, His church and He keeps her and covers her from start to finish!

  • CurtisMSP

    Predestination only makes sense if you teach that 100% of the people are saved.

    “just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.”

    Why don’t Calvinists teach that?

  • Ryan P

    My friend, I think you plucked a piece of Romans 5 out of context. You should put it back and read again. All are born in Adam (through one man’s sin) and other’s are born again in Jesus, the second Adam. Later in Romans 8, Paul talks about “those who He foreknew He also predestined”…see the key word, “those”.

  • RocksCryOut

    I enjoy “the idea” that God himself does not delight in the destruction of the wicked, rather He is pleased when they turn from their ways and live (Ezekiel 18:23). Even though the warning against disobedience was unheeded, a God who does not leave us in the fatalism of our fore-bearers, but a God who declares “Why will you die? (Ezekiel 18:31), for “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

    I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain, because He’s that kind of a God.

    A God who declares his choosing, and yet announces, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…” (Revelation 3:20).

    That God.

    Blessings.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So you enjoy the idea of a god that you can’t logically explain.

    I enjoy “the idea” of the invisible six legged Unicorn who lives in the fifth dimension and creates a new multiverse every time he farts.

    That Unicorn.

  • frjohnmorris

    The real failure of Calvinism is that it does not take the Incarnation seriously. Humanity was dying in sin, then God reached out through Christ to save all who will cooperate with his grace. When God became man in Christ, the union of the divine nature with the human nature deified the human nature. The Holy Fathers call this the communication of attributes. Because the human nature is of one essence with us humans as the diving nature is of one essence with the Father, we are freed of the bondage to sin and can respond to God’s grace. Thus it is God who too the initiative for our salvation through the Incarnation. Unfortunately, Calvin did not understand the orthodox doctrine of the Incarnation as defined by the 7 Ecumenical Councils, and taught a Nestorian kind of Christology that placed too much emphasis on the difference between the human and divine natures of Christ. Had Calvin understood Christology, he would have realized that is argument that no one can save themselves unless God acts first was fulfilled by the Incarnation. God did act first for our salvation. As Our Lord, said, ” I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”John 12:32. The Greek word is “pantas” which means all. Therefore, Christ draws all humans to Himself.

    Fr. John W. Morris

  • Ryan P

    Hey Cipher
    Are you sure that “Your belief system is a manifestation of psychopathology” maybe Evangelicals, even Calvinists see your self delusion and perhaps “you’re incapable of seeing it”.

  • cipher

    What I’m incapable of doing is parsing that word salad.

  • Max_T

    “It’s more intellectual”

    The young, restless and reformed have become so open-minded to the Doctrines of Grace that their spiritual brains have fallen out! Education does not produce one ounce of revelation. It’s not by intellect, but by the Spirit of God that we come to a knowledge of the Truth. New Calvinist influencers, like Dr. Mohler, are focused on indoctrinating the next generation in order to change belief and practice as older generations pass from the scene … unfortunately, his strategy is proving successful within the Southern Baptist Convention.

  • D. Shaeffer

    Wow. You’re sure working hard to try and get a response from someone, aren’t you. How about this…In spite of the arrogance you show in your posts I truly wish you well and hope someday you find peace and security in the place you seem to despise the most. God bless you.

  • RocksCryOut

    Friend,

    Evidently your skull is just the right size for “the invisible six legged Unicorn who lives in the fifth dimension and creates a new multiverse every time he farts” and “A Unicorn that defeated the Seven-Headed Phlegm God in a cosmic battle that wiped out the barbarian hordes of Mars.”

    A God that could fit inside my skull wouldn’t be worth knowing.

    Blessings.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    So let’s see; your first comment was pointless blather that didn’t address my point, and now your second one continues the trend of hiding behind your god’s magical, intangible nature, as if this somehow constitutes a defense of your beliefs. How can a god institute both predestination and free will into the universe, even though these concepts are mutually exclusive? “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    How convenient for you.

    If only there was an Internet Merit Badge for retarded arguments, at least then you’d have something to show for your efforts.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is just as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is just as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is just as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is just as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is just as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is almost as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is almost as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is almost as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is almost as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is almost as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is almost as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is almost as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is almost as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is almost as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • B_R_Deadite99

    I don’t care if I get a response from someone. Your opinions are irrelevant. Furthermore, peace and security found in imaginary friends is almost as pathetic as that found in a crack-pipe. I have no need of either. Telling me that you hope I find peace and security (thus implying that I don’t have them, as if you actually know anything about me) doesn’t change the fact that Calvinism is a psychotic view of god that paints him as the worst monster to ever exist, and actually praises him for it. Now tell me, who is more arrogant? Someone voicing an opinion, or someone who draws unfounded conclusions about the critic’s life?

  • frjohnmorris

    One of the major problems with Calvinism is that it is a misguided effort to understand the mysteries of God with the human mind. How God is all powerful and sovereign and we have free will is a mystery that the human mind cannot understand. God is beyond human understanding. Calvinism is based on a rational attempt to explain the mysteries of God and because of that is a false theology. Its appeal is that it is a nice fairly easy to understand package that pretends to explain that which cannot be explained. It also appeals to pride, because those who believe that hey are saved believe that God has specially chosen them out of the mass of sinful humanity for special treatment.

  • frjohnmorris

    St. Paul also wrote, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only
    as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own
    salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13 It takes the cooperation of our free will with God’s grace to be saved. It is not either God or us. It is both God and us working together for our salvation. God has taken the initiative for our salvation through coming to us through Jesus Christ. Therefore God has acted first, and because He acted first, we can respond to the offer of salvation through grace, which is communion with God, for grace it not “undeserved merit,” or “unmerited favor,” but is a real experience of God for grace is an uncreated and wholly divine Energy of God flowing from His hidden Esssence. Grace is not an attitude of God towards the believer, but is a real encounter with the living God that eventually makes us “partakers of the divine nature.” II Peter 1:4.

  • frjohnmorris

    You are right no man seeks God, but when He became man in Christ, God sought humans, all humans. Christ said, ” I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”John 12:32. Christ did not say some men, or only the elect but “all men.” Christ did not die to satisfy the wrath of God, that is an idea that crept into Western theology with Anselm, d. 1109. Christ died to take upon Himself the consequences of our sins, which is death. St. Paul wrote, Romand 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” Christ took upon Himself the wages of our sins and defeated the by His life giving death and Glorious Resurrection.

    Fr. John W. Morris.

  • harry

    You my friend have hit the nail square on the head!! This whole resurgence of Calvinism has a very sinister feeling to it.

  • harry

    It could very well be the system of the Anti-Christ spoken of long ago?!?!

  • harry

    There are plenty of people who did seek out God in the Old and New Testament. Maybe stop a minute and read the bible again. Calvinism seems to blind people to any other truths than the ones in which incorporate TULIP!!

  • harry

    No Sir, exactly the opposite. Your “New Calvinism” will be the final nail in the coffin of anything resembling true Christianity in the United States. American born again right wing Christianity has for decades been a blemish on the poor of this world and now this resurgence?!?! I would seriously consider leaving the United States and soon (“Flee from her my people”) if this is what it has come to.

  • cipher

    “I enjoy “the idea” of a God in whose economy both predestination and
    free will can co-exist beyond my ability to comprehend or explain…”

    I suspect most things are beyond this individual’s ability to comprehend.

  • cipher

    The comments posted here in defense of Calvinism are tiresomely uniform and predictable, and illustrative of the general level of intelligence and mental health within the evangelical subculture.

    Don’t worry, fundies. We nonbelievers will be in hell soon enough, while you get to hang out on a mezzanine in heaven with Jesus and Dubya and enjoy the spectacle of our eternal torment. That will give you no end of pleasure.

  • Ryn P

    I would have to say that the posture of scripture is God seeking to save the undeserving. Grace is to bestow a blessing on another due gracious nature of the giver. Therefore it is undeserved. Why would the Bible talk so blatantly about man’s hostility to God , yet He’s merciful. This is what people miss. Salvation has nothing to do with justice toward mankind, in fact it’s the opposite, God saves man because of His mercy and love. People don’t hear that though. How many fallen angels will be saved from the wrath of God? He deals with them solely in justice. Grace is de-merited favor. If I stole from you, I deserve justice, right? Justice is demanded by a good judge, correct? This is the difference between Christianity and other religions. God is just and merciful, simultaneously, in the Cross of Christ. We still from Him, He punishes His Son for it, and then invites into relationship with Him and treats us as friends. This is the exact opposite of what’s deserved.

    Hebrews 2:16
    14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

  • John Blossom

    I am having a hard time following some of your line of thinking, Ryan, but I will try to respond thoughtfully.

    “You’re so stuck on defending man’s freedom to choose you seem to rob from the Cross of Christ.”

    I am not sure what that really means. It doesn’t seem to speak to any specific issue other than that most Christians recognize that the cross was Christ’s free choice, so what we may choose to bear it freely also. John 3:16 makes this freedom from both side of a covenant relationship clear: “For God so LOVED the world that he GAVE his only son.” God wanted us to know him better and more lovingly, and he did this through a gift that requires free will – love.

    With your questions “Did Jesus pay for it all, etc.” you seem to set up an argument that neither the gospel nor common sense seems to argue for. Christ died for all upon the cross, so that those who believe may have eternal life. MAY. The offer is firm, our response to it often shaky. It is not a matter of self-salvation, it’s a recognition that we are human beings both before our first acceptance of Christ and after our first acceptance. We become new creations, but we are still tempted by the flesh. Grace needs to be continually in our minds and hearts to be aligned with God’s will and still be in communion with the world. This is no different than what we experience in the covenant relationship of marriage. It takes God to help two people to see one another in love. In love we want the other to be neither a robot nor a slave, but one with whom we grow in intimacy, respect and service. God wants relationships with us, and wants us to grow in those relationships.

    So, to bring it to your points briefly, “Otherwise a man must save himself, even if 1 single sin after His initial repentance and faith, and then keep himself by his own will and merit. Christ righteousness is applied and then removed.” A person never saves themself, they are saved only by repenting and turning to the love of Christ to live in it. What you argue would seem to say that one can die of thirst by being thirsty! Rather, one dies of thirst because they were unwilling or unable to find water. One must ask themselves, what is the alternative that you argue for? Because on the surface, you seem to argue that once you’re “elected,” nothing you can do could possibly be deemed sin. That would seem to be entirely human-centric. In such a situation, the love of God in Christ would seem to be immaterial as a guide to loving living.

    I read the Gospel of John regularly, but I think that it takes more than declarations to assert its meaning. It takes thoughtful exegesis of the entirety of the gospel to understand that Christianity asks us to do. One cannot start with a theology and then go hunting for some assertion of it in the gospels. One starts with the gospel, and then all flows from it. Christ died for the world, that the world may become the church.

  • Ryan P

    Are peace and security legitimate? Is there any foundational truth behind reasoning and emotion? Is there any intrinsic purpose in the existence in human life? Are we created? If not, then you’re as nonsensical as theists, yet you seem to be too jaded and hypocritical to examine your own philosophical presuppositions. The only honest naturalist is the nihilist. Life is pointless and absurd. Whether you’re an “enlightened” atheist or a Neanderthal like me who is absolutely sure that this universe is designed and your hypocrisy is pretty legitimate proof of this. You’re an example of a person has the most insane conflict in your heart. You think very highly of yourself and the we waste time with our “imaginary” friend all while imaging that you don’t even though your worldview doesn’t even define “waste” or “purpose”. The universe is a product of natural causes with no designer and no purpose, right? So words are meaningless people are meaningless…we’re cosmic lint…this includes you. So you surprise me pondering this point or realizing the truth of your beliefs or you can do what most atheists who troll Christian oriented commenting and say something silly or demeaning about how silly and superstitious we are (while ignoring your hypocrisy) or insult the Deity you’ve never legitimately examined. I’m thinking you won’t let me down.

  • frjohnmorris

    Grace is more than “de-mereted favor.” Grace is not a thing or an attitude of God towards the believer. . Grace is uncreated, but is a real trnsforming experience of God. More than justice, God is love. After the Fall, God did not cease to seek to bring us back to Himself. He sent the Prophets and finally His Only Begotten Son. The Cross is God’s supreme act of love, not to satisfy His wrath but the defeat of the power of sin and death by the sacrifice for us of His Only Begotten Son. Because God is just Christ died for all mankind not just the lucky chosen ones, as Calvinism mistakenly believes, “but also for the sins of the whole world.” I John 2:2. Therefore there is no limited atonement, but Christ died for all. God is just and because He is just He offers salvation to all who will receive it. That is another problem with Calvinism. The God of Calvinism is unjust. Re read Hebrews 2:14-18. It does not limit Christ’s sacrifice to help the chosen few, but but “of the people.” That means that Christ died for everyone. Because God has acted first and reached out to humanity, we are free to use our free will to accept or reject His offer of salvation. God does not send anyone to Hell. People send themselves to Hell by rejecting God. Read the first 2 chapters of Romans, God has revealed Himself to all humanity through His creation.

    Fr. John W. Morris

  • John Blossom

    Beautiful faith statements, Fr. John, thanks. God asks us to be just, for he has been more than just for us in Christ. Happy are those who receive him! Today’s scripture reading from 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 underscores this beautifully: “What! Do you not have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you show contempt for the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I commend you? In this matter I do not commend you!

    For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’”

    “Do this.” Love is a doing word.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    “Are peace and security legitimate?”

    Not at the expense of reason.

    “Is there any foundational truth behind reasoning and emotion?”

    I don’t know. No one does.

    “Is there any intrinsic purpose in the existence in human life? Are we created?”

    See above. Also, humans evolved from simian ancestors. While theists can argue that god created life in the first place, the fact remains that we were not always here.

    “If not, then you’re as nonsensical as theists, yet you seem to be too jaded and hypocritical to examine your own philosophical
    presuppositions.”

    So refusing to take the same leap of faith as the people who believe in a magical Jewish Sky Zombie who is his own father makes me deluded. This looks to be an enlightening conversation…

    “The only honest naturalist is the nihilist.”

    According to whom? Let me guess, some bargain-bin apologist playing the old appeal to consequences game.

    “Life is pointless and absurd.”

    Are you just now figuring this out?

    “You’re an example of a person has the most insane conflict in your heart. You think very highly of yourself and the we waste time with our “imaginary” friend all while imaging that you don’t even though your worldview doesn’t even define “waste” or “purpose”.”

    You seriously need to clean up your wording, that sentence kinda went all over the place. Here’s the problem; you don’t even know what my “worldview” is. I have not taken the time to describe my opinions on everything, just my opinions on Calvinism. How do you know what my “worldview” does or does not define? Your ignorance is writ large in the above excerpt.

    “The universe is a product of natural causes with no designer and no purpose, right?”

    As far as we can tell, yes.

    “So words are meaningless people are meaningless…we’re cosmic lint…this includes you.”

    Words allow human beings to communicate with each other, so they’re not worthless. People have inherent worth as sentient creatures and are not worthless. Holding to these opinions is a matter of choice. You can hold to nihlism if you want to, but I choose not to because the whole thing is rather boring. I also love how you have to resort to appealling to consequences instead of just posting some actual evidence for your cult, which could be easily done if it was true.

    “So you surprise me pondering this point or realizing the truth of your beliefs or you can do what most atheists who troll Christian oriented commenting and say something silly or demeaning about how silly and superstitious we are (while ignoring your hypocrisy) or insult the Deity you’ve never legitimately examined. I’m thinking you won’t let me down.”

    And now we’ve run the gamut from silly to stupid. What “truth”? The fact that you and ilk are not mature enough to comprehend the actual implications of a godless universe? I really love how you poor sheep think that upon reaching atheism as a conclusion, the only logical end to that is nihilism. You fail to understand that nihilism is simply an emotional response. I don’t see the need to decry everything as worthless just because death is the end for us like it is for everything else. My philosophy is to make the most of what time you have while you’re here and leave behind a legacy worthy of remembrance. And by the way, the only way you can defeat atheism as an idea is by proving the existence of god(s). Even if atheism inevitably led to despair, this still wouldn’t make Christianity or Islam or Scientology any less false. A drunkard may often be happier than a sober man, yet no sane person will call him better off when he gets liver disease. Also, your last sentence confirms my suspicion that you’re merely another presumptuous buffoon. I hate to break it to you, but I spent a long time wondering whether or not god is real, and read several different books on the subjects by Christian authors, as well consulting the bible. After years of unanswered prayer, I came to the conclusion that your religion is false. It’s amusing how neither you nor D. Shaeffer are capable of arguing without resorting to nonsensical assumptions about me. It speaks volumes that Christians do this instead of digging up evidence for their religion.

  • Ryan P

    “A person never saves themselves, they are saved only by repenting and turning to the love of Christ to live in it.” I still don’t think that you are following me. They are not saved by repenting and turning, but by their belief (knowledge) that Jesus has died for them. Jesus saves, correct? He performed salvation completely on the Cross, and solidified, or better yet validated, His righteousness by resurrection. This is what saved whomsoever. I fear that people would put confidence in the means and not the End. I hope you see this. Must a person repent and trust, yes. However, their trust that salvation was a complete work of the Messiah what matters. In one sense, does faith save? No. Does repentance save? No. Does faith in repentance in the Savior and His salvific work save? Yes. It’s like a straw in a drink. (Hypothetically) It is the only way to have my thirst quenched. The straw doesn’t do it, the liquid in the container is what quenches the thirst. This is a “horizontal” view of salvation from a historical Arminian and Calvinistic view. Someone chime in if they disagree. The call for “whomsoever ” to turn from sin (unrighteousness and self-righteousness). The scripture doesn’t leave it at that though. It shows us a vertical view of salvation also. This is where election and predestination factor in. Both historical Arminians and Calvinist affirms these doctrines, they are in the Bible. Once again, correct me if I’m wrong. The difference is one view says that God, who is eternal, chose those who would turn in faith to Jesus’ person and work, and the other view says that no man would turn, so God elected to pursue some in His mercy. Either way a portion of humanity was “elected” by God the Father, for the Son. I hope you’re still with me. This is why unless you are an open theist (heretical view of God) or a universalist (heretical view of salvation) , you should say election of a portion of mankind is biblical. Now the Spirit comes to convict people of sin and lead them to the Cross of Christ through the Law of God through the preaching of the good news of the absolution salvation performed by the Eternal Son of God. So put your trust in the Son of God who purchased you and gives new life. Otherwise, do you follow my concern? Jesus didn’t simply make salvation possible, He saved His church. He didn’t do 90% and you need to grab the rope, He did it completely. He swung down and scooped you up. Turn and rejoice in the Savior! Be free!

  • Ryan P

    Does all mean every or all nations, Jews and Gentiles?
    John 6:37-44
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
    Words to the Jews
    41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” 42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
    “that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing”…Is this the same “all” spoken of in Chapter 12? Otherwise 6:44 + your reading of John 12:32 equals universalism…Which negates the majority of scripture speaking of judgment and eternal condemnation.

  • Ryan P

    Do you believe that Jesus, Yeshua (God is salvation), is the promised Messiah? I hope so. How was this determined? Systematic reading of the Tanakh, right? Jesus said the Law and the Prophets pointed to Him. We examine the text and see Him all through the pages of the Old Covenant Hebrew scriptures. I do not preach the 5 points of TULIP to folks. I preach Jesus to depraved men, of which I was, until I was rescued by the Grace of God by the finished work of the Savior, and now kept and sanctified to the end by the work of Christ and the person of the Spirit. The acronym was a response to the Remonstrants acronym, it was not devised by Calvin.

  • John Blossom

    Since you’re not drawing from specific scriptural sources, I can only respond with my opinions. I think that we are agreement that salvation comes through faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And I think that we’re at least in agreement that God’s offer of salvation to us in Christ is complete – that is, God needs to offer humanity no other atoning sacrifice. However, you seem to be suggesting that accepting Christ through faith completes the work of Christ in a believer.

    If that is so, then why live faithfully after that event, since God would have done as much as he intends to for us? To draw to your analogy, one could say that salvation is the water, and the grace of God in Christ is the straw. We must still suck on the straw to alleviate our thirst! Without water we go thirsty, without the straw we have no means, and without the surrender of the flesh to the way of Christ there is no opportunity for salvation to heal.

    If this were not so, then I don’t think that Paul would have encouraged the early church in Philippians 1:6 by saying “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” [NLT] Faith is an evolving relationship, it requires our willingness to enable God to continue his good work in us in Christ. Living faith requires growth, maturing – like any other living thing – as we learn to shed the life of the earth for the life of the kingdom on earth.

    The one-shot salvation that you describe sounds to me more like an anti-sin immunization injection. Some get offered the shot, some don’t, is the implication, and all who get the shot never get sick again. But sin is much more complicated than the measles. It’s a lot more like the flu, which is constantly re-adjusting its strategies to infect us every year. At minimum we need to consider a flu shot every year – and in the best of worlds we make sure that everyone has the nutrition and lifestyle that helps to minimize the spread of infection.

    Faith elects us to a covenant relationship with God in Christ to enable him to live in us. It does not elect us to perfection on this earth; it is Christ’s perfection that may dwell in us through faith. This is the “predestination factor.” The cure for sin is Christ, and the cure is predestined to save us when we dwell in it. If we are already dead to the world in Christ, how can be not but rejoice in the life to come? But if we do not live in the cure, then the cure will not live in us. This is the nature of covenant. You seem to want a guarantee for being on the salvation boat, safe passage assured. I’d prefer to be guaranteed that there’s a boat to take me where we all need to go, knowing that it’s a dangerous passage, but knowing also Jesus’ promise that “the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Mark 13:13 [NL]). To me, salvation is not about getting on the boat, it’s about how we live on the passage for God’s sake in Christ. But thanks be to God that we have the boat waiting for us!

  • Ryan P

    Sorry, I cleaned it up:
    Are you sure that your belief system isn’t a manifestation of psychopathology and maybe Evangelicals, even Calvinists, see that because of your own submission to delusion, perhaps you’re incapable of seeing it?
    Did that help with the salad?

  • frjohnmorris

    No it does not. Christ died for all and offers salvation to all, but to receive it we must use our free will to accept God’s offer of the gift of salvation and cooperate with God’s grace for our spiritual growth to deification. God does not force us to accept His grace, nor does He deny anyone who accepts it. God chose humanity when Christ became human. That is why the Incarnation is so important. It is the Incarnation that begins our salvation. Through the Incarnation, God reaches out to us to enable us to accept His grace, but He reaches out to all humanity, not just the lucky few as Calvin erroneously taught. God does not reject anyone. However, some reject God and He honors their choice. The true God is not the wrath filled vengeful God of Calvinism, but the God of love who gave His Only Begotten Son to suffer and die not to appease His wrath but to deliver us from captivity to sin and death. God does not hate sinners, but loves them so much that He sent Christ to save them. Calvinism turns Christianity upside down and produces a false image of God that distorts the Gospel.

    Archpriest John W. Morris PhD

  • cipher

    Yes, it clarified the fact that you’re an idiot.

  • Ryan P

    However, you seem to be suggesting that accepting Christ through faith completes the work of Christ in a believer.
    If that is so, then why live faithfully after that event, since God would have done as much as he intends to for us? You’re making the same argument that Paul’s imaginary accusers were in Romans 6. “Shall we sin all the more? By no means.” That’s where the born again part and sanctification have to be clarified. I don’t think you realize that you’re talking about the same process the only problem is you’re saying that Jesus purchased every facet of the life of a believer. This is the conclusion of Romans 8. Romans 9 is where so many go to confirm or combat Reformed soteriology but we can’t miss Romans 1-8. 1-4 is the bad and good news and 5-8 is the implications of Jesus’ work in the believer along with the struggles until death and glorification. Until then we love Him and love others because He first loved us. Our works are a byproduct of our new life in Jesus. We were buried with Him on the Cross and raised to new life (or born again). We live in a body that can now pursue Him, free from sin, but not free of sin (Romans 7) until we are glorified (also courtesy of the work of Christ).

  • Ryan P

    “Life is pointless and absurd.”
    Are you just now figuring this out?
    The fact that you conitinued typing beyond this conflicts with a lot in your life…don’t ya think?

    You seriously need to clean up your wording, that sentence kinda went all over the place. Here’s the problem; you don’t even know what my “worldview” is. I have not taken the time to describe my opinions on everything, just my opinions on Calvinism. How do you know what my “worldview” does or does not define? Your ignorance is writ large in the above excerpt.
    LOL. Guilty as charged. Have a good one. Enjoy borrowing others’ foundations boss.

  • John Blossom

    Well, I think that we’re in agreement that the grace of God in Christ offers a life “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” (Ephesians 2:10). But you say that Romans 8 concludes that Jesus “purchased every facet of the life of a believer” seems to apply a very broad and rich passage of text to a specific claim that the text either in whole or in part does not substantiate in exactly that way.

    Romans 1:1-8 certainly affirms that we Christ died for all of us so that every aspect of us may turn from sin to God, to be sure. But Christ did not purchase us as slaves, as mere property, but offered us a new covenant washed in his blood, what we might have life in him for the world’s sake. It is true that our works are a byproduct of our new life in Jesus, and our new life in Christ frees us to pursue Godliness. But these are the works of people who have willfully entered into a covenant with the God who loves to be in covenant with us.

    Let’s remember that a covenant is a two-way agreement. A slave does not enter into a covenant relationship with its master – it’s ownership by the master is the result of a covenant between a buyer and a seller. By contrast, an employee or indentured servant enters into a covenant with his or her employer to serve willingly. The same with marriage – two parties enter into covenant with one another and with God willingly. In the instance of salvation, God is completely willing and entirely able to purchase our salvation through our covenant in Christ. Are we willing to live up to the terms of that covenant? In the grace of Christ, we have the means to that.

    I think that we are largely in agreement on the gifts of salvation, perhaps stumbling to agree on some particulars of scriptural interpretation but both grateful that we have a loving God who wants us all to live in Christ for the world’s sake. Hopefully this all creates a good work for the glory of God’s kingdom. Thanks.

  • Ryan P

    I’ve been feelin convicted about my focus while commenting on this page, so I’m gonna bail out of here. Forgive me if I offended you in any way. Put you trust in Jesus righteousness alone, that’s all the most legitimate concern that I have. That’s our only hope. Examine yourself, see where you fall short, and cling to His righteousness, imputed to you and His frredom from sin, purchased for you. Take care.

  • Ryan P

    I’ve been feelin convicted about my focus while commenting on this page, so I’m gonna bail out of here. Forgive me if I offended you in any way. Put you trust in Jesus righteousness alone, that’s all the most legitimate concern that I have. That’s our only hope. Examine yourself, and cling to His righteousness, imputed to you and His frredom from sin, purchased for you. Take care.

  • frjohnmorris

    Here is a quote from St. John of Damascus, whose writing “On the Orthodox Faith” is considered a very good synthesis of the teachings of the Holy Fathers. I think that this is the best statement that I have read of the Orthodox teaching on free will and God’s foreknowledge. Ultimately it is a mystery how God knows all, yet we have free will. We get into serious theological trouble when we try to understand with our minds the mysteries of God. That is one of the major ways in which Calvin went wrong.

    Chapter XXX.—Concerning Prescience and Predestination.
    We ought to understand that while God knows all things beforehand, yet He does not predetermine all things. For He knows beforehand those things that are in our power, but He does not predetermine them. For it is not His will that there should be wickedness nor does He choose to compel virtue. So that predetermination is the work of the divine command based on fore-knowledge. But on the other hand God predetermines those things which are not within our power in accordance with His prescience. For already God in His prescience has prejudged all things in accordance with His goodness and justice.
    Bear in mind, too, that virtue is a gift from God implanted in our nature, and that He Himself is the source and cause of all good, and without His co-operation and help we cannot will or do any good thing. But we have it in our power either to abide in virtue and follow God, Who calls us into ways of virtue, or to stray from paths of virtue, which is to dwell in wickedness, and to follow the devil who summons but cannot compel us. For wickedness is nothing else than the withdrawal of goodness, just as darkness is nothing else than the withdrawal of light. While then we abide in the natural state we abide in virtue, but when we deviate from the natural state, that is from virtue, we come into an unnatural state and dwell in wickedness.

    Fr. John W. Morris

  • frjohnmorris

    Here is a quote from St. John of Damascus, whose writing “On the
    Orthodox Faith” is considered a very good synthesis of the
    teachings of the Holy Fathers. I think that this is the best
    statement that I have read of the Orthodox teaching on free will and
    God’s foreknowledge. Ultimately it is a mystery how God knows all,
    yet we have free will. We get into serious theological trouble when
    we try to understand with our minds the mysteries of God. That is one
    of the major ways in which Calvin went wrong.

    Chapter
    XXX.—Concerning Prescience and Predestination.

    We ought to understand that while God knows all things beforehand, yet
    He does not predetermine all things. For He knows beforehand those
    things that are in our power, but He does not predetermine them. For
    it is not His will that there should be wickedness nor does He choose
    to compel virtue. So that predetermination is the work of the divine
    command based on fore-knowledge. But on the other hand God
    predetermines those things which are not within our power in
    accordance with His prescience. For already God in His prescience has
    prejudged all things in accordance with His goodness and justice.

    Bear in mind, too, that virtue is a gift from God implanted in our nature,
    and that He Himself is the source and cause of all good, and without
    His co-operation and help we cannot will or do any good thing. But we
    have it in our power either to abide in virtue and follow God, Who
    calls us into ways of virtue, or to stray from paths of virtue, which
    is to dwell in wickedness, and to follow the devil who summons but
    cannot compel us. For wickedness is nothing else than the withdrawal
    of goodness, just as darkness is nothing else than the withdrawal of
    light. While then we abide in the natural state we abide in virtue,
    but when we deviate from the natural state, that is from virtue, we
    come into an unnatural state and dwell in wickedness.

    Fr. John W. Morris

  • Guest number 1

    So, do you Believe in a Universe that expanded from a singularity for an unknown reason and for the most part in unknown ways (at least for the very first part of plank time) Do you believe in black holes which were at first derided because they were foolish, but now we “think” they are the primary organizing structures of the universe. (as far as galaxies and other formations go) Even these black holes and supermassive blackholes are only known by how they effect the things we see. We don’t understand what happens beyond the event horizon, we don’t understand dark matter or dark energy, yet we cannot explain the Universe without them. Since the beginning of time knowledge has operated from a position of incompleteness and uncertainty. You seem to be a positivist, requiring sense experience and reasoning from there to “know” anything. While “rocks cry out” doesn’t prescribe to your same epistemological bent, there are plenty that do that have come to the conclusion that there must be a personal/intelligent creator. I could go on as to why it isn’t necessarily “stupid” to believe in the God of the Bible. You of course seem to be closed off as far as conversation goes, so insert acerbic response here.____

  • Guest number 1

    Quantum mechanics and General relativity are also beyond our ability reconcile with certainty, there are no less than 12 possible explanations, some might be able to be proven when technology advances, others are by their nature utterly unverifiable. Why do we apply such a double standard to the different categories of knowledge?

  • cipher

    Because those theories weren’t developed by congenital psychopaths?

  • cipher

    Right, so you go from those elegant theories backed up by generations of observational data and mathematical formulation, to “You’re born in a state of sin-debt. Believe in me or burn in a lake of fire forever!”

    It’s impossible to take people like you seriously.

  • Guest number 1

    I’ve taken the time to understand both theories. And while I don’t understand either completely, I know enough that Biblical theology is well thought out as well. It has not just generations of philosophy and debate, but millenia. It only takes a little humility. Was Augustine stupid? Aquinas, Kierkegaard, Barth? And so many men and women smarter than both you and I that it’s uncountable. Cipher, your hostile attitude reeks of the certainty of fear and anger. You should take anyone who is genuinely seeking truth seriously. Calling people crazy or psychopaths is the easiest thing in the world to do.

  • cipher

    Augustine, who believed unbaptized babies went to hell? Aquinas, who was convinced that the large part of the joy of heaven would consist of the prerogative of watching the torments of the damned for all eternity? Textbook cases of psychopathy. The entire history of Christian theology has been authored by some of the most pathological personalities in all of human history.

    The fact that this even needs to be explained to you – and that you will, of course, reject it – proves my point, but you’re incapable of seeing it. As I said, it’s impossible to take you seriously. You’re playing at being an intellectual, but you’re just another self-loathing religious lunatic projecting your fractured psyche onto the universe.

    Go ahead and have the last word; your kind always needs to. I won’t waste any more time responding to you.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    “So, do you Believe in a Universe that expanded from a singularity for an unknown reason and for the most part in unknown ways (at least for the very first part of plank time)”

    I have no opinion on the origin of the universe because I’ve never spent any great amount of time studying it. If and when I do, ask me then.

    As for the rest of your comment. here is something you should take into account; it God of the Gaps is a logical fallacy. Just because there is a lot of unexplained phenomena in the universe does not equate to evidence for God, or rather, your own preferred version of him/her/it/them. There used to be great deal more mysteries in the world before science came along. God used to live in volcanoes and clouds; then space; and now “outside space-time”. Also, I don’t think that someone is stupid merely for believing in god; but this doesn’t change Christianity’s embarrassing lack of evidence after two millennia, or the sheer lunacy that is Calvinism.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    “The fact that you conitinued typing beyond this conflicts with a lot in your life…don’t ya think?”

    I guess they haven’t discovered jokes in your neck of the woods yet.

    “LOL. Guilty as charged. Have a good one. Enjoy borrowing others’ foundations boss.”

    Since this doesn’t address the excerpt you pasted from my comment, I can only assume that this is a random accusation my morality came from the Judeo-Christian tradition, or something to that effect? If so, please tell me that you don’t really believe that all morality and ethics were invented whole-cloth by your religion; I may die of laughter.

  • Touma

    A God who creates everyone with the intent of saving a small portion, while damning the rest is pretty tragic.

  • Guest

    Although I obviously would not agree with him, I could see where cipher was coming from if he had said, “Religion is the most abominable idea in the tragic history of our sorry species” or something hum-drum to that effect. But to single out Calvinism? Laughable.

  • http://www.churchhistorytimelines.com/ www.churchhistorytimelines.com

    Although I obviously would not agree with him, I could see where cipher was coming from if he had said, “Religion is the most abominable idea in the tragic history of our sorry species” or something hum-drum to that effect. But to single out Calvinism? Silly.

  • John Blossom

    Good points. Human reason is a gift from God, but that does not mean that it leads us to the fullness of God’s existence. Philosophies are by their essence cosmological – the human mind trying to encompass all reality, and therefore being largely just a map of the human mind – whereas theologies based on a supreme being that is beyond complete human understanding are by their essence ontological – one assumes “the thing than which nothing greater can be thought” as a premise and works down from that to find function in the evidence – not proof of one’s rightness about your God-map.

    From that perspective, perhaps Calvinism is more of a philosophy than a theology. And I believe that you’re exactly right about its package – it’s cosmolology disguised as ontology. It seems to say in essence “Look, you cannot understand how God works, so let us explain it to you.” Well, if God cannot be explained, why should we trust the explainer? But some people want gurus who can “fix” their lives, and, yes, a sense of pride that keeps them from feeling vulnerable. So a God who asks little of us and who allows us to condemn others while holding on to our pride can be comforting and seductive.

    To me, this is one of the key things about Christianity as practiced my most people – God’s ultimate nature and power is unfathomable, but in Christ our right relationship with the unknowable has been made completely evident for anyone who cares to see it – God loves his creation, God wants us to accept his love, God wants us to repent from the ill effects of our acting in fear and to act in Godly love, so that God’s love may be present and active. And this comes not from an “explainer,” but from God himself in Christ. Love is the knowing. Doing in God’s love even when it hurts us to do things in God’s love is the evidence of the knowing. Living in God is the reward for the knowing. This seems to be the essence of the gospel.

  • Josh

    Romans 9:22 says God wants to show his wrath and make known his power.

    But in God’s goodness, most everyone has a chance to repent and turn to him. So don’t assume you’re not elect, no one knows but God. Turn to the Lord for salvation today!

  • Frank

    As a christian, I have always thought Calvinism paints a very unfaltering image of God. As most know, the acronym TULIP sums up its beliefs. Unconditional election is the doctrine which states that God chose those whom he was pleased to bring to a knowledge of himself, not based upon any merit shown by the object of his grace and not based upon foreseen faith (especially a mere decisional faith). God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of his own will, some for glory and others for damnation (Romans 9:15, 21). He has done this act before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4–8).
    So, according to this doctrine, God determines who will be saved, and who will be lost. But this contradicts so many other biblical teachings that man is responsible himself for what he believes, and what he rejects. If God determines who is saved, how can true judgement occur if a person never had a chance to believe because he was never of the elect? How can you say a person is responsible for the decisions they make, and is held accountable for them, but say on the other hand salvation is pre-determined to a select few and all others are destined for destruction?
    I’m sorry, I have studies this issue for years and full well know all the verses both camps use in defense of their position, but Calvinism contradicts everything I believe in the true nature of God, who desires all to come to repentance (1 Timothy 2:4), and does not delight in the destruction of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11; 18:23).
    No wonder John Wesley was so adamantly opposed to this doctrine!

  • Agni Ashwin

    “Those” doesn’t exclude “all”.

  • http://www.churchhistorytimelines.com/ www.churchhistorytimelines.com

    “…their spiritual brains have fallen out.”

    Do tell.

  • CharlesMaglaughlin

    No wonder Charles Spurgeon was so adamantly a Calvinist! You need to represent Calvinism properly before you tear it apart. http://so4j.com/calvinism-vs-arminianism-compare

  • Shawn Hare

    Spoken like someone who hasn’t got a clue as to what he(or she) is talking about. Fatalism (Islam) and God’s absolute sovereignty (just as the Scriptures teach) are about as similar as consensual, marital sexual relations and rape. Just as the Scriptures teach, it’s a fool who speaks without actually knowing the facts.

  • Shawn Hare

    Spoken like someone who hasn’t got a clue as to what he(or she) is talking about. Fatalism (Islam) and God’s absolute sovereignty (just as the Scriptures teach) are about as similar as consensual, marital sexual relations and rape. Just as the Scriptures teach, it’s a fool who speaks without actually knowing the facts.

  • Shawn Hare

    God saves SINNERS.
    God doesn’t owe SINNER salvation, nor a “chance” at salvation.
    Salvation is wholly GRACIOUS, UNDESERVED.
    And salvation is wholly from God, and Him ALONE.
    God doesn’t help sinners to save themselves (as that would and could never happen anyhow) — rather, God SAVES sinners.
    Once again, it might behoove you to intelligently, honestly, and prayerfully look into the matter against which you are presently railing, for you are opposing the very Gospel itself.

  • Shawn Hare

    God saves SINNERS.
    God doesn’t owe SINNER salvation, nor a “chance” at salvation.
    Salvation is wholly GRACIOUS, UNDESERVED.
    And salvation is wholly from God, and Him ALONE.
    God doesn’t help sinners to save themselves (as that would and could never happen anyhow) — rather, God SAVES sinners.
    Once again, it might behoove you to intelligently, honestly, and prayerfully look into the matter against which you are presently railing, for you are opposing the very Gospel itself.

  • Paige

    I agree with your understanding (creates everyone, saves small portion)…and it seems tragic. Perhaps you and I just don’t understand very well why this is for the best? At face value, it seems “mean”, but maybe the display of his glory, wrath, mercy, etc. is worth the passing over of some? Just what I’ve come up with myself, in the past…..Full discloser- I believe in election after studying Romans about 15 years ago. It’s a beautiful theology that so humbled me and caused me to appreciate the grace, mind and sovereignty of God even more. All the best ~

  • Paige

    *disclosure

  • timothy

    reform theology is a fatalistic religion. John 3:15 ,16,18,19 kjv destroys the cult of calvin.

  • Shawn Hare
  • cipher

    “Just as the Scriptures teach, it’s a fool who speaks without actually knowing the facts.”

    Look in the mirror.

    I’ve said it more times than I care to remember: fundamentalists have no sense of irony.

  • Shawn Hare

    I tend to look in the mirror, sir. However, I’ve done my homework. I know what I believe and I know it when someone misrepresents what I believe. That’s the typical stance that anti-grace folks take when opposing the so-called “Calvinist”. Straw men are the usual method, and that’s what’s been thrown out thus far. But your accusation falls into another category, one of self-righteous, ignorance, masquerading as piety. And I’m not a Fundamentalist. Perhaps if you actually knew the difference between a Fundamentalist and a Reformed Christian you might not’ve made a fool of yourself. But that’s to be expected. More of the usual.

    Would somebody surprise me and actually say something that has any bearing on anything in reality?

  • cipher

    Please. You wouldn’t know reality if it walked up to you and introduced itself. You are literally a psychopath.

  • Shawn Hare

    Ad hominem.

  • goglmogl

    It is decretal theology and divine determinism that makes God out to be a monster. No one is talking Universalism. God preordains some to heaven and others to hell for his glory and the ones who are sent to hell are just crap out of luck without any choice. .This is not goodness nor is it greatness. It makes God the author of sin any way the Calvinst weasels out of it. God caused 9/11, didn’t allow it but caused it. Ridiculous. God caused the rape and torture and murder of my daughter due to his meticulous providence. He causes everything and then they parse words like consequential and antecedent sin and use terms like he drives the car but doesn’t control the steering wheel. silly nonsense. No thanks. This argument is not primarily about free will and predestination but about Gods character. Yes to Total Depravity but no to Limited Atonement and no to irresistible Grace at say 50 percent. so I am a 3.5 tulip Calvinist. Arminius had it right. Beza wrote about limited atonement more than did Calvin. Blossom you speak well.

  • steve

    CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD?

    On the Day of Pentecost Peter quoted the prophet Joel (Acts 2:21′And it shall be that everyone who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’)

    To call on the name of the Lord is to acknowledge the authority and power of the Lord, and follow in obedience by meeting the terms of pardon.

    The apostle Peter did not tell those on the Day of Pentecost to say the “sinner’s prayer.” Saying the “sinner’s prayer” is not calling on the name of the Lord.

    Peter preached the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus. Peter declared the Jesus was Lord and Christ. (Acts 2: 22-26) They obviously believed Peter’s preaching because they asked the question(Acts 2:37 …..”Brethren what shall we do?”)
    Peter did not tell them to say the “sinner’s prayer.” What was Peter’s response to their question? (Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.)

    THE NARRATIVE OF CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD.
    1. FAITH: Believe in the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus. Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
    2. CONFESSION: Acknowledge Jesus as the Christ and the Son of God.
    3. REPENTANCE: Make the commitment to turn from sin and turn toward God.
    4. WATER BAPTISM: Be immersed into Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

    HOW DID THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD? (Acts 8:25-40

    1. Philip preached Jesus to him. (Acts 8:35)
    2. He confessed Jesus as The Christ the Son of God. (Acts 8:37)
    3. He was baptized in water. Immersed by Philip. (Acts 8:38-39)
    The Ethiopian eunuch did not say the sinner’s pray nor was he asked to do so by Philip.

    Romans 10:13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

    Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

    To call on the name of the Lord is to acknowledge His power and authority and confess Him as Lord and Christ . (Acts 2:26,Acts 8:37, Romans 10:9-10) To call on the Name of the Lord is to repent and be baptized. (Acts 2:38)

    WE ARE TOLD TO CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD TO BE SAVED.

    We are never told we are saved by “faith only.” We are never told that saying the “sinner’s prayer” is calling on the name of the Lord.

    IF SAYING THE “SINNER’S PRAYER” IS NOT A REQUIREMENT FOR SALVATION? THEN WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR SALVATION.

    THE REQUIREMENTS!
    1. Faith: John 3:16
    2. Belief and baptism: Mark 16:16
    3. Confession and belief: Romans 10:9-10
    4. Born of water and Spirit: John 3:5
    5. Grace and faith: Ephesians 2:8
    6. Buried through baptism: Roman 6:4-5
    7. Water baptism: 1 Peter 3:20-21
    8. Baptism: Acts 22:16
    9. Baptized into Christ: Galatians 3:27
    10. Believe: Acts 16:30-31
    11. Repentance and baptism: Acts 2:38
    12. God’s mercy, water baptism, and the Holy Spirit: Titus 3:5
    13. Water baptism: Colossians 2:12-13
    14. Repentance: Acts 3:19

    IF YOU HAVE COMPLETED THESE REQUIREMENTS—THEN YOU HAVE CALLED ON THE NAME OF THE LORD!

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com