Section 8A .. A Question Of Salvation/Calvinism

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Calvinism Part VI - Conclusion

 Calvinism is a tremendous slur on Godís character

Carol Brooks.

Index To All Sections

 Part 1: An Introduction to John Calvin and his Doctrines of Grace

Part 2Introduction to the acronym T.U.L.I.P - each letter standing for one of the five fundamental tenets of Calvinism.
  2A. Total Inability
2BUnconditional Election
 2C. Limited Atonement
 2D. Irresistible Grace
  2E. Perseverance of The Saints

 Part 3: When the Gospel Becomes a Lie
 Part 4: Godís Sovereignty, Character and Will.
Part 5: Hypocrisy Unlimited
You Are Here 001orange Part 6: Conclusion

Part 7: The Sins of Augustine. Early Church Theologians



An Intellectual Elite And Their Doctrinal Superiority
The exceedingly rich Word of Faith pastors manage to convince people that God wants them to be wealthy by pointing to various verses in the Scripture and telling their gullible audience "See, there is is in black and white". See Section on The Prosperity Doctrine and The Word of Faith Movement

However, Calvinism cannot be argued by such simple methods simply because a plain unbiased reading of Scripture actually leads to the opposite conclusion. Something more was needed to convince people of the truth of Calvinism. So enter stage left complex Biblical sounding arguments that often leave the average person's head in a whirl. It doesn't matter that the doctrine contradicts simple reading of Scripture and turns God into some kind of monster. It doesn't matter that it goes against every last grain of logic and common sense. It doesn't seem to matter that Calvinists constantly contradict themselves and each other. All that apparently matters is that the the line of reasoning sounds scholarly - and Scriptural.

Calvinists assume that they are the only ones who study the Bible responsibly. But, the sad truth is that we would have a far more accurate view of the message of the Bible if everyone started taking what it says at face value and stopped mucking about trying to prove preconceived theories with intricate and mind boggling arguments. 

Judge Richard (Rick) Brooker (a judge who spent 20 years in juvenile court and 30 years in ministry) expressed it very well when he said,

    Looked at objectively, Calvinism is nothing more than a system of baffling, almost mystical theological complexities and contradictions piled one on top of the other. It is a tradition so revered and so exalted that most Christians are assumed to be not intelligent enough to understand it fully. Therefore, we require an intellectual elite - a Reformed priesthood - to explain it to us as if we were medieval Catholic peasants. [01]

This is echoed by more than one person who has studied Calvinism and come to the conclusion that it is not Biblical. In former Calvinist Steve Jonesí words

    "...The doctrines frequently create a spirit of division, elitism and theological snobbery. The system erects walls between believers. It creates a class of Christians within the church general who are supposedly part of a worthy "inner circle."

    Many Calvinists read nothing but Reformed titles, hence these brethren seldom learn new perspectives. On the contrary, they are continually reaffirming their own "theological correctness." Such authors such as A. W. Pink, the Puritans, John Murray and such publishing companies as Banner of Truth become the sole staple for many. I say without intending offense that such exclusiveness differs little from that of Jehovah's Witnesses or other authoritarian groups.

    Of course, I do not intend to paint all Calvinists with this brush. Many are thinkers who read outside literature, even Arminian literature. But the overarching trend in this tradition - a tradition of which I was once a part - is often one of narrow-mindedness and doctrinal superiority. As we have seen, the Scriptures give no warrant for such bigotry. The average Calvinist may be amazed at just how weak his system is when scrutinized in the light of revealed truth. [02]

Years Of Struggle: What is exceptionally interesting is that a belief in Calvinism does not always come easily as Pastor John Piper shows...

    We do not begin as Calvinists and defend a system. We begin as Bible-believing Christians who want to put the Bible above all systems of thought. But over the years Ė many years of struggle Ė we have deepened in our conviction that Calvinistic teachings on the five points are Biblical and therefore true. [03]

Why would it take "years of struggle" for a Christian to believe that Calvinistic teachings are Biblical?

Perhaps because it flies in the face of everything we know about our God and every ounce of common sense we have been given as individuals, but seem to ignore so much of the time. Perhaps also because Calvinism is such a heap of "theological complexities and contradictions piled one on top of the other" that it takes years to be convinced that it is true.

Idealization of John Calvin
Reformed theologian of yesteryear Dr. Loraine Boettner says they

    accept the term "Calvinist" as our badge of honor; [04]

In his book, The Expository Genius of John Calvin, author Steven J. Lawson, president and founder of OnePassion Ministries, quotes Spurgeon who says in his autobiography, (Vol. II: The Full Harvest) (Emphasis Added)

    "Among those who have been born of women, there has not risen a greater than John Calvin; no age before him ever produced his equal, and no age afterward has seen his rival." [05]

The author then rightly points out the pathetic condition of the evangelical church, saying

    "to judge by outward appearances, the evangelical church in this house seems to be flourishing. Mega churches are springing up everywhere. Christian contemporary music and publishing houses seem to be booming. Men's rallies are packing large coliseums. Christian political groups are heard all the way to the White House. Yet the evangelical church is largely a whitewashed tomb. Tragically, her outward facade masks her true internal condition. [06]

See Welcome To The new way of 'doing church' HERE
Mile wide and inch deep flashy mega-churches, very expensive entertainment, and wealthy celebrity pastors with deep pockets, and self serving shallow theology

And his solution?

    "We desperately need a new generation of expositors, men cut from the same bolt of cloth as Calvin. Pastors marked by compassion, humility and kindness must once again "preach the Word". In short, we need Calvins again to stand in pulpits and boldly proclaim the Word of God....  "We do want Calvins again. We must have Calvins again. And, by God's grace, we shall see them raised up again in this hour." [07]

To which I can only say .. God Forbid!

If we do not wish to abide by the old acronym K.I.S.S. "keep it simple and straightforward" or, if you prefer, "Keep it simple, stupid!" Let us at least endeavor to not get so carried away that we ascribe "logical clearness" where there is none. Let us not assign "keen intellect and systematizing genius" to influences that were wrong about almost everything else (See The Sins of Augustine). And finally let us not attribute "deep knowledge of Scripture" to a new convert who actually wrote a book to defend putting someone to death.

Life is too short to read the whole of Calvin's Institutes. However in looking up a particular quote from chapter 23 of his third volume, I started reading from the beginning of the chapter. What the man (and countless others) apparently consider the 'deep things of God', is nothing but an endless torrent of words. Calvin says the same thing first one way then another - over and over and over again. And, that being done, he thinks up ten more ways to say it again - all in this one chapter. I shudder to think that there are 24 other chapters in this volume alone.

Although I realize that many of the writers in years gone by tended to be rather long winded, seldom content with a paragraph when an entire book was possible, I stopped reading about two thirds of the way through the chapter since time is way too precious to waste on a man whom Ecclesiastes 5:3 could have been directly addressing when it said... the voice of a fool comes through many words.

Dr. Loraine Boettner once said that

    The tendency in our enlightened age is to look upon Calvinism as a worn-out and obsolete creed. [08]

No Dr. Boettner! That is not quite true. I wish Calvinism were a worn-out and obsolete creed. What Calvinism is, is

A slur on the character of God.


End Notes
[01] Rick Brooker. Calvinism on Trial.  November 17, 2010. Making All Men See.

[02] Calvinism Critiqued. By a Former Calvinist.. Steve Jones. http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/openhse/calvinism.html. Link is no longer valid

[03] TULIP. A study guide based on and a companion to TULIP: The Pursuit of God's Glory in Salvation (DVD) by John Piper (Crossway Books, 2009). https://cdn.desiringgod.org/pdf/dvd_studyguides/sgtt.pdf

[04] Loraine Boettner. The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination.

[05] Steven J. Lawson. The Expository Genius of John Calvin. Reformation Trust Publishing (March 1, 2007)
Ch. We Want Again Calvins. Pg. 131

[06] ibid. Pgs.131-132

[07] ibid.

[08] Dr. Loraine Boettner . The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination.


Index To Calvinism