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Section 8A .. A Question Of Salvation/Calvinism

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Predestination
 

Calvinism Part V - Hypocrisy Unlimited?

Take your pick.. either John Calvin was a misguided zealot, or innumerable verses in both Testaments show God to be a very hypocritical evil being who's intent is vastly different from His words.

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.
You Are Here 001orange Part 5: Hypocrisy Unlimited
Part 6:
Conclusion

Part 7: The Sins of Augustine. Early Church Theologians
 

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Hypocrisy Unlimited?
Take your pick.. either John Calvin was a misguided zealot, or innumerable verses from both Testaments show God to be a very hypocritical  being who's intent is vastly different from His words.

Ezekiel 18:31-32 and 33:11
.. In the verses below, He tells them He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked and entreats them to cast away their transgressions, turn from their evil ways and live, knowing full well that they can do neither since He is unwilling to extend to them the power to do so.

    "Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? "For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord God. "Therefore, repent and live." (Ezekiel 18:31-32 NASB)

    "Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord God, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?'  (Ezekiel 33:11 NASB)


Jeremiah 13:10-11, 15-17:

    'This wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts and have gone after other Gods to serve them and to bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband which is totally worthless. 'For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,' declares the Lord, 'that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory; but they did not listen.' .... Listen and give heed, do not be haughty, For the LORD has spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God, Before He brings darkness And before your feet stumble On the dusky mountains, And while you are hoping for light He makes it into deep darkness, And turns it into gloom. But if you will not listen to it, My soul will sob in secret for such pride; And my eyes will bitterly weep And flow down with tears, Because the flock of the Lord has been taken captive. (Jeremiah 13:10-11, 15-17 NASB)

These verses show God deeply desired the people of Jeremiah's time to listen to Him and turn from their evil ways, but if they would not they would be punished by being taken into captivity by a pagan nation. This would bring the Father great sorrow. 

Calvinism would have us believe that they would not hear because they could not hear. So why exactly does God call them 'wicked' when it is He who is withholding regeneration from them and never intended to make it possible for them to listen and obey? Worse! He wept over their situation which He, not they, had control over.


Amos 4:6-12
(All Emphasis Added)

    (6) "But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities And lack of bread in all your places, Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the Lord. (7)  "Furthermore, I withheld the rain from you While there were still three months until harvest. Then I would send rain on one city And on another city I would not send rain; One part would be rained on, While the part not rained on would dry up.  (8)  "So two or three cities would stagger to another city to drink water, But would not be satisfied; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the Lord.  (9) "I smote you with scorching wind and mildew; And the caterpillar was devouring Your many gardens and vineyards, fig trees and olive trees; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the Lord.  (10)  "I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt; I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses, And I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the Lord.  (11)  "I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the Lord.  (12)  "Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; Because I will do this to you, Prepare to meet your God, O Israel." (Amos 4:6-12 NASB)

In the verses above, God apparently resorted to more and more severe measures in an effort to get the nation to "return to Him" (also see Deuteronomy 28). Obviously none of them worked since the phrase, "Yet you have not returned to Me " is repeated five times in six verses. However, it is totally and absolutely preposterous for God to smite the nation with ever increasing punishments because they did not return to Him, when He was the one who had not granted them the grace to do so.


Matthew 23:37

If Calvinism is true then, in what was His last public preaching, what our Lord said was quite hypocritical. He "wanted" to gather Jerusalem's children together although He had, from the beginning, unconditionally chosen not to grant them His saving grace.

    Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  (Matthew 23:37 NASB)

This who hold to reformed doctrine have to try and explain this apparent lament over Jerusalem. And they try.

Arthur Pink's Version: In his book Sovereignty of God Arthur Pink said

    But did those tears make manifest a disappointed God? Nay, verily. Instead, they displayed a perfect Man. The Man Christ Jesus was no emotionless stoic, but One "filled with compassion." Those tears expressed the sinless sympathies of His real and pure humanity. Had He not "wept" He had been less than human. Those "tears" were one of many proofs that "in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren" (Heb. 2:17). [01]

According to Pink, as God Jesus did not choose these people to come to Him but, as a man, He displayed deep sympathy and wept  over them. In other words, man is more compassionate than God. Now that really makes a whole lot of sense (sarcasm intended)

James White' Explanation
Because this passage comes after a scathing indictment of the Pharisees in which Jesus called them (among other things) hypocrites, offspring of vipers, and sons of them that slew the prophets, some Calvinists believe that when Jesus said "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem", He was only speaking of the leaders of Jerusalem - the hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees. And that these corrupt leaders, who were the spiritual 'fathers' of the nation were not willing to let Jesus "gather" their children.

In his book The Potter's Freedom, James White says

    The context would not lead us to conclude that this is to be taken in a universal sense, Jesus is condemning the Jewish leaders, and it is to them that He refers here. This is clearly seen in that

    1 It is to the leaders that God sent prophets;

    2 It was the Jewish leaders who killed those prophets and those sent to them;

    3 Jesus speaks of "your children," differentiating those to whom He is speaking from those that the Lord desired to gather together.

    4 The context refers to the Jewish leaders, scribes and Pharisees.

    A vitally important point to make here is that the ones the Lord desired to gather are not the ones who "were not willing! Jesus speaks to the leaders about their children that they, they leaders, would not allow Him to "gather." Jesus was not seeking to gather the leaders but their children. This one consideration alone renders the passage useless for the Arminian seeking to establish freewillism. The "children" of the leaders would be Jews who were hindered by the Jewish leaders from hearing Christ.

He then says that this verse "is speaking to the same issues" in Matthew 23:13:

    But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in ourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. [02]

There are several problems associated with this explanation the last of which creates the most problems for Calvinism.

1) We simply cannot deduce that because this lament immediately follows Jesus' blistering chastisement of the Pharisees He was speaking only to them and not the general population of Jerusalem. These exact words are also in Luke 13:34-35 but the context is vastly different. They were spoken immediately after some of the Pharisees warned Jesus to leave Jerusalem because Herod was trying to kill Him.

    "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  (Matthew 23:37 NASB)

2) There is no basis to assume that when Jesus referred to Jerusalem, He was speaking of the leaders. God commonly called His people both "Israel" and the "children of Israel". In a reverse situation, no one can possibly imagine that the priests and Levites were excluded because only the children of Israel are spoken of in the following verse

    A voice is heard on the bare heights, The weeping and the supplications of the sons of Israel; Because they have perverted their way, They have forgotten the Lord their God.  (Jeremiah 3:21 NASB)

And because the Father said the sons of Israel would be restored to their land, everyone but the priests would return

    B. but, 'As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.' For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.  (Jeremiah 16:15 NASB)

3) If Jesus' expression of grief over Jerusalem in verse 37 was addressed only to the Pharisees, His words in the very next verses (38 and 39) would also have to be directed only to them.

     "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! "For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Matthew 23:38-39 NASB)

The Scribes and Pharisees were not the one who would call him "Blessed" when they next saw Him.  It was the common people  - a large crowd that "heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, "Hosanna! blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel." (John 12:12-13 NASB). Even if Jesus were referring to His Second Coming as some believe, He had to speaking to all of the people of Jerusalem, not just to the Scribes and Pharisees.

4) The fourth problem has to be considered in light of the Calvinist belief that since the sinner has not even the slightest desire to please God, it is God who must give him a new heart (regeneration) thereby making him willing. Remember also that Calvinists believe this grace of God is irresistible which means the Holy Spirit can overcome all resistance.

But according to James White the leaders were not only "unwilling" to allow those under their authority to hear the proclamation of the Christ, but would not let Jesus "gather" the people to Himself. Mr. White himself ties this to Matthew 23:13 where Jesus says (Emphasis Added)...

    "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.  (Matthew 23:13 NASB)

If God has unconditionally elected some or all of the people of Jerusalem to be saved, then the Pharisees shutting off the kingdom of heaven" and "not allowing" Jesus to gather them to Himself means that they (the Pharisees) were more powerful than God.

If the people were not counted among the elect, then it was not the Pharisees, but God who had closed the doors of Heaven against them. On the other hand if these people were hopelessly reprobate and preordained NOT to be saved then Jesus was quite hypocritical when He said that He longed to gather them to Himself..


Jesus Marvelled

Mark 6:6
Interestingly Mark 6:6 says that Jesus sometimes "marvelled" (Greek thaumazo) at the unbelief of his hearers. B

ut if Total Inability were true then it could not have been any surprise to Jesus that men did not believe in Him or what He taught. By the same token...

Luke 7:9 says that Jesus marvelled (Greek thaumazo) at the Centurion's faith, going as far as to say that He had not found so great a faith in Israel.

If faith is, as Calvinism claims, a gift of God and that man can do nothing of himself to stir up faith, then what was there to marvel at? Why would Jesus praise the centurions great faith which was merely faith that God has sovereignly bestowed on him.


Conclusion
If Calvinism is true then both God's and Jesus' weeping and mourning over innumerable people who refused to repent because they could not do so is nothing but an elaborate sham.  If God has been that moved by the plight of people through the ages, why did He not simply grant them His Irresistible Grace which would have caused all of them to have a change of heart and begin to hear and return to Him, thus avoiding all round misery?

Calvinism would have us believe that God quite simply wasted not only His time, but the time and efforts of His prophets in pleading with those could never respond unless of course, He regenerated them.

 

End Notes

[01] Arthur W. Pink. Sovereignty of God. Lulu.com, 2007. Chapter 11 -  Difficulties and Objections. Page 124.
Online at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pink/sovereignty.xiv.html

[02] James White. The Potter's Freedom: Calvary Press; Revised edition (May 15, 2000) Pgs 137-138)

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