Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Calvinism: a sweet treat, but with a rotten core

I liken Calvinism to a candy apple, but made from rotten fruit. Before passing judgment, consider what I have to say.

On the surface, the Calvinist tastes the caramel sweetness of eternal favor with the Father, having been chosen into an eternal flock of the Father, giving the Calvinist an overwhelming sense of confidence and joy in knowing that his destiny was eternally predetermined, and that at no time was he ever truly on the path to Hell. To the Calvinist, what could be sweeter than that? Thus, you have what I believe is the most attractive element of Calvinism. However, upon sinking one's teeth into Calvinism, he discovers the bitter theology that he wasn't saved by the Cross, but for the Cross. What does that mean?

One Calvinist explains: “Do Calvinists secretly believe that God chose them for some reason other than their need for salvation? Would I, as a Christian, believe that God chose me for some other reason than my need for salvation? Yes, I do. God chose me for His glory, for His pleasure, for His purposes. Sure I had a need for salvation. But that is not why He saved me primarily.”

The Calvinist answers: “In the Bible, God does not say He chose us because of our desperate need. He chose us before our need ever arose.”


If you had an eternal favor with God the Father, apart from the basis of the Cross, and apart from your hope in His Son, then your alleged, eternal favor with God has circumvented Christ, who instead says: "No one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6) The reality is that your favor with God the Father stems from your faith in His Son, and that apart from your faith in His Son, you have no favor with God. Your favor with God the Father begins at the very moment that you trust in His Son. Apart from trusting in Christ, you are a dog.

John Hagee states: “Jesus called a Gentile woman, a dog. He never called the Gentiles His brethren. Let me remind you of something. We did not get plugged in until the cross. We had no basis of standing with God until the cross. There’s where we were in Galatians 3 when Paul said you were outside the covenance of Israel, without hope and without God. That’s very important. Then at the cross, we were plugged in, and we received the riches of Abraham, and we received healing, and we received adoption, and we received all the cornucopia of the blessings of God. But before the cross, we were castoffs. You need to understand that.”

Thus the question: Does Calvinism inevitably teach that those of the alleged, eternal flock of the Father, are eternally plugged in with the Father, apart from the basis of the Cross?

7 comments:

Eric said...

In discussing faith, if all we are talking about is assent to a set of propositions, then perhaps persuasive rhetoric might move us to adopt them. But saving faith is trusting Christ. If you are a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, make a decision to trust Nancy Pelosi. If you are a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, make a decision to trust President Bush. Walk down to the used car dealership and decide that you are going to trust whatever comes out of the salesman's mouth, no matter how much your gut instinct tells you to doubt it.

We cannot make those kinds of decisions. We simply can't. It's impossible. And this is the kind of personal trust that Christ invites us to place in Him -- us, who by our very nature hate this God. We hate this God, because He will not accept us as we are. We hate the one true God, because He takes away our sins and won't allow any of our own merits to stand in His holy presence. Such is our human nature -- our Old Adam, who will always be with us on this side of heaven.

I agree that Calvinism has a highly dangerous tendency to de-emphasize the cross. That is the real evil lurking in their view of election. But their strength vis-a-vis Arminianism is a right understanding of Original Sin and its implications for our ability to choose Christ.

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

Eric,

Moderation has been turned off, so feel free to comment underhindered.

Calvinists will often say, "If left to our free will, no one would ever believe, and thus God must enable some to believe."

However, that is using Arminianism to prove Calvinism. Calvinism is not about opening hearts, but about changing hearts. (see Acts 16:14) Classical Arminianism affirms Original Sin and Total Depravity, but offers Prevenient Grace in replacement for Irresistible Grace. The problem with Irresistible Grace is that it requires a new heart, and the new heart is only found "in Christ." (Ezek 36:26; 2Cor 5:17) Furhter, a person is "sealed" in Christ only after believing in the Gospel. (Eph 1:13) Therefore, the crisis for Calvinism is that when it requires that a person be preemptively regenerated, it therefore requires that a person be made preemptively "in Christ" and that is disproven by Eph 1:13, which in my experience, has proven deadly to Calvinism, as in Game Over for Calvinism.

Tom said...

I lean arminian and I agree with a lot of what you say, but quoting John Hagee in support of any Christian doctrine is just sick. The man is a heretic. He denies that Jesus offered to be the Messiah of the Jews. He does this in an attempt to justify the Jewish rejection of Jesus, apparently in order to leave the Old Covenant as a valid means of salvation for unbelieving Jews. While he has not publicly affirmed a dual covenant theology, he has laid all the necessary groundwork for such a view. In addition he tries to lay the blame for Jesus crucifixion on the Romans, when scripture does not once say this, and repeatedly assigns the guilt to the Jews. If you are not aware of this, you need to do some research. If you are and still hold him as a valid minister, then I pity you.

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

Hey Tom,

In terms of Hagee's views on Israel, I haven't done any research on the matter, and this wouldn't be the first complaint that I've received when quoting him. His recent "Hilter" quote also hasn't done much for his reputation either.

However, I really liked his quote. Do you agree with it, and do you know of anyone else who has said the same or better, that I may substitute in his place?

God bless,
Richard

Tom said...

I agree with the point that you are making with it, but not Hagee's point. I think he is promoting a form of Jewish supremicism. His arguments seem to suggest that the Jews of that day did not really need the cross, but the gentiles did. Also I think he wants to promote the idea that Jesus' brethren are physical Jews in order to support his claim (which he makes elsewhere) that Matthew 25:31-46 applies to the Jewish people, and thus constitutes a mandate to support Jews, instead of believers.

I am sorry for being so harsh toward you, however. I respect a lot of what you have to say, and have been helped out by it. But Hagee, to me, is the epitome of a wolf in sheep's clothing, and I have a kind of knee jerk reaction to seeing him quoted in a positive light.

doctormcfarland said...

The cross of Christ is essential in the calvinist view because Jesus paid for the sins of His sheep. It does nothing to say John 14:6 destroys calvinism just based on one verse. That is rediculous. No one can come to the Father but by me is like saying no one can come to the Father unless he is drawn. The will of the Father was for Jesus to pay for the sins of the people that the Father gave to him (john 6:37). The whole definition of grace is to give something to someone who didnt deserve it. If salvation were up to us then we would get the credit fir choosing Him.

Richard Coords said...

Hello,

I disagree with your view that Jesus only died for an elect caste. I disagree with your view that apart from Irresistible Grace, a person is taking "credit." I disagree with your interpretation of John 6:37-45. I disagree that John 14:6 does not do damage to the Calvinist view of Election.

Here are the following articles that I've written, to explain the reasons why:

http://www.examiningcalvinism.com/Gospels.html

http://www.examiningcalvinism.com/ArminianElection.html

http://www.examiningcalvinism.com/files/Articles/elect.html

Thanks and God bless,

Richard Coords