Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Calvinism & Satanism

I'm not saying that the two are identical, but there's something that I ran across that had me thinking about it, and I want to share with you a particular quote by R.C. Sproul. (My next two posts will address a list of reasons of, "Why I am NOT a Calvinist" and then followed with a book review of "Arminius Speaks" by editor, John Wagner.

R.C. Sproul writes: "The Calvinist view of predestination teaches that God actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to make absolutely sure that they are saved. Of course the rest are invited to Christ and given an 'opportunity' to be saved if they want to. But Calvinism assumes that without the intervention of God no one will ever want Christ. Left to themselves, no one will ever choose Christ." (Chosen By God, p.34)

Wouldn't Satan agree, and build on to that by adding, "...and they will surely curse You to Your face." I would imagine God's response to R.C. Sproul would be the same response that He gave to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job?" (Job 1:8; 2:3) It seems that R.C. Sproul is perpetuating Satan's contention against God. I realize that he's coming at it from a different angle, but it still seems to be the same basic point that Satan raised, in that God is unwanted and undesired. Obviously, Job didn't feel that way, and I don't either, and Sproul doesn't either, but Sproul merely attributes that to an irresistible, spiritual brainwashing, not of his own choosing, and worse yet, the opposite of what his choosing would otherwise be. Satan needs to admit that he's wrong, and Sproul needs to stop agreeing with him!

Now I want to clear some things up. 1) I disagree with R.C. Sproul's definition of the elect. I believe that the elect are the elect "in Christ" meaning actual Christians, exclusively (meaning, not the perceived would-be's, but the actuals). 2) How can someone be given the "opportunity" (his words) to be saved, if Jesus never died for them? In other words, "Repent because...oh wait. Nevermind. I don't know for sure that Jesus died for you. Instead..."Repent!...just in case Jesus died for you." Is this the "opportunity" and invitation that R.C. Sproul had in mind? R.C. Sproul needs to explain how you can offer someone a Savior that never died for them. That's why some Calvinists insist that the Gospel is not an "offer" but a command, which only those who are born into the alleged, elected Upper Caste will receive. 3) If Satan believed that Irresistible Grace was real, then why did he challenge God by saying concerning Job, "If You put forth Your hand and touch all that he has" (Job 1:11) and "put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, he will curse You to Your face" (Job 2:5)? Because if Satan believed that Irresistible Grace was real, then his real challenge should have been, "Put forth your hand and remove the Irresistible Grace..." Now if Irresistible Grace is real, and if Satan didn't know it, then Augustine must have really burst his bubble! In reality, though, Determinism is Satan's product, as taught to Socrates and perpetuated by the Platonists, Neo-Platonists, Gnostics and Augustinian Predestinationists.

R.C. Sproul adds: "Non-Reformed views of predestination assume that every fallen person is left with the capacity to choose Christ. Man is not viewed as being so fallen that it requires the direct intervention of God to the degree that Calvinism asserts." (Chosen by God, p.34)

The last phrase is key, in which Sproul has Irresistible Grace in mind. Obviously, Arminianism does view man as being "fallen" and requiring the "intervention of God." That's called "Prevenient Grace," and it appears in many forms, whether you're talking about the faith producing, power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16, 10:17), or the individual goading of the Holy Spirit upon the unregenerate heart of Saul of Tarsus. (Acts 26:14) But the point that I wanted to make is that Sproul is discounting Prevenient Grace as something that man is "left with," rather than something that man is being "given." Yes, God intervenes, since God is giving something to enable him, rather than simply leaving man helpless and hopeless, as Common Grace might imply. Once you view Prevenient Grace as something positive that God does to enable man to receive His free gift of grace, you'll no longer see man as being "left" (as in, left behind), as Sproul had characterized it. This makes sense because Sproul doesn't believe in Prevenient Grace, period. He said so: "The $64,000 question is, 'Does the Bible teach such a doctrine of Prevenient grace? If so, where?" (Chosen by God, p.125) The odd thing is that, not only is it all over Scripture, as I've cited just a few verses already, the fact is that he too must believe in Prevenient Grace, since he affirms the preceding grace of "Irresistible Grace." Prevenient Grace is simply the divine intervention of God that precedes and enables people to receive the invitation of the free gift of Christ, primarily by taking the blinders off, so that man can see the truth, both of himself and of God, and the reality of where he stands before God. The issue isn't whether Prevenient Grace is taught in the Bible, but how Calvinists believe it differently from Arminians, in terms that the former believes that it is an irresistible preceding grace, whereas the latter believes that it is resistible. But that there is a preceding grace, neither side disagrees.

Next up is the "Why I am NOT a Calvinist" post. SEA helped put together a list of reasons why not to be a Calvinist, and I want to share it.


Phineas said...

I am rather new to this whole debate, having never really understood Calvinism. I grew up Presbyterian, with 3 ministers in my family - my grandfather and 2 uncles.
But I started getting dis-satisfied with the rituals of the church. So when someone I applied to for a job invited me to his church with great enthusiasm, I gladly went. The first time I invited my wife (a Jewish Believer!) to my new 'full-gospel' church, she begrudgingly came along.
Anyway, the LORD had to speak to her before she would leave the Presbyterian church to be with me, but my main point was regarding what we learned -- that "GOD's WORD would Not return to HIM Void..." -- so when the doctors told my wife (29 years old) that all the tests showed that there was NO Life in her WOMB -- that her WOMB was DEAD!!
So as we parked the car at our apt., I remembered our pastor always saying "By HIS Stripes you Were/ARE HEALED", and "JESUS Never turned Anyone away!!!"
And someone had said, "IF you have a Need and do Not know where to look, see what the BIBLE says!"
So once in our apt. my wife went into the bedroom sulking, as I ran for the Concordance! When I looked up 'Barren', Deut.7, or so, said, "The fruit of your WOMB shall be BLESSED." Then Psalm 113:9 said, "(GOD) gives the BARREN Woman a home, And Makes her the Joyful MOTHER of CHILDREN. PRAISE the LORD!"
And As I Read those WORDS, a Still, Small Voice spoke to me and said, "This Is GOD Speaking To YOU!"
So (IF you want to hear more, just let me know!) we now have a Beautiful 25 year old MIRACLE daughter, Felicia ("Happy and Prosperous") Elise ("GIFT of the LORD")
My reason for posting today is to ask for help with witnessing to my best friend who considers himself a "4 Point Calvinist" - as he disagrees with the "Limited Atonement". I have been researching a bit on the WEB in an effort to learn how to combat his staunch Calvinistic leanings! He has a ministry of sorts to JW's and has written quite a few pages on the DIETY of CHRIST -- with his own web site on the same.
One of my biggest problems with him seems to be whenever the BIBLE says "All" or "Whoever" he says IT is referring to "ALL Calvinists"!! !!!!! Is there a way to respond to this -- he seems SO BRAIN-WASHED!!!

Richard Coords said...

Hello Phineas,

The Calvinist cannot make that argument at Romans 3:23. It says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." I've never heard a Calvinist say that that only means Calvinists. They are stuck there. They have to interpret it as "all" and then we might as well ask, "So why not apply that thinking elsewhere?" I recommend a CD by Adrian Rogers entitled, "Let the Earth Hear His Voice," which deals with Calvinism.

Richard Coords said...

Here is the Adrian Rogers CD:

usmcwarrior said...

I have been struggling with the doctrines of Calvin for three years. Although I was saved in 1986, I never knew of, nor was exposed to any of Calvin's teachings so I never struggled with them. That is not to say there has been any shortage or 'ism's I have had to contend with but this one rocked me.

Over the past three years, I have studied, debated and read one book by a Calvinist who is in fact a big fan of Calvin; "Calvin" by Bernard Cottret. If this book was supposed to make one feel good about Calvin, his doctrines or his life; if failed. From his writings, to his time in Geneva, his personal life and his complicity in the many heretic burnings of that time, it is clear he was a troubled soul.

What has given me trouble, however, is the never ending list of "trusted" theologians of our day who espouse those teachings and deliver them with such force as to render all who struggle with the teaching or ouright denounce them, feeling lost.

I believe in absolute truth but on this subject, the only absolute truth is there is absolutely no agreement - or even fellowship between parties discussing this. I believe I read it was Luther who said anyone who discusses this subject is damnable.

If you up for a challenge; visit the Puritan Rising website and look under "About". I have had a running conversation with the two founders there, again, to no avail.