bkmitchell — 2017-10-13T10:57:52-04:00 — #1
Please, briefly define what in your opinion is Calvinism?
david_taylor_jr — 2017-10-13T12:21:36-04:00 — #2
Biblically based theology.
fred — 2017-10-13T13:34:43-04:00 — #3
God’s Eternal Decrees
1. Whatsoever comes to pass in time was decreed unconditionally
and unalterably before.
Whatsoever comes to pass in time, comes to pass because it was decreed before time.
Nothing can be, but what was decreed; and what was decreed cannot fail to be; and it cannot fail to be, because decreed.
Election and Reprobation
1. God decreed from eternity, the fall of Adam and the ruin or fall of his posterity in him.
That, regarding man as fallen, he elected some men, whose names and number were designated, unto everlasting life.
That those thus predestinated were so predestinated, unchangeably and unconditionally, without any reference whatever to their works or character.
That for these, and these only, he provided a Savior and all the means necessary to procure their salvation without any conditions on their part.
That the persons thus unchangeably designed cannot possibly perish, do what they may, but will be irresistibly drawn to Christ and to justification, adoption, and sanctification.
With respect to the rest, whose names and number are also definitely fixed, that he passed them by in their sins and predestinated them unto destruction.
That they were thus passed and predestinated from eternity, and so were ordained to destruction before they were born, of the good pleasure of God and to the glory of his sovereign justice.
That for these he never did provide a Savior, and that consequently they could not be saved, do what they might.
That those reprobated in no respect differed from those elected, and the one class were elected and the other class reprobated of the mere sovereign pleasure of God without any respect to any difference in them whatever.
1. Calvinists believe that the death of Christ is
of sufficient value, intrinsically, to make atonement for all the sins of the
whole world had it been so intended.
That resulting from his death are many benefits
and blessings to all men--the reprobate in common with the elect.
That though his death is thus sufficient to be
an atonement for the world, yet it is not an atonement for all because he did
not die for all, but simply and only for the elect.
1. That up to the moment of effectual calling--regeneration--a man cannot cease from sin; he has not the power to do
None but the elect ever are effectually called--regenerated.
When the elect are effectually called, they cannot help but yield; they have no power to resist.
This effectual call is sent upon the elect without any conditions or preparation on their part.
1. Persons once regenerated may fall into grievous sins, and continue therein for a time indefinite.
2.They cannot totally fall away, but, however sinful they may become, will continue to be children of God.
- They cannot finally perish, but must necessarily come to eternal life. Such is the doctrine of the Presbyterian Church, as taught by their Confession of Faith and standard authors. To it we find many and, to us insuperable objections. Read and judge for yourselves.
The Gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. We are persuaded there is no salvation without Christ; no communion of adult persons with Christ, but by faith in him; no faith in Christ without the knowledge of him; no knowledge but by the preaching of the Gospel; no preaching of the Gospel in the works of nature.
Calvinists believe that every volition, or choice, is the necessary result of an influence exerted upon the mind, through the agency of motives. In other words, they believe that such is the constitution of the human mind, that it cannot will at all without a motive, and that, when it does will, it cannot will otherwise under the mind.
... and finally ... Calvinists believe they are far 'cooler' than Armenians
dave_l — 2017-10-13T14:54:08-04:00 — #4
Back in the 5th century Pelagius Morgan a British monk began teaching that people were not born fallen in Adam. Adam merely set a bad example and people can freely choose to stop following his example and follow Christ’s example instead.
Augustine who grew up a hooligan knew better. And he saw in scripture that people were born spiritually dead and their wills were not free. But bound to their sinful nature. After much debate the Council of Ephesus (431) determined that Augustine had the true understanding of scripture and they condemned Pelagius as a heretic.
So Pelagius essentially taught salvation by works without any need for grace. And Augustine taught salvation by grace apart from works. But if saved, good works would follow.
Calvin, Luther, and all the reformers were Augustinians. And the Reformation was essentially an Augustinian revival. Centered on challenging Pelagius' "free will" teachings that crept into the Roman Catholic Church.
Luther wrote the famous "Bondage of the Will" that broke the back of Roman Catholicism. Calvin wrote the "Institutes of the Christian Religion" that embodied what we call Calvinism. Calvinism addresses all the major Christian doctrines and not just the bondage of the will.
Later, the Arminians rejected Calvin's Augustinianism, that is his sin and grace teachings. They drafted the TULIP abbreviation outlining five points of disagreement. They rejected the Reformed teaching about Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. Key Reformed doctrines mostly based on Augustine's anti-Pelagian teachings and Calvin's understanding of Augustine.
So the Synod of Dort met in 1618-19 in the Netherlands. They used the Arminian TULIP to show the five corresponding points from a Calvinistic position. That challenge became known as the five points of Calvinism.
A Chart comparing the two follows.
justin_gatlin — 2017-10-13T15:29:49-04:00 — #5
Calvin and Augustine affirmed universal atonement (Beza was the first to bring limited atonement on the scene since Gottschalk in the ninth century), so any definition that includes that goes too far.
Calvinism (as a soteriology) is the theory that Christ died with the special purpose of securing the salvation of all of the elect, chosen in total unconditioned freedom by God.
It is heavily influenced by the Greek philosophical schools idea of God as impassible.
gao_lu — 2017-10-13T19:26:59-04:00 — #6
dave_l — 2017-10-14T05:59:14-04:00 — #7
I am aware of this charge against Calvinism. This is why I carefully chose my wording in my synopsis saying the Arminians rejected the "Reformed teaching".... based mostly on Augustine's anti-Pelagian teachings and Calvin's understanding of Augustine.
But I'm not convinced that Calvin taught what later would be called Amyraldianism. There are many resources pro and con easily searched on the Internet. Following is an excerpt from the book “John Calvin's Position on the Atonement” by Paul Helm.
"Many have taken it for granted that the Calvinistic theology which spread across the western world in he seventeenth century was substantially the Theology of John Calvin himself. It was a considerable surprise therefore when Dr. R. T. Kendall attempted to show, in his Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649, published in 1981, that later Calvinism was in fact a departure from the theology of the Reformer."
"In this pioneering study Paul Helm shows that the substantial claims that Dr. Kendall makes over the alleged theological departures from Calvin, about the relation between the death and intercession of Christ and the character of saving faith and conversion, cannot be supported from Calvin, but rest on distortions and misunderstandings. With the onset of the Counter-Reformation and the rise of Arminianism questions had to be faced which Calvin himself did not address. However, the Reformed theologians who tackled these issues did in ways that were entirely consistent with the thought of Calvin himself."
fred_benjamin — 2017-10-14T12:52:47-04:00 — #8
That was interesting, thanks Dave
david_taylor_jr — 2017-10-14T17:36:45-04:00 — #9
There is actually much debate on whether or not that statement is true about Calvin and his belief.
justin_gatlin — 2017-10-14T18:05:37-04:00 — #10
The fact there is much debate should be sufficient to make the point that including Limited Atonement is overreaching as a definition of Calvinism.
david_taylor_jr — 2017-10-14T19:29:33-04:00 — #11
I'm not sure that is good criteria to leave it out. Personally, when I read Calvin's writings it is clear to me that he believed in Limited Atonement.
LA also really is the only logical conclusion for what Christ actually did in my opinion. Universal Atonement means some of the blood would have been wasted on those that never would receive and you run into double jeopardy. The sin is paid for yet the person is still punished.
dave_l — 2017-10-15T05:27:41-04:00 — #12
Calvin as most of the Reformed teach the "free offer" of the gospel to all. They make Faith the condition that activates salvation. And credit God for giving faith to the elect. Just as the Amyraldians claim. So I believe "freely offering" the gospel or Christ to all, knowing most are reprobate is dishonest.
But I do not believe the disciples offered the gospel to all. They preached the gospel and it fell on hearing ears as well as deaf ears. Announcing whosoever believes has eternal life (the new birth and all it entails). So I think Calvin's obscurity regarding the atonement resulted from his misconception about the "free offer" conditioned on faith.