Calvin Was A Five-Pointer?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by TCGreek, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    1. For those who doubt whether or not John Calvin was a five-point Calvinist just read the following from his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion.

    2. The first number is the book, the second number is the chapter and the third number is the section: 1.1.1.

    T - 2.1.8; 2.3.6-7

    U - 3.21

    L - 3.21.7; 3.22.10

    I - 2.2.6

    P - 3.22.10; 3.24.7


    3. He has Scripture to support his TULIP; unless he misinterpreted them.

    4. That is the crux of the matter.
     
  2. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
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    "For those who doubt whether or not John Calvin was a five-point Calvinist just read the following from his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion."

    Your citations are well chosen. The reference the the atonement in III.XXII.10 is perhaps the most clear example of "limited atonement" in Institutes.

    "Some object that God would be inconsistent with Himself, in inviting all without distinction while He elects only a few...But it is by Isaiah that He more clearly demonstrates how He destines the promises of salvation specially to the elect, for He declares that His disciples would consist of them only..."



    It is clear that Calvin envisions an elect, predestinated from the beginning.

    But again I must object that these citations constitute proof of Calvin's position, which is highly nuanced. It was Beza, and not Calvin, who adduced Romans 9 here (I could be wrong). It was also Beza who envisioned reprobation of not yet created mean - true supralapsarian predestination. I think Calvin saw, as a necessary corollary to the observation that men do die lost after hearing the Gospel, the observation that some men are, in a sense, reprobated - but only in a posteriori observation!

    So just what am I arguing? I think that Calvin was a 5 pointer. But his "points", especially "limited atonement" are nuanced indeed and cannot be "proved" by one-liners. This is bad precedent.








     
  3. TCGreek

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    1. You will have to prove from the Institutes that there are actually nuances?

    2. And what might these nuances be?
     
  4. Charles Meadows

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    While I have said that I don't claim to be an Calvin expert I do find his writing highly nuanced. I will ardently defend Calvin against the abuse thrust on him by those who have never read his work but rather inveigh against him based merely on having read a Dave Hunt book.

    But I would also argue that one quote from Institutes can "show" what Calvin believed about an issue - like the extent of the atonement.

    For example I find Beza's and Calvin's positions on the nature of reprobation quite different, including the scriptures each adduces to support his position. Beza seems to envision a decree to reprobate men before they are even created - and I do not find this in Calvin's thought.

    At this point I probably need to consult my library rather than pontificate any further...

    I'm not nitpicking you TC - although I love to debate - heh heh...

    But I have seen so many Calvin/Arminian debates I could puke. And the worst part is that 95% of the debaters (not implicating you) do not actually have familiarity with Calvin's work. Instead we get quotes from James White or Norman Geisler or someone else like that.

    Overall I find Calvin brilliant but complex, and not easily summed up in a simple quote.

    Any thoughts?
     
  5. TCGreek

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    1. I must agree with you here.

    2. I do agree that Calvin is not supralapsarian; he seems to be more sublapsarian.

    3. I know what you mean. Personally, I think Calvin was a first rate exegete, though I do not agree with all of his conclusions.

    4. As with all older writers, if you will, there are going to be nuances that engender debate.
     
  6. Rippon

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    Back To 3/22/10 ( Book ,Chapter,Section )

    Through Isaiah he still more openly shows how he directs the promises of salvation specifically to the elect: for he proclaims that they alone , not the whole human race without distinction , are to become his disciples ( Isa. 8:16 ) . Hence it is clear that the doctrine of salvation , which is said to be reserved solely and individually for the sons of the church , is falsely debased when presented as effectually profitable to all .
     
  7. TCGreek

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    1. Rippon, from 3.23.1 , would you conclude that Calvin is infralapsarian?

    2. By the way, what are you? Are you infra or sub (not supra)?
     
    #7 TCGreek, Jul 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2007
  8. TCGreek

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    1. 3.23.1: "God is said to set apart those whom he adopts into salvation; it will be highly absurd to say that others acquire by chance or obtain by their own effort what election alone confers on a few. Therefore, those whom passes over, he condemns; and this he does for no other reason than that he wills to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines for his own children"

    2. But then later, commenting on Rom. 9:22, Calvin says, t is utterly inconsistent to transfer the preparation for destruction to anything but God's secret plan."

    3. This last quote, I believe must be understood in light of the first quote. Calvin clearly was not a Hyper-Calvinist.

    4. He would be considered an infralapsarianist.
     
  9. npetreley

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    For what it's worth, I think I'm supra. I don't know what sub means, though.
     
  10. TCGreek

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    1. Hyper-Calvinists are supra.

    2. Most Calvinists are infra.

    3. Sub would be:
    a. Decree to create human beings.
    b. Decree to permit the fall.
    c. Decree to provide salvation sufficient for all but.
    d. Decree to choose some to receive this salvation (unlimited atonement with a limited application).

    4. John MacArthur would be sub.

    5. I am out for the night:sleeping_2:
     
  11. Rippon

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    I'm generally in the supra camp . However , in the words of Philip Schaff : " The difference between the two schools is practically worthless , and only exposes the folly of man's daring to search the secrets of God's eternal counsel ."
     
  12. Charles Meadows

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    I agree with TC that Calvin was an infralapsarian.

    I will politely disagree with Rippon regarding the differences and their significance. I think that there is a significant difference (or a potential significant difference) in the supra and infra positions, especially as this relates to the ordo salutis. But I do like the Schaff quote - it is very reminiscent of Matrin Luther's words on this issue!

    Revealing my own hand, I do not consider myself a "Calvinist", instead preferring the "4 point" Amyraldian stance.
     
  13. Allan

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    I'm sure you know that the Institutes were written to be read in conjunction with Calvins Commentaries and vise versa.

    If you only take one, say the Instatutes, you can say Calvin held to Limited Atonement in present view. But if you take the other by itself, you will see Calvin stating more of a Unlimited Position and not as staunch in his position (seemingly) as he is in his Institutes.

    You can find numerous places in his Commentarries where he specifically states that Christ died for ALL men, the whole of the world, ext... But maintians his position on election.

    I think there is a specific difference between their defining terms of Atonement and ours today. We break it down into two aspects (1) who Christ died for and (2) who is saved by it. I believe they (Historical Saints) did not do so (specifically as a whole) if you read their writing.

    The point is that Calvin, Luther, and many other Reformers held to the view that Jesus died for ALL MEN but the redeeming affects of the Atonement are imputed only upon those to whom it has been applied through faith.

    Thus it SOUNDS (to some) like they contradict themselves when they are studied, when in fact they don't. They speak to His death being made for all mankind, but they speak more specifically and more often concerning those to whom it was to be applied through the foreknowledge of God. These are not contradictory but set forth in scripture.

    When THEY speak of limited Atonement it is in regard to it complete work of being offered up AND it's application. In that sense the Atonement IS limited to only those it is (or can be by the foreknowledge of God) applied to. You can even apply that same definition to the OT Atonement which is command to be given for all of Israel even though all of Israel did not follow, believe in or serve the only Lord God. It was made for all but applied only to those who believe by faith. The atonement was set forth to ALL Israelites because of Gods grace in yielding an Atonement toward them all but it's redeptive power is only applied when it is recieved by faith. The Same with the Atonement of Christ. It is the same Atonement becuase it had to fullfill the Laws requirement of not ONLY being applied to those who recieve it in faith but ALSO being offered up for ALL.

    They held this understanding of the Atonements offering AND application as one view, where today we simply distinguish the offering and the application.


    Anyway, You can not read Calvin's Institutes and get this full view without reading the companion he desired to be read along side it - his Commentaries. Other wise you have a hard time explaining passages like some of this on John 3:16:
    http://www.baptistboard.com/showpost.php?p=1009212&postcount=3
    and others smaller portions that can be looked up like these:
    Or Luther on Galations:
    http://www.baptistboard.com/showpost.php?p=1009084&postcount=276

    All I'm TRYING to say is that how they seemed to define their 'Limited Atonement" somewhat differently and was not as strict or parsed as we do. Many of the Calvinists held to Christ dieing for all, but redeeming only His elect. I can give you list of many but I don't think that is necessary since this is about John Calvin being a five pointer.

    I think he was a five point but with distinction regarding his view of Limited Atonement like many other Calvinists before, during and after him.
     
    #13 Allan, Jul 22, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2007
  14. Rippon

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    A Treatise On The Eternal Predestination Of God ( p.94 )

    To this pretended difficulty of Pighius , therefore , I would briefly reply that Christ was so ordained the Saviour of the whole world , as that He might save those that were given unto Him by the Father out of the whole world , that He might be the eternal life of them whom He is the Head ; that He might receive into a participation of all the blessings in Him all those whom God adopted to Himself by His own unmerited good pleasure to be His heirs . Hence we read everywhere that Christ diffuses life into none but the members of His own body . And he that will not confess that it is a special gift and a special mercy to be engrafted into the body of Christ , has never read with spiritual attention Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians . Hereupon follows also a third important fact , that the virtue and benefits of Christ are extended unto , and belong to , none but the children of God .
     
  15. TCGreek

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    1. Unless I have misinterpreted this quote, I will say that it reveals that Calvin believed in Limited Atonement.

    2. Calvin was a consistent exegete.
     
  16. Humblesmith

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    Suggestion:

    Read Calvin in light of him trying to clarify "the regenerate" and "the elect." I've heard some historical theologians say that those prior to Calvin held that the regenerate were the larger group, and the elect were a smaller group within the larger group of regenerate. Calvin was making the point that the two groups were the same. At least this is what I've read......personally I can't speak authoritatively regarding it.

    But I have seen many passages, as someone pointed out earlier in this thread, where Calvin denies particular atonement. Since he was too careful of a writer to contradict himself, I tend to believe the regenerate vs elect theory is accurate. See Calvin's Commentaries on Col. 1:15; Rom. 5:15; Heb. 5:9; Gal. 5:12; John 1:29; Institutes 3.1.1; 3.24.16, 17; 1.3.2; and Eternal Predestination of God, 9.5. From these, I hold Calvin to be Amyraldian. In the quote above, I take it that Calvin is affirming election and denying universalism, and not speaking to particular atonement.
     
    #16 Humblesmith, Jul 23, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2007
  17. Rippon

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    Institutes 3/24/6

    Christ proclaims aloud that he has taken under his protection all whom the Father wishes to be saved ( cf. John 6;36 ,39; 17:6,12 ) . Therefore , if we desire to know whether God cares for our salvation , let us inquire whether he has entrusted us to Christ , whom he has established as the sole Saviour of all his people .
     
  18. Rippon

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    So , if Christ has been "established as the sole Saviour of all his people" by God the Father -- and those people only have been brought under his protection --- can anyone still say that John Calvin thought that Christ died for the whole world ?
     
  19. Allan

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    You bet we can Rippon.

    And I posted his own words so saying.
    What you posted was his comments regarding the Atonement applied and nothing stating that Christ's death was NOT for ALL mankind. Yet Calvins own words are (here it is in a more detail in which he contrast Mark and Matthew):
    This among many others states his position that Christ's blood of the New Covenant was shed for the remission of sin for ALL OF MANKIND but is applied ONLY to the Elect. It stands squarely in opposition to the position you are trying to force upon his the works he wrote.
     
    #19 Allan, Jul 23, 2007
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  20. Allan

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    He believed "Limited" application of the Atonement but "General Atonement" in regards to how we define it today. Christ died for all but it is limited in application to the Elect.
     

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