Calvinism, minus the argument on predestination

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Major B, Aug 22, 2004.

  1. Major B

    Major B
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    I ask all of you, as a preface, to keep the arguments over election and predestination out of this thread.

    The idea here is this: having read a lot of the Genevan reformer's writings, I believe that most evangelical protestants and free church people are at least 75-80% calvinistic, in the sense of walking in the steps of this pioneer in other areas of doctrine and practice(inspiration, the Holy Spirit, justification, church government, expository preaching, exegesis, the atonement [not its extent]). He was the first modern exegete, and was the first scholar to seriously resurrect the historical-grammatical method of the Antiochan School. For those who don't like his systematics, you should try reading his commentaries and his sermons. You will find refreshing material there. For instance, Calvin is quite adamant that God loves all people (his comments on Jn 3:16 are about two full pages long).

    I invite all to research and find items where there is commonality. And please, keep election, etc. out of this.
     
  2. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    From my point of view, Calvin’s understanding of the atonement of Christ was very inadequate even in reference to those who he saw as being God’s elect.
     
  3. Major B

    Major B
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    Passages, examples?
     
  4. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    Romans 7:14. For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. (NASB, 1995)

    Calvin commented, “Sold unto sin. By this expression Paul shows the strength which sin has in itself. By nature man is not less a slave to sin, than the bondmen whom their masters buy and ill-treat as will, as if they were oxen or asses. We are so completely driven by the power of sin, that our whole mind, our whole heart, and all our actions are inclined to sin. Compulsion I always exclude, for we sin of our own free will. It would not be sin if it were not voluntary. We are, however, so addicted to sin, that awe can do nothing of our own accord but sin. The wickedness which holds sway within us drives us to it. This comparison does not therefore mean, as is said, a forced restraint, but a voluntary obedience, to which an in born bondage inclines us.”

    Romans 8:3. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
    4. so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (NASB, 1995)

    Calvin commented, “That the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled.The interpreters who understand that those who have been renewed by the Spirit of Christ fulfil the law, introduce a misrepresentation which is completely foreign to Paul’s meaning.”

    Calvin believed that the atonement of Christ was inadequate to redeem men from sin. In his view, the atonement of Christ was sufficient only to redeem men from the penalty of sin.
     
  5. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    Craigbythesea - Could you clarify a little? I don't think that I understand what you are saying that Calvin believed. And I could not find the reference in an online clavins commentaries ... I know that I am lazy ... o)
    Wayne
     
  6. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    Hi Wayne,

    Welcome to the BB.

    Calvin believed that participation in the very acts of sin is an inescapable reality for all Christians. Christians are given spiritual discernment to see their personal wickedness that they might trust in Christ to redeem them from their sin through their death rather than through the blood atonement of Christ. In the mean time, through Christ we are forgiven of the sins of our sinful lifestyle, but we remain in bondage to it.

    Regarding this view, Adam Clarke wrote,

    “It is difficult to conceive how the opinion could have crept into the Church, or prevailed there, that ‘the apostle speaks here of his regenerate state; and that what was, in such a state, true of himself, must be true of all others in the same state.’ This opinion has, most pitifully and most shamefully, not only lowered the standard of Christianity, but destroyed its influence and disgraced its character. It requires but little knowledge of the spirit of the Gospel, and of the scope of this epistle, to see that the apostle is, here, either personating a Jew under the law and without the Gospel, or showing what his own state was when he was deeply convinced that by the deeds of the law no man could be justified, and had not as yet heard those blessed words: Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way, hath sent me that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, Act_9:17.”
     
  7. Daniel Dunivan

    Daniel Dunivan
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    Though I think you are giving Calvin a little too much credit for being "the first modern exegete" (he was simply a renaissance humanist approaching the scriptures through the constructs of a resourcement mileu) and "the first scholar to seriously resurrect the historical-grammatical method of the Antiochan School" (whether there actually is a discernable difference between the Antiochan and Alexandrian schools is highly debated among patristic scholars today, and to label Calvin in this way is simply anachronistic), I do agree that Calvin's theology is not entirely bad (though I would reject many of the directions that the Reformed tradition took after his death). Particularly I think that Calvin's understanding of the world as a theater of God's glory is a highly underrated area of his theology. Appropriating his concepts of beauty and the glory of God can be very helpful in theologizing about spirituality and the immanence of God while respecting God's otherness.

    Grace and Peace, Danny [​IMG]
     
  8. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    Craigbythesea,

    You said that Calvin believed "redeem them from their sin through their death rather than through the blood atonement of Christ."

    Really ... Can you tell me where he says this?

    Thanks

    Wayne
     
  9. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    Wayne,

    The concept that the “regenerate” man is in bondage to sin until he is set free through his own death is one of the central components of Calvin soteriology. A good example of where in his writings one can find this concept being expressed over and over again is in his comments on Rom. 7:14-25 in his commentary on Romans.
     
  10. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    Craigbythesea,

    I still don't see it ... "Calvin believed .... that they might trust in Christ to redeem them from their sin through their death rather than through the blood atonement of Christ."
    I do not see that Calvin believed that we are redeemed through our death rather than the blood (& death) of Our Savior.
    I guess that he might have, but I just cannot find the connection as I read that part of his commentary.
    Maybe I need to read more.
    Thanks
    Wayne
     
  11. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    El Guero,

    Notice that I said that Calvin believed that we are redeemed from sin through our death. He believed that we were only redeemed from the consequences of sin by the blood atonement of Christ. Calvin believed that all Christians are sinners and that they will remain so until their death. His life was an excellent example of his theology.
     
  12. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    Major B,

    Calvin only followed the lead of Zwingli and Luther.

    You claim that 75% - 80% of evangelical Christians follow Calvinian theology?

    You gotta support that ...

    Wayne
     

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