Calvinism misstates what non-calvinists believe

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Revmitchell, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Revmitchell

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    Feb 18, 2006
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    There are many strawman arguments that the Calvinist erects and defeats, but by defeating them he has only defeated a figment of his own imagination.

    Calvinists claim, for example, that the non-Calvinist doesn’t believe in God’s sovereignty. I can’t speak for others, but this non-Calvinist certainly believes in God’s sovereignty. God is God and He can do whatsoever He pleases whensoever He pleases. As one man said, “Whatever the Bible says, I believe; the Bible says the whale swallowed Jonah, and I believe it; and if the Bible said that Jonah swallowed the whale, I would believe that.” If the Bible taught that God sovereignly selects some sinners to go to Heaven and sovereignly elects the rest to go to Hell or that He chooses only some to be saved and allows the rest to be destroyed, I would believe it, because I believe God is God and man cannot tell God what is right or wrong. But the Bible reveals, rather, that the sovereign God made man with a will and that the sinner can still exercise that will in receiving or rejecting Christ. This does not detract from God’s sovereignty one iota.

    They claim, further, that the non-Calvinist believes man is saved by his own will. I can’t speak for others, but this non-Calvinist does not believe that. No sinner can believe unless God enables him to do so. The Bible plainly states that Jesus enlightens (Jn. 1:9) and draws (Jn. 12:37) every man. Man is not saved by his will; he is saved by the grace of God in Christ and because of the blood of Christ. Jn. 1:12-13 leaves no doubt about this. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Verse 12 says as many as receive Jesus and believe on His name are born again, but verse 13 says this salvation by faith is not “the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Thus, believing on Christ is not some sort of “will salvation.”

    They claim that the non-Calvinist doesn’t believe that salvation is 100% of God, that by saying that the sinner can believe on Christ is to say that “he contributes to his salvation” and “thus, the work of salvation is not totally God’s” (Jeffrey Khoo, Arminianism Examined, Far Eastern Bible College, Singapore, p. 2). Arthur Pink says that if the sinner could yield to or resist Christ, “then the Christian would have ground for boasting and self-glorying over his co-operation with the Spirit...” (p. 128). Again, while I can’t speak for others, this non-Calvinist most definitely believes that salvation is 100% of God. It is God who enlightens (Jn. 1:9), convicts (Jn. 16:7-8), draws (Jn. 12:32), and saves. Man does nothing but receive a Gift and that is not a work and is not something to boast of! As with salvation, so with Christian living, it is all of God and man has nothing to boast of. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13); and, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Salvation is all of Christ, from beginning to end. This idea that receiving a gift leaves the recipient in a position to boast is ridiculous. The recipient of a Priceless Gift does not boast of himself but of the Giver. The man who is rescued from the sea and escapes certain death does not brag about what he did for himself but about what the rescuer did, even though the drowning man perhaps took hold of a life preserver that was thrown to him or relaxed in the arms of the lifeguard.

    They say that the teaching that man can believe on or reject Christ means that one believes that the sinner is not truly depraved and that man is a “free moral agent.” Arthur Pink says this in his chapter on “God’s Sovereignty and the Human Will.” He presents many strawmen in this section. He says, “Does it lie within the province of man’s will to accept or reject the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour? ... The answer to this question defines our conception of human depravity. ... Man is a rational being and as such responsible and accountable to God, but to affirm that he is a free moral agent is to deny that he is totally depraved...” (p. 138). I certainly don’t believe that the sinner is a “free moral agent,” and I believe that man is totally without righteousness before God, dead in trespasses and sins, etc. I simply agree with what the Bible says about man believing the gospel. The Bible says that “whosoever believeth in him shall not perish” (Jn. 3:16). That teaches me that a sinner can believe on Christ, but to go beyond this simple concept and to claim that such a position is to deny human depravity or is to make him into a “free moral agent” is nonsense. Romans 3:10-18 and Eph. 2:1-4 are key New Testament passages on the depravity of the sinner, but neither passage mentions man’s will or whether he can or cannot believe on Christ for salvation. The same is true for every passage in the Bible that deals with man’s depravity in Adam, such as Gen. 6:4; Psa. 51:5; 58:3; Prov. 22:15; Ecc. 9:3; Isa. 64:6; Jer. 17:9; and Mat. 15:9. Again, the Calvinist reads his own theology into these passages.

    Pink and other Calvinists even liken the non-Calvinist’s position on so-called “free will” to that of the Roman Catholic Church. Pink quotes from the Council of Trent, which said, “If any one shall affirm, that man’s free-will, moved and excited by God, does not, by consenting, co-operate with God, the mover and exciter, so as to prepare and dispose itself for the attainment of justification; if moreover anyone shall say, that the human will cannot refuse complying, if it pleases; but that it is unactive, and merely passive; let such an one be accursed.” Pink then concludes: “Thus, those who today insist on the free-will of the natural man believe precisely what Rome teaches on the subject! ... the Roman Catholics and Arminians walk hand in hand...” (The Sovereignty of God, p. 139). This is libelous in the extreme. The Roman Catholic Church believes that man is not utterly unrighteous in his fallen state and that he can actually cooperate with God in his justification, that salvation is by faith plus works and sacraments rather than by faith alone. The non-Calvinist does not believe anything like this. He simply believes the Scripture when it says that “whosoever believeth in him shall not perish” (Jn. 3:16) and he doesn’t try to bend such Scriptures to conform to the TULIP mold.

    These are only a few examples of how the Calvinist tends to misstate and misrepresent what the non-Calvinist believes.

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