Calvinists Before Calvin

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Rippon, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    Gordon H. Clark wrote a wonderful book ( again , my copy is in the States ) called : Religion , Reason and Revelation . Chapter 5 of that was put out in booklet form ( which I do have here ) . It is called : God and Evil : The Problem Solved . Within this booklet he quotes from Augustus M. Toplady's volume : The Historic Proof of the Doctrinal Calvinism of the Church of England . Toplady cites the words of some strong Calvinists ( Augustinians ,if you prefer ) .

    The epistle of Barnabas [ which may or may not be legit -- but not canonical ] : 'I am on the point of offering my flesh for my new people .'
    Clark goes on to say : A certain Menardus , commenting on this passage , complains that Barnabas was here mistaken because Christ did not die for a new people but for the whole world . The comment only emphasizes what Barnabas actually meant . A further negative note on free will is found in the words , ' We speak as the Lord willeth us to speak . for this cause he circumcized our hearing and our hearts that we should comprehend these things . '
    Clement of Rome makes some very definite statements . ' Since it was his will that all his beloved should be partakers of grace , he established them by his almighty power .' ( 1 Corinthians 8:5 ) . Is this not this limited atonement and irrestible grace ? Then again ; ' By the word of his majesty hath he established all things ... Who shall say to im , What hast thou done ? or who shall resist his strength ? When he wills , and as he wills , he shall do all things , and nothing that he decrees shall pass away . All things are in his sight and nothing has escaped his will .' ( 1 Corinthians 27:4ff. ) .
    Ignatius begins his epistle to the Ephesians , ' Ignatius ... predestined from eternity for abiding and unchangeable glory , united and chosen ... by the will of the Father .' He introduces his epistle to the Romans with the words , ' Enlightened by the will of him who has willed all things . ' And in opposition to free will he says , ' Christianity is not the work of persuasion , but of power .' ( Romans 3:3 ) .
     
  2. Rippon

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    Continuing with Clark's book...

    ... Less well known is a contemporary of Gottshalk , Remigus , archbishop of Lyons . He wrote ,

    Nor is it possible for any one elect person to perish , or that any of the reprobate should be saved , because of their hardness and impenitency of heart ... Almighty God did , from the beginning , prior to the formation of the world , and before he had made anything , predestinate ... some certain persons to glory , of his own gratuitous favor ... Other certain persons he hath predestinated to perdition ... and of these none can be saved .

    The Waldensians were a group whose origin Toplady puts early in the Middle Ages . He quotes from their Confession of 1508 : ' It is manifest that such only as are elected to glory become partakers of true faith .'
    A hundred years before the Reformation , John Huss said , ' Predestination doth make a man a member of the universal Church . ... God willeth that the predestinate shall have perpetual blessedness and the reprobate to have eternal fire . The predestinate cannot fall from grace . ' Obviously there is no free will here .
    If Huss was burnt for the gospel , John of Wessalia was tortured because he held that ' God hath from everlasting written a book wherein he hath inscribed all his elect ; and whosoever is not already written there will never be written there at all . Moreover he that is written therein will never be blotted out . '
     
  3. Rippon

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    G.H.C continues with Toplady's quotes

    After these continental Calvinists , Toplady turns to pre-Reformation Englishmen .Venerable Bede said , ' When Pelagius asserts that we are at liberty to do one thing always [ i.e. to do good ] , seeing that we are always able to do both one and the other [i.e. free will ], he herein contradicts the prophet , who humbly addressing himself to God , saith , ' I know , O Lord , that a man's way is not his own , it is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps .'
    Thomas Bradwardine , the teacher of John Wycliffe , wrote ,

    What multitudes , O lord , at this day , join hands with Pelagius in contending for free will and in fighting against thy absolutely free grace ... Some more haughty than Lucifer ... dread not to affirm that even in a common action their own will walks first , as an independent mistress , and that thy will follows after , like an obsequious handmaid . [ Again:] the will of God is universally efficacious and invincible , and necessitates as a cause . It cannot be impeded , much less can it be defeated and made void by any means whatever .

    His pulpil , John Wycliffe ( A.D. 1320?-1384 ), similarly declared ' In what way soever God may declare his will by his after-discoveries of it in time , still his determination concerning the event will surely follow . The necessity therefore of the antecedent holds no less irrefagbly for the necessity of the consequent . '
    Dr. Peter Heylin , an Arminian historian , admits that William Tyndale ' has a flying-out against free will ' and taught that from predestination ' it springeth altogether whether we shall believe or not believe , be loosed from sin or not be loosed ; by which predestination our justifying and salvation are clear taken out of our hands and put into the hands of God only . ' The Arminian with his free will does not want his salvation put into the hands of God only .
     
  4. Jarthur001

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    Good stuff brother Rippon,


    It seems as if you are saying that history shows us that the doctrines were always around in a lose form, and that it was the Synod of Dort that pulled them all together into a single outline/blueprint form.



    In Christ...James
     
  5. J.D.

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    Yes, but the problem is that the Canons of Dort were an answer to the points of remonstrance, so they were necessarily worded in the negative. In the positive, the 5 points are simply the Biblical Gospel. Packer puts if very well in his intro to Death of Death. Have you read it?

    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/packer_intro.html
     
  6. Jarthur001

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    I have read The Death of death, but I have not read Packers intro. Thanks for the link,
     
  7. Brandon C. Jones

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    I second a thanks. I had also never read Packer's intro. and always enjoy his contributions. I think I will post this link on another thread since he is smarter and more eloquent than I am.

    BJ
     
  8. RandR

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    Silly me...I thought this thread was going to be about Jesus, Paul, and Peter.
     
  9. npetreley

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    I was going to say I thought this thread was about God. ;)
     
  10. Rippon

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    Owen's book is a solid classic . And Packer's intro could be a stand-alone work itself . Although it should get the prospective reader interested in the fine work by the good Doctor . It primes the pump well .

    Regarding the Synod of Dort --the document was not brief . There is the 1st main point with 18 articles to flesh it out . Then , 9 articles in Rejection of Errors . Next the 2nd main point with 9 articles on the positive side . There were 9 more articles in the Rejection of Errors . Articles 3 and 4 were combined together with 17 points of explanation . Then 9 more points in Rejection of Errors . The 5th article has 15 points and the standard 9 Rejection of Errors . Finally , the Conclusion of the matter rounded things out . So there were both positive and negative presentations in that famous statement.

    I have Voice Of Our Fathers by Homer Hoeksema which details the specifics very well . Homer was the son of the more famous Herman Hoeksema -- preacher and theologian extraordinaire .
     
  11. Rippon

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    Bumpidy , bumpidy , bump !
     
  12. ReformedBaptist

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    That is an excellent quote! :thumbs:
     
  13. TCGreek

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    1. Thanks for the excerpts, Rippon. It just goes to show that the doctrines of grace are in the Holy Writ. This is what the annals of human history have shown. One cannot come to Scripture without the doctrines of grace being impressed on your mind.

    2. Calvin must be commended for his effort at systematizing, but the truth must be told that the doctrines of grace were there all along for the discovery, for they are at the heart of Scripture.
     
  14. donnA

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    Very good postings, thanks
     

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