Emotional or Exegetical?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Luke2427, Aug 31, 2012.

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  1. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    On this board there is a diversity of theologies. Some are Arminian, some are Calvinists, some are Molinists and many have no systematized theology but think of themselves as simply believing the Bible.

    But we all have some things in common.

    #1 We all believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God.

    #2 We all interpret the Bible with very fallible minds and hearts.

    So the most important thing we can do in this life is develop a very solid set of hermeneutics- rules whereby we fallible beings can dive into the infallible Word of God and mine its treasures.

    If we don't we will carry in with us a great deal of fool's gold which dumps out everywhere and when we go to pick up what we perceive to be the gold of Scripture, it turns out to be fool's gold that fell out of our pockets upon entrance. Thus we are no more enriched than we were before we dove in.

    One of those rules which keep us from doing so is- Dump the pockets of your heart and mind of all the preconceived ideas and strongly held emotional convictions BEFORE going into the Word of God.


    You will absolutely, in my opinion, HAVE to do this if you are to ever become a Calvinist.

    Calvinism is, at first, a VERY hard pill to swallow.

    Here's why- it is purely exegetical and SEVERELY grates against the preconceived notions and emotional convictions of human beings.


    I think that many "non-calvinists" think the reason some of us are Calvinists is because we are cold hearted humans.

    They think we don't have the emotional problems of warm hearted humans who do not like to see God as one who is not doing all he can to save every human being in history.

    But we do.

    They think our human sense of justice is terribly marred and we don't have a hard time seeing God as one who creates many who he knows he will destroy.

    But we do.

    I grimace at those thoughts from time to time even now having been a Calvinists for several years.

    BUT...

    I came to the point where I was willing to lay aside those emotions because I recognized that they were as marred and unholy as the rest of me is and I came to the Scripture with empty pockets and said- "OK- what are you REALLY saying about these things? No matter how hard it is for my depraved sense of justice, no matter how badly it grates me emotionally- I want to know what you are REALLY saying."


    I think that's how most Calvinists became Calvinists.

    And I think, having been an Arminian for better than a dozen years, that the thing that keeps non-cals from seeing these truths is that they come to the Scriptures loaded with depraved human emotions and a thoroughly human and man-centered sense of justice.

    Now, that does not mean that they don't mine all kinds of glorious treasures from the Word of God. They do. It does not mean that they are not very intelligent- many are. It does not mean that they aren't fine Christians- MANY of them are.

    I love and respect many of my brethren who are not Calvinists.

    It means that, FROM THESE PARTICULAR DIFFICULT TRUTHS, their minds are veiled by human emotions.

    Their doctrines along these lines then, I think, are emotional not exegetical.
     
  2. Mexdeaf

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    Good, reasoned, thought-provoking post. It mirrors my journey.

    Thanks for sharing it!
     
  3. Luke2427

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    Thanks.

    I just got done debating a man who I think is probably smarter than me.

    I think he is also probably a very fine Christian man who loves God, is faithful to his church and believes in and loves the Bible with all of his heart.

    But his argumentation fell along these lines:

    JUSTIFY GOD.

    His well formed arguments centered around the question not "What does the Scripture SAY" but rather "Why would God do this?"

    This is the crux of it: the issue to my beloved non-cal brethren is usually "WHY" rather than "WHAT".

    It's about why the Bible would say God would do such a thing rather than WHAT does the Bible actually SAY God does.

    God has given us his word in such a way that we CAN discover with the help of the Holy Spirit WHAT it says.

    God has NOT, however, given it to us in such a way that we can always discover the WHY behind the WHAT.


    That so many of my Arminian brethren focus on the "why" of Scripture rather than the "what" of Scripture goes to prove the proposition of the op, in my opinion.
     
  4. Winman

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    Translation- Calvinism does not seem right. It offends my conscience and sense of justice. It seems horrible to me that God would create people for the sole purpose of tormenting them in the lake of fire forever for his glory. It seems cruel and downright mean.

    Even though Calvinsim goes against what I have always been taught is just, and what my heart and conscience tells me is just, I am going to believe it anyway, because a bunch of smart guys centuries ago said this is what the scriptures say. I often see scriptures that seem to completely contradict Calvinism, but these scholars say I do not understand scripture, I am not educated enough to understand what scripture really says.

    I am afraid to think for myself and believe what scripture says, so I will believe these "scholars'. Who am I to question them? These theologians are famous, they have written many books, they have determined the theology of the church for centuries. I am afraid to go against what these men and the church have taught, although it does not seem right to me.
     
    #4 Winman, Aug 31, 2012
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  5. Luke2427

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    What you say here proves my hypothesis, I think.

    It seems to me that you are admitting that you reject Calvinism for all the reasons I intimate in the OP.

    You see the Scripture says that the most deceitful thing in the WORLD is your heart. Yet that is what you admit here to using to interpret these teachings of Scripture. Your heart and conscience are immeasurably wicked just like they are in the rest of us.

    Paul cried out, "I know that in me, that is in my flesh dwells NO good thing!"

    Jeremiah declared "The heart is desperately wicked, DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS..."

    You admit to being led in your study of these things by the most deceitful thing in all the world.
     
    #5 Luke2427, Aug 31, 2012
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  6. psalms109:31

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    When we see how wicked this world has gotten maybe you lost a love one by them and you are using that emotion to understand the scripture. We are to count it pure joy when we face even challenges like even that. It so easy to have the heart of Satan who is the murderer from the beginning and a liar , But very difficult to have the heart of God.

    Matthew 9:36
    When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

    Mark 6:34
    When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
     
    #6 psalms109:31, Aug 31, 2012
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  7. Winman

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    Of course I do, and so did you until you allowed your mind and conscience [attack snipped].

    God told us to REASON with him.

    Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

    This verse implies that all men have the power to reason, and that they can trust this reasoning to a degree.

    And why do you trust theologians? Are their hearts better than yours? How do you know they were not interpreting scripture through a corrupt and carnal mind?

    See, you let these "scholars" tell you you are so wicked you cannot even trust your own thoughts, but you can trust THEM and their interpretations, even though they easily seem to offend your conscience and your sense of true justice.

    Yes, but he said that in his mind he serves the law of God.

    Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

    Let's say a married man is having a difficult time in his marriage. His wife often seems cruel to him. He meets a nice young lady who is very kind to him. His heart is drawn and attracted toward her, in his flesh he desires to be with this nice girl. But in his mind he knows it is a sin against God, his wife, his children, his church, family, etc... The man turns away. Man is more than just flesh.

    But you have allowed others to convince you that you cannot trust your own thoughts, but they want you to trust their thoughts. They assure you, they are not corrupt like you are, you should believe them. And you do.



    Yes, our heart and flesh desires what is sinful, but our mind can reason and reject these sinful desires. We have the ability to listen to God's word and meditate and reason upon it. We also have the ability to obey it, even when it goes against what our flesh desires.

    Before you trusted Christ, did you steal at every single opportunity you had? Did you kill? Did you lie every single time your mouth opened? No, because your mind knew these things were wrong. Even before you were saved you did not obey every temptation of the flesh.

    I can read. I have read God's word for many years and it does not teach Calvinism. I have posted literally HUNDREDS of scriptures here at BB that absolutely contradict Calvinism. You know that.

    The scriptures tell me that God is just. God does not impute the sin of the father to his children or vice versa, God holds every man accountable for his own personal sin (Eze 18:20). This does not offend my conscience, because it seems truly just.

    You on the other hand believe a theologian who lived 1500 years ago and taught many heresies. Many of his teachings seem unjust to you, but you are afraid to think for yourself.
     
    #7 Winman, Aug 31, 2012
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  8. Luke2427

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    Excellent. We have an accord.

    I admit that I had to abandon my depraved sense of justice and my corrupt emotions in order to correctly interpret Scripture and you admit that you have clung to those things with all of your heart.

    Yes, and part of that reasoning is recognizing that your sins are as scarlet and red like crimson.

    In other words you are totally incapable of reasoning until you realize that you are wicked to the core.


    I have read the Institutes SINCE I became a Calvinists- not before.

    I have read Luther's Bondage of the Will SINCE I became a Calvinists- not before.

    Theologians did not persuade me, Winman- Scripture did.

    It would persuade you too if you would stop going to it with all of your depraved baggage.
     
  9. humblethinker

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    No, Calvinism is not purely exegetical. Determinism is believed in spite of scripture and is used a priori to interpret scripture. If you think such terrible things about God I'm not surprised by whatever you think about people.
     
  10. Winman

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    What was your depraved sense of justice? That a person should not be held accountable for sins that another person committed before you were born? A sin that you had no part in whatsoever, that you did not consent to in any way?

    I would say at one time you had a good understanding of justice, but now do not.

    Where did this come from? Did I claim not to be a sinner?

    If a man could not reason, he could not realize he is a sinner. You must understand what is right and wrong to understand if you are a sinner or not.

    You have been a good little Calvinist.

    Impossible, because the scriptures do not teach Calvinism, men do.

    Unfortunately for you, when I received Christ as a young boy I simply read the scriptures and asked God to show me what they meant. I already knew that God loves all men and desires all men to be saved before any Calvinist could influence me. I knew that Jesus died for all men and not just some. So, the first time I heard the doctrines of Calvinism I knew they were false.
     
  11. The Archangel

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    Hold the phone...

    Calvinism does not equal "Determinism." True Reformed theology upholds the absolute sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. It is mysterious, yes, but it is not "Determinism."

    You'd be going crazy right now if a Calvinist referred to you as an Open Theist because of what you believe (and his or her misunderstanding thereof). Be biblical and refer to us properly as you would have us refer to you properly--yes, I think I read that in the Bible somewhere.

    Blessings,

    The Archangel
     
  12. Winman

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    Yes, Luke has already admitted in his OP that Calvinism does not square with his sense of justice. His own doctrine seems unjust to him but he believes it anyway.

    And yes, if you believe God is cruel and unjust (though he will claim he does not believe this), your attitude towards others is going to be the same. Thus, Calvinists throughout their history have been labeled as cruel and cold-hearted (as Calvin himself). They are a reflection of their view.
     
  13. OldRegular

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    Luke,

    Your journey from Arminianism to the Doctrines of Grace was much like mine as I have discussed on this forum on several occasions over the years!.
     
  14. OldRegular

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    Winman that is a cruel, cold hearted, most unjust, and judgmental indictment of your brothers in Jesus Christ.

    The Doctrines of Grace, or Calvinism as you like to call them, magnify the Grace of God. Those Saints who believe these Doctrines are truly humbled to understand that, whatever His purpose, God chose us and saved us. And we will give Him all praise and Glory!
     
  15. OldRegular

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    I thought he was!

     
  16. Winman

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    Then you need to go back and read the OP, Luke admitted that he had to give up his "depraved sense of justice" to accept Calvinism. He said it was a "hard pill to swallow". His sense of justice and even human compassion revolted against this doctrine.

    He is the one who started this thread, he made these statements. I am not misrepresenting him, or even being judgmental at all, he judged his own self.

    Here is just part of what he said;

    Luke had earlier said that most people think of Calvinists as cold hearted. I simply agree with him, most people DO think Calvinists are cold hearted. Luke said he had to lay aside his emotions, that is COLD HEARTED. He said he had to give up his depraved sense of justice.

    I actually applaud Luke for his honesty. I would only reply that if you have to give up your emotions and your sense of justice to believe Calvinism, then you should seriously reconsider this view.
     
    #16 Winman, Aug 31, 2012
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  17. OldRegular

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    You are misrepresenting all those who believe the Scriptural teaching of the Doctrine of Grace!

    I can't speak for most people but you and others on this Forum do and it is disgraceful and unChristian way to feel toward a brother or sister in Jesus Christ.

    I did neither. I simply came to an understanding of myself, human nature, and Scripture. We are told to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Then as we grow in Grace and Knowledge we can understand and accept the Doctrines of Grace and then humbly declare: To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

    Nothing you posted above changes the truth that your cruel, cold hearted, most unjust, and judgmental indictment of your brothers in Jesus Christ is unbecoming a Christian.
     
    #17 OldRegular, Aug 31, 2012
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  18. Mexdeaf

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    The more I learned about the holiness of God and how I am 100% the opposite of that the more "sense" the Doctrines of Grace made to me. And the more I weep for those who cannot see it, whether they be brethren or not.
     
  19. TCGreek

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    As a footnote, I find it interesting that everyone quotes Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a staunch defender of Calvinism. Just a passing thought.
     
  20. humblethinker

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    Why do or would you weep?
     
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