If Calvinism is true...

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Helen, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    My husband and I have been talking about some of the threads on Calvinism here, and what has been put forward by those defending Calvinist theology. In one thread it was mentioned that even the very hairs of our head are numbered, thus God has predestined even that. I asked if I pulled out a hair if that would then be because I was predestined to do it, and the answer was yes.

    Which led me to the conclusion that there is nothing any of us can do or say or think which is not predestined. To me that makes us automatons, but that is not the point of this post.

    My point is that, if Calvinism is true, and everything we do and say and think and are is predestined and ordered by God, then we run into some problems:

    1. There is no such thing as disobedience -- it is impossible. If God predestines everything then there is no possibility of disobedience, which means obedience has no meaning.

    2. Laws, be they human or divine, are futile. Each man does what God plans and directs him to do, and thus to make a law against what God has directed is nonsense. But, then, I suppose God caused the laws to be made, too....and then caused the people to act against them....

    3. There is no such thing as accountability. If we can only do and say and think and be what we are predestined to do and say and think and be, then we are most certainly not responsible for what we have no control over, and therefore cannot be held accountable for what God has caused is to do, say, think, be.

    4. Prayer is nonsensical. Why ask for God to do His will or to ask for guidance on an issue, or healing or anything if God simply does what He does without regard to man? How silly to pray "Thy will be done" when there is NO possibility of anything else to be done? And what on earth (or anywhere else) did Jesus mean when He prayed "Not my will, but Thine, be done."?

    5. Why strive, as Paul told us to do, to run the race? We can only do what we are predestined to do and if we strive that is because God caused it and if we do not strive that is because God did not cause it, or caused it not to happen.

    6. Faith has no meaning. One does not need to have faith, for one is saved or not saved regardless.

    That's just a start. Calvinism actually negates the entire Bible in one way or another. The if/then clauses become nonsense. God's invitation to reason with him in Isaiah 1 becomes nonsense. All calls to repentance become nonsense. If God has already ordained all that is going to happen, even to if I pull a hair out of my head, then we might as well eat, drink, and be merry, for nothing is going to change what happens to each of us no matter what!

    Of course, you can't blame those who choose to eat, drink, and be merry, can you? God predestined them to do just that and they are operating according to the Manufacturer's instructions.
     
  2. Scott J

    Scott J
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,462
    Likes Received:
    0
    You know I love you sister but this isn't a fair premise.


    "Calvinism" is much broader than this... The idea you address above is more properly called hyper-calvinism.

    I consider myself a calvinist... and I also believe that man has free will... and also that calvinism is the only explanation I have seen that comes close to allowing both God's sovereignty/divine will to co-exist with man's free will and responsibility... though even then not always equally well.
     
  3. standingfirminChrist

    standingfirminChrist
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Messages:
    9,454
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  4. Brother James

    Brother James
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    0
    Your argument is a common one that acuses the calvinist of fatalism, which may be true of a hyper calvinist but not true of the 1689 type represented best by Mr. Spurgeon. If you will take the time to read this sermon you will find that much charity is given to the brethren of the arminian slant like yourself.
    God bless you Helen
    http://www.spurgeon.org/calvinis.htm
     
  5. npetreley

    npetreley
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    Helen, it is no coincidence that your post is entirely devoid of scriptural support, save one quote that has nothing whatsoever to do with Calvinism. You are railing against the very words of God because you don't like your own opinion of what they imply. Your opinion is the problem, not scripture.

    If you conclude from scripture that because the hairs on our head are numbered, and because not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from God's will that this means we are robots and all is futility, then you have a simple choice:

    1. Continue to ignore the plain meaning of scripture and stick with your opinions
    2. Abandon your opinions, reconsider what scripture is saying and find the truth and comfort in it

    The Bible describes a totally sovereign God who works ALL THINGS according to the counsel of His own will. You can try to understand how that is true yet we are not robots. Or you can go on a crusade to ban the Bible because it describes a God you don't like, if that's what pleases you.

    But that's what it says.
     
  6. Ransom

    Ransom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    Calvinism teaches that man's moral responsibility and God's sovereignty are equally true. Calvinists are compatibilists; they affirm that God is sovereign, and that he sovereignly works out his will on earth through the free choices of human beings.

    Both sovereignty and responsibility are clearly and unequivocally taught in Scripture. Hence, to be a consistent believer in the inerrancy of Scripture, we cannot emphasize one at the expense of the other. Down that path lies Arminianism and Open Theism on the left hand, and hyper-Calvinism on the right.

    Nor can we conclude that they are in tension, since truth cannot contradict truth. (As Spurgeon once said, there is no need to reconcile them, because friends do not need to be reconciled.) The relationship between them is a paradox, not a contradiction, and it becomes a believing Christian to accept both as equally true.

    Helen is doing one of two things.

    </font>
    • She is confusing Calvinism with hyper-Calvinism, which emphasizes God's sovereignty to the detriment of man's responsibility. Hyper-Calvinism is unbalanced and unbiblical. If Helen wishes to refute hyper-Calvinists, I suggest she go find some, for there are none here.</font>
    • She is attempting to pit the clear teaching of Scripture on human responsibility against the equally clear teaching of Scripture against God's absolute sovereignty. In this case, she is arguing from a position of skepticism and unbelief in the trustworthiness of the Bible; her remedy is to repent and seek God's forgiveness.</font>
     
  7. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Messages:
    892
    Likes Received:
    0
    Helen, I appreciate your candor and your passion. Rather than answer all your objections now (I might do it later), let me just handle this first point.

    You have a fatal flaw in your very example. The fatal flaw is that it was not one of us that mentioned that God numbered the hairs on our head, it is the Bible.

    Matthew 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

    The context of Matthew 10 is Jesus warning His followers not to fear those who didn't really have any power, but to fear God. Jesus' reason for telling them that is that God is in control of absolutely everything. He illustrates it by the fact that not one sparrow falls to the ground apart from the Father's will (see vs 29).

    Then he brings it to us and says that same Father even determines the number of the hairs on our head. Jesus' point was not that God counts all the hair on our head, but that God determines the number of hairs on our head in the same way as He determines when a sparrow will fall. This is the Calvinist definition of God's sovereignty. It is also God's.

    Your question puts that view into the mouth of Calvinists. It is only in the mouth of Calvinists because it came from the mouth of Jesus.
     
  8. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    'hyper' or not, I was responding, as I plainly said, to the idea that if I plucked a hair out of my head then I was predestined by God to do so.

    npetreley, I did not quote specific passages because I was referring to the ENTIRE Bible. I referred to Isaiah 1, I referred to Jesus prayer in the Garden as well as to the Lord's Prayer. I referred to Paul telling us to run the race. If you don't know where these passages are, I will be happy to reference you more specifically.

    If I were to locate and quote every if/then statement by God to people in the Bible, this post would be too long to read.

    Let's start off with just my first point. How can a person disobey God if everything he does and says is predestined by God?
     
  9. Brother James

    Brother James
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    0
  10. Ransom

    Ransom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    Helen said:

    Let's start off with just my first point.

    Better yet, let's start with your zeroth point, your unstated presupposition, which is:

    If God is sovereign over even the smallest details such as the number of hairs on our heads, then we are not morally responsible for our actions.

    Since Scripture is equally clear that God is sovereign and man is morally responsible, the onus is on you to tell us why we should buy into your assumption. Prove its validity before you start basing arguments off it.
     
  11. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ransom, do you mean by the sovereignty of God that all our actions are predestined?
     
  12. Ransom

    Ransom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ours, snails', meteors', amoebas', Martians', dust's, everything's actions. Now address my point.
     
  13. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    If all actions are predestined by God, then how can one disobey God?
     
  14. SuperBaptist

    SuperBaptist
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    0
    I couldn't possibly believe in a God who would predestine people to hell or Heaven. So, I don't believe it more a minute. Freewill! Responsibility for my will and faith. Simple enough. Predestination and Omniscience are quite different. One is pulling the strings then holding us acountable for HIS actions. The other simply knows what actions we will take.

    If you believe otherwise, this is definitely not the place to find agreement. My Herecy of being a Red Letter Baptist is attacked enough. But, this subject is the end-all of personal accountability.
     
  15. standingfirminChrist

    standingfirminChrist
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Messages:
    9,454
    Likes Received:
    0
    exactly, Helen. I do not believe there would even be such a thing as children of disobedience if all our actions are predestined by God.

    How can we disobey?
     
  16. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Messages:
    892
    Likes Received:
    0
    God issues a command. God predetermines that you, of your own free will (because you want to), will disobey that command. God calls that disobedience.

    God determines not only the ends, but also the means.

    Ephesians 1:11 being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will

    Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;

    The Bible doesn't seem to have the same logical problem you have. God's sovereignty and man's accountability are seen right along side each other.

    Why ask God to do His will if He is powerless to do anything opposed to man's free choices. We pray "Thy will be done" because God has determined not only the end (His will being done) but also the means (our praying for His will to be done). I know it sounds like a broken record, but your problems all deal with the same issue - the failure to understand that there is a primary cause (God) as well as secondary causes (prayer).

    Let me use an example: I determined, of my own free will, to sit down and type a response to your message. Free-willers will say that I am the primary cause. I deny that. I am a secondary cause. The primary cause is God. He predetermined that I would sit down and type this response.

    We strive because we are commanded to strive and because we want to strive. It is also predestined that we strive.

    Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

    Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

    No one is ever saved apart from faith. Martin Luther (who believed in predestination stronger than John Calvin did) started the Reformation on the basis of salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

    The same Paul who wrote to the elect (Roman 8:33; Colossians 3:12; 2 Timothy 2:10; Titus 1:1) also wrote about justification by faith.

    One more time - God determines the ends (the salvation of the elect) and also the means (faith).

    Rather, Calvinism tries to explain all the Bible. Your view ignores the ultimate statements of God's control over everything (in relation to man's responsibility) and puts in its place a view of God's being a manager that just sort of allows stuff to happen.

    Not if you understand them. Just because a clause has an "if" at the beginning does not necessitate that it might not happen. From God's point of view, there can not be something that might not happen. You either believe that He controls everything (as I do) or that He at least knows the future.

    Sigh! God has determined the ends (some will reason with Him/some will not) and also the means (the call to reason with Him).

    Sigh again! God has determined the ends (some will repent/some will not) and also the means (all are called to repentance)

    And yet, the Bible says every point I have been making and doesn't come to your conclusion. The Bible says that God controls even the result of the toss of the lot. God steers the hearts of kings like a river. God numbers the hairs on your head. God works all things according to the counsel of His will.

    The same Bible says that we all answer for the deeds we have done. We are responsible for our thoughts and our actions.

    The problem is not that you can't have both. The problem is our finite minds. The Calvinist teaching of "concurrence" says that both of these Biblical truths are just that, biblical truths. They co-exist.
     
  17. standingfirminChrist

    standingfirminChrist
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Messages:
    9,454
    Likes Received:
    0
    God issues a command. God predetermines that you, of your own free will (because you want to), will disobey that command. God calls that disobedience.

    LOL... It is not free will if God predetermines that you will do it. What a ridiculous sentence!
     
  18. Me4Him

    Me4Him
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2004
    Messages:
    2,214
    Likes Received:
    0
    Helen

    I think you "Ruffle some feathers". :D :D

    The "evidence" of what Calvinist have said is "all over the board", so I don't think "back-tracking" is possible. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Some have said man can't change God's plans, but what does the scripture say??

    Mt 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives:

    but from the beginning it was not so.

    Guess it's back to the drawing board for Calvinist. :rolleyes:

     
  19. Ransom

    Ransom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    Helen:

    If all actions are predestined by God, then how can one disobey God?

    Come on, Helen! Answer the arguments people have made, instead of just mindlessly repeating the same slogans.
     
  20. Ransom

    Ransom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    SuperBaptist said:

    Freewill! Responsibility for my will and faith. Simple enough.

    It's too bad that 1500 years of Christian thinkers weren't as brilliant as you, or we'd have answered this question once and for all centuries ago. :rolleyes:

    Thank you for calling and sharing, and shall we take our next call, please?
     

Share This Page

Loading...