Interpretive mistakes Calvinists make

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Skandelon, Jan 2, 2004.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0

    When you speak of "hardening" what do you mean?

    Who does the hardening? The bible speaks of men hardening themselves and in other places it speaks of God's judicial hardening of certain men. Calvinism's teaching implies guilt for His active hardening of lost souls so that they don't even have an opportunity to respond to his universal calling to repentance. This is why most believers are repulsed by such a doctrine. It brings reproach upon the justice of our God.


    I don't mean to nitpit an illustration because I do realize all analogies fall short, however I must point out the flaw of this line of reasoning.

    The president didn't merely pardon 2 of the inmates as you suggest. He pardoned them all. He called all of them to repent and be saved not just two of them. Your illustrations leaves out the universal calling of our God by the means of the gospel.

    Lets look at it this way. What if the president had made the provision for all ten imates to be pardoned and announced to the world that he had done so but he knew only two of them spoke English while the rest spoke spanish. He went to all ten of them knowing that only two would understand his words and said in english without any interpretor, "If you say you are sorry you can be pardoned." Of course only the two that understood him complied with his request and were freed. Then, knowing the rest could not understand him, sent them to be condemned. Why? Because they did not comply with his request, which he has publicly stated was made to all 10 inmates. This makes the president seem bias, imparitial and most definately unjust. Not because he condemned the eight men who deserved condemnation but because he claimed to have geniunely offer them something they did not have the ability to even understand.

    Calvinism makes God seem to be unjust and untruthful in his call to repentance to the whole world.

    How can anyone say God has not called them? He has called all to himself but some are unwilling. Calvinism teaches two calls. One is universal and the other special, internal, secret and irrestiable. Where is this second call taught in the scripture? You would think that something so important as a calling to true salvation might get at least a chapter of explaination. No, instead Calvinists misapply a couple of obsure texts to prop up a non-existant doctrine.


    No doubt that the Holy Spirit has the power to be irresistable but the scripture clearly shows us that people successfully resist Him showing that man has the power to resist the desires of the Holy Spirits working in one's life.


    Here is the universal nature of God's call to which I referred earlier. Is it "possible" and "offered" to all ten inmates? Then why do only 2 get pardoned? Is it ultimately because of their own free will refusal to accept that which has been granted to them, or is it, as you suggest, because they never really understood what was offered to them in the first place?
     
  2. Ransom

    Ransom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

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

    When you speak of "hardening" what do you mean?

    I mean what the Bible means - hostility to the message, as opposed to receptivity.

    Who does the hardening? The bible speaks of men hardening themselves and in other places it speaks of God's judicial hardening of certain men. Calvinism's teaching implies guilt for His active hardening of lost souls so that they don't even have an opportunity to respond to his universal calling to repentance.

    This is why most believers are repulsed by such a doctrine. It brings reproach upon the justice of our God.

    This is just another way of voicing the same objection that Paul's imaginary critic does in Rom. 9:19. So it seems to me that Paul's answer is the most appropriate one: Who are you, you man, to talk back to God?

    I don't mean to nitpit an illustration because I do realize all analogies fall short, however I must point out the flaw of this line of reasoning.

    *chuckle* What you have just done is add about three paragraphs of additional stuff to my very short and simple analogy, and on the basis of your additions, pronounced my reasoning faulty. Your concern isn't with what I said, it's with what you wish I'd said.

    Calvinism makes God seem to be unjust and untruthful in his call to repentance to the whole world.

    Should the Father have sacrificed his Son in secret and waited until Judgment Day to reveal to the reprobate why they were condemned? How is that less unjust?

    How can anyone say God has not called them? He has called all to himself but some are unwilling. Calvinism teaches two calls. One is universal and the other special, internal, secret and irrestiable. Where is this second call taught in the scripture?

    The universal call to repentance:

    And the effectual call to salvation:

    Examples of the latter are far more numerous, and I hesitate to multiply them needlessly.

    You would think that something so important as a calling to true salvation might get at least a chapter of explaination.

    There are plenty of core theological concepts that are not given "a chapter of explanation." The Trinity comes to mind, as does the nature of Christ or the purpose of the Atonement. They are woven throughout the Biblical text. The effectual call is the same; it is not given its own chapter, but hardly one of Paul's or Peter's letters goes by where it does not get a mention. I provided but two examples. I could easily supply many, many more, but all the cutting-and-pasting would probably make my wrists ache.

    No doubt that the Holy Spirit has the power to be irresistable but the scripture clearly shows us that people successfully resist Him showing that man has the power to resist the desires of the Holy Spirits working in one's life.

    In a tug-of-war between a circus strongman and a diesel locomotive, if the strongman "successfully resists" the diesel locomotive, it only proves that the engineer hasn't opened up the throttle. God's purposes are not thwarted by mere men; as I said in the other thread, if it seems a man is successfully resisting God, then it is because God has allowed it.

     
  3. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    The doctrine of Total Depravity teaches that men are born in such a state, correct?

    This is not consistant with scripture which speaks of men becoming hardened only after hearing and understanding the truth, then choosing to deny it. In fact experience (with biblical evidence) supports knowledge that children are receptive. Jesus uses a child as an example of this humble receptivity as being "fit for the kingdom."

    People may be sinful from birth but this doesn't prove they are hardened from birth as Calvinism suggests.

    Two great passages for discussion. These verses speak of God's judicial hardening of the Jews. The Jews were being hardened for the ingrafting of the Gentiles. Here is another great verse on hardening:

    Notice that the Jews, who God had held his hands out to for generations were now being hardened. But the Gentiles were now to receive the message. The message was being hidden from the Jews as the passages you sight suggest. But we can clearly see from Romans 11 that this hardening was temporary and with a direct purpose, not some kind of universal nature of man as Calvinism's Total depravity suggests.

    Calvinists interpret John 6 to say mankind as a whole is unable to come to Jesus without this inward irrestiable calling, but they fail to see the context of the passage. Jesus is speaking to Jews, who have been hardened. They can't come to Jesus because they it hasn't been granted to them (except for the apostles). Calvinists assume that Jesus' audience can't come because they were born totally depraved. Wrong. They can't come because they have been temporarily hardened just as John 12 explains.

    Untrue. Paul's imaginary critic is objecting to the idea that Gentiles are being shown mercy and the Jews are being hardened. He is not, as you suggest, objecting to God chosing to save certain people and pass by others. For more detail on this you can read my posts under "What galls a non-Calvinist" and "Is God unjust."

    You avoided my point. Your analogy assumes too much. You assume that our objection to your views have to do with God's condemning guilty men. That is not the case!

    Our objection is based upon your teaching that God offers salvation to the world pretending as if He really desires all to come but only grants certain people the ability to understand and accept that offer. This is what brings the reproach upon God's justice. Throughout history Calvinists have reconized this dilema and many have tried to explain away the universal calling of the gospel as if it didn't really exist. Other Calvinists live with paradox and are content dealing with it by misdirecting the issues as you have done with this analogy.

    It is not. Again you misunderstand our objection. God can do what ever He want to do. He is God. We are not debating what we think God could do. We are debating what God says He will do in His word. Calvinism presents a conflict by stiving to teach contradictory principles, which are that God calls and desires all to be saved and only provided the means by which some can answer that calling. This is what we object to. Let's deal with this instead a creating new objections that don't exist between us.


    And the effectual call to salvation:

    This says nothing of an effectual calling. It simply presents in order the things God did in salvation. It does not mention man's response because that is not the subject of Paul's discussion but even Calvinists wouldn't dismiss the fact that faith plays a role in this process. It doesn't say those he called had faith and he justified them but we both would agree that would be the case. No one is saved apart from faith. The fact that faith is not even mentioned in no way proves man's response isn't factored in, the debate must go beyond this verse to include the means by which we believe that calling and respond. Paul doesn't even attempt to address that issue here therefore it can be applied as a proof text for either of our views.

    Well, your going to need to go a bit further than this verse. It is specifically referring to the universal calling. It even says "called you through our gospel." The gospel is the means God has universally called all men to himself. I'm sure Paul preached that same gospel to many others who didn't believe it. The debate must go beyond this verse because it doesn't speak to a second, inward, secret irrestiable calling as you suggest.

    If they are all as vague and misapplied as these two you have chosen from the masses then you have some work to do.


    I agree with this. Once again I'm not debating what God could do. He could have saved the certain ones while passing by others as Calvinism suggests. Its not about what he could or couldn't do. It is about what his Word says he has chosen to do.

    Of course God could overturn all mankind's will and save them. I just don't believe scripture teaches that is what God desired to do. If he did he would have done has John suggested and just forced the stones to cry out. God desires willful obeidence from those who choose to love him, not mere stones who sing praises at the snap of his sovereign hand.
     

Share This Page

Loading...