Major Contradiction in 1686 Westminster Confession

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by DrJamesAch, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. DrJamesAch

    DrJamesAch
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    The Reformers who rely on the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith love to tout this document as a virtual inerrant piece of paper that defines what every Christian should believe, and defines Calvinism albeit without giving Calvin or Augustine the credit.

    Although there are many issues within the document that are at odds with the Bible, I wanted to pointed out some observances where the Confession is in conflict with itself.

    Holding to the tenet of 'total depravity/inability', the Calvinist position is that a man dead in sin can not understand or respond to the gospel without God granting repentance and faith first. "A dead man can't dial 911" so the Calvinist confuses spiritual death with physical death.

    On the view of Free Will, ch IX, the confession states:

    "III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto."

    And then in ch III of Eternal Decrees the Confession reads,

    "III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death."

    Now here's where the conflict arises!

    Although the Confession says very little about prophecy (which is no surprise since Calvin avoided Revelation and was amillennial), it offers this statement in ch XXXIII,

    " III. As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin, and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity: so will he have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come; and may be ever prepared to say, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen."

    Get that! to "DETER ALL MEN FROM SIN". If man is totally unable to respond or perceive the gospel, then how can he be DETERRED? If man is predestined for hell and eternal punishment, then are not the Calvinist being disobedient against God's "eternal decree" in trying to convince a man against God's will to DETER him from sin?

    If a man is foreordained to hell, then he can not be deterred.
    This is a fatal flaw of logic within the Confession against its own system, and is to be expected when man dictates human reasoning above the Bible.
     
    #1 DrJamesAch, Jun 11, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2013
  2. saturneptune

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    This post, like your others, are chalked full of false doctrine. The first point is that if you were a true Baptist, you would not be hung up on creeds and confessions. A Baptist's creed and confession is the Bible.

    You have spent much time on this board degrading doctrines of sovereignty and grace of the Lord. You paint a picture of the Lord as a Creator limited by power, knowledge, sovereignty, grace.

    There is no conflict in the document you site above, only in your mind. The first statement says man is totally depraved. The second "to deter all men from sin" does not conflict with the first. Because a man is detered from sin does not mean he is saved or has been quickened by the Holy Spirit.

    People that nit pick the Bible for contidictions are not interested in a relationship with the Lord. They are interested in harming the Christian faith. In a similar fashion, your hatred for the sovereignty and grace of God, you search out contridictions to fit your unBiblical beliefs. Since you cannot find it in Scripture, you go to man made documents.

    God, our Creator and Savior, is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and nothing less, along with many qualities, many of which we do not fully understand.

    You have caused much discord and dissention on this board in your short history, And yes, through my own mistakes, I had a minor setback, but intend to see it comes to an end.
     
  3. InTheLight

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    To be fair the phrase "to deter all men from sin" says nothing about the salvation of the men, but I see where you are going with it.

    A better question to ask would be: "If man is totally depraved and can only choose things within this fallen nature, why does the Wesminster Confession say that knowledge of the coming judgment day can deter men from sin?"

    Also, when it says "to deter all men from sin" what is the definition of "all"? :laugh:
     
  4. Winman

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    I believe DrAch has made an excellent point. If the natural man is utterly unable to prepare himself to salvation, then he could not respond to the gospel, and he could not not be deterred from sin. He would be like an unliving stone, impervious to scripture or preaching.

    That creed is error because it says ALL MEN are deterred from sin. If Total Inability is true, then only regenerated men could be deterred from sin.

    You can't have it both ways, you can't say a natural man lacks all ability to respond to God, and then say he has ability, that is a direct contradiction.

    This is typical of Calvinism, Calvinism will ALWAYS contradict itself. It really says NOTHING at all. Calvinists claim that God decrees all that comes to pass, and that nothing can possibly happen unless God decrees it, including evil, and yet God is not the author of sin.

    If you ask an honest Calvinist whether the Newtown killer could have killed 20 children unless God decreed and ordained it, they will say no. They will even go so far as to say that the young man who killed these children could not have acted in any other way, and yet God is not the author of sin.

    It's all double-talk.
     
  5. saturneptune

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    That is a better question, and as usual, whether we agree or disagree, you posts are honest and to the point. I have read and read books on both sides, and the only real conclusion I can come to is that we as human beings, fallen and flawed with limited mental capacity, will never understand the issue fully this side of heaven. It is just that the sovereignty side makes more Biblical sense to me than the other, not saying there are some elements of free will mixed in we do not understand.
     
  6. annsni

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    I do not see the conflict. All men know that they will account for their sins - for all of the deeds they have done. What does the world say? They say that they aren't as bad as the next guy so they will be OK. They know there will be judgment and they don't sin too much because they know that is bad. However, they do not understand that ANY and ALL sin is enough to send them to hell. But they still have inside them the understanding of judgement and sin. I do not see any contradiction. No man can ever not sin. All men are sinful from birth and will not seek God. But they know consequence and so they do what they do on their own.
     
  7. DrJamesAch

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    You're right, there is a lot of false doctrine quoted, it's called a Baptist Confession.

    And it's ironic that every time a Calvinist attempts to distance themselves from John Calvin, they point to the Creeds, and yet when a Bible believer picks apart the Creeds, WE are the ones "obsessed" with it!

    And I don't hate the sovereignty of God, I hate the Calvinist interpretation of it. Before God was sovereign over creation, He was loving Someone from eternity. He is not God because He is sovereign, He is sovereign because He is God and Calvinism forces an explanation of God's nature that demands that God fit the Calvinist interpretation of sovereignty.

    Calvinism sacrifices the love of God by asserting that God desires the punishment of the wicked. If God is love-and He is-, love can not DESIRE the damnation of humankind. Desire of eternal punishment is a blatant contradiction of the nature of God's love which existed BEFORE He was sovereign. A Calvinist would do well to study what the very word sovereign even means before accusing the Non Calvinist of "hating" it.

    Furthermore, you seem to confuse my pointing out the contradictions of the Confessions as some how arguing for their support. How ridiculous an assumption that because I show the contradiction of a Calvinist document, that now I base my critique on man made documents? If it was never written in the first place, and then supported by Calvinists as the gospel, it wouldn't need to be critiqued, but now my critique of a man made document is equal to support of man-made documents? That's the loopiest logic I've ever heard.
     
  8. Winman

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    I disagree, if men totally lack all ability for good, they would be unable to even recognize their sinfulness. Of course we know that even unsaved men have a conscience and many men are filled with sorrow and regret for wrongs they have committed. Though Judas did not apply to Jesus for forgiveness, he knew he had betrayed an innocent man and was so filled with guilt that he killed himself.

    Total Inability is simply false. It is that simple.
     
  9. DrJamesAch

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    You are missing the point. There is a difference in men knowing that there is a possibility of being judged for sin, and something DETERRING THEM to avoid it. Knowing the consequences does not have to imply that knowledge deters someone. You can not assume that because someone KNOWS that they will be judged, that such knowledge DETERS them from committing certain actions. Present day society should be proof enough.

    A murderer can know that if he murders, he will be punished. But DETERISM is an INTERVENING ACTION that attempts to persuade the murderer from committing the act. The existence of the proscription against murder itself is not necessarily a deterrent because there is no evidence that the murderer was actually apprised of all the consequences. Sure, he may have some knowledge of its wrongfulness, but does he get life in prison? The electric chair? Lethal injection? 20 years? Manslaughter? Does he understand the victim has a family and what such actions will affect the families? Knowing that a particular act may be wrong is not the same as knowing what the consequences are for the violation of its prohibition.

    The Confession argues for using judgment as a DETERRENT against such judgment, and as such is in conflict with its statement about mans free will and the foreordained judgment of the non-elect. Man that is foreordained to eternal damnation can not be persuaded or deterred from his path.. To hold both views at the same time is an explicit contradiction.
     
    #9 DrJamesAch, Jun 11, 2013
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  10. agedman

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    What do speed limits do?

    Do they "deter" folks from speeding?

    Do stop lights "deter" folks from running over each other?

    Do folks still speed?

    Do folks still run stoplights?

    Just what do the non-cal folks consider "deter" means?
     
  11. DrJamesAch

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    If you have to ask that question, perhaps that is all the more reason to rely on the BIBLE instead of Calvinism resorting to creeds to define their beliefs.

    Defining "deter" beyond what is the common term for it (as Calvinists often define terms in complete contradistinction of their normal usage) is the problem for the Calvinist, not the non Calvinist-it's not in our "confession", it's in YOURS as is the contradiction it poses within itself toward the statements posted of free will and the foreordained judgment of the sinner.

    Your statement doesn't help the contradiction, it actually reinforces my point.
     
  12. annsni

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    Why would they even be unable to recognize their sinfulness? Ask any man on the street if he lives without any sin in his life and you will get the truthful answer - no. Every human being knows that he does wrong. That's common to all man. But just because he knows he does wrong things doesn't mean that he desires to fix it and seek a solution.
     
  13. Winman

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    Exactly, and this is why Total Inability is error. All men are quite able to recognize their sinfulness and thus turn from sin.

    A man may be an adulterer, but feel guilty for his sin and turn from it. This does not save him of course, but it shows men are capable of turning from evil and choosing what is good. The scriptures show even a child has this ability.

    Isa 7:16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

    This verse shows that babies do not understand right from wrong, but mature and come to know the difference, and that at that point even a child can refuse evil and choose good.

    Calvinism teaches the EXACT OPPOSITE, that natural man can only REFUSE GOOD and CHOOSE EVIL.

    Calvinism ALWAYS says the exact reverse of scripture. Amazing, but true.


    If it was your nature to do evil, you would not realize you are doing evil. It is because sin is unnatural that men feel condemned and guilty when they sin.

    Does a lion feel guilty when it pounces on a baby zebra? NO, because that is his nature, he is compelled to do so.

    Men are not compelled to sin, in fact, all men have a conscience. Look up the word conscience in any dictionary;

    The very definition of conscience refutes Total Inability and Depravity as it says all men have the URGE TO PREFER RIGHT OVER WRONG.

    Total Inability is absolutely false.
     
  14. InTheLight

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    Yes, precisely. So why does the Westminster Confession say that knowing about the Great White Throne Judgment will "deter all men from sin"?

    Ask any man on the street if Christian tradition says that all will be judged for their sins and you will get the truthful answer--yes. Then ask them if that knowledge is deterring them from sinning, answer--no.
     
  15. annsni

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    You see, they ARE compelled to sin. They understand that it is wrong and they might decide to not do it - but as is often the case, they go right back to it. They KNOW it's wrong - but it doesn't bother them to continue in it. They justify it (well, I'm not hurting anyone), excuse it (I couldn't help it) or whatever - but they will continue to be drawn back into sin because that is who they are.
     
  16. annsni

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    Forget even appealing to Christian tradition - ask someone if it's wrong to murder and they will say "yes". Why? Because. Some may appeal to the 10 commandments, some may appeal to "harming others" - this is why abortion isn't "harm" to most - because it's a woman's own body and "no one gets hurt" (which of course we know is false). Pornography is OK because it doesn't hurt anyone - but we need to hide it because inside, we know it's wrong. You see, men do have inside them the understanding of right and wrong, sin and goodness - and they CAN at times choose to do right - but they will also fall into sin because that is their nature.
     
  17. agedman

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    If one is to understand "deter" then one would understand what I posted.

    However, because in this thread the OP is attempting to discredit by showing a certain contradiction, then it is important that the author know what "deter" means.

    BESIDES, the OP takes a quote and applies it totally out of the intended context. Here is the whole paragraph.

    "As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there will be a day of judgement, both to deter all men from sin and to give greater consolation to the godly in their adversity, so also He will have the date of that day kept unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and always be watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come. Also, so that men may be affected in such a way that they ever say, 'Come Lord Jesus, come quickly!' Amen."

    NOTE: "As Christ would have US to be certainly persuaded that there will be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin and to give greater consolation to the godly in their adversity..."

    The article IS NOT stating that all men are deterred, it is stating the WE are to deter all men from sin!

    We are to be, as the obviously visible police, ready and seeking judgment and justice upon all ungodliness, just as the Holy Spirit that lives within us brings to the heathen world rebuke through the believer. Doing such brings certain deterrence to all from and of sin. Folks used to apologize for inappropriate language when used in the presence of a believer, and real believers used to openly rebuke the sin and sinner.

    That YOU did not recognize the illustration of speeding and stop light is problematic.

    Folks have selected a piece here and there of the 1686 Westminster Confession and attempted to show contradiction where there is none. To do so ranges as at best a misunderstanding or at worse a deceitful attempt to do harm.

    I choose to consider you as merely mistaken in the attempt to discredit the 1689 WC and therefor incapable of recognizing the significance of the illustration I gave.
     
  18. DrJamesAch

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    I'm going to say this real slow so that you can understand it even though I've said it several times: a .....man....that....is....predetermined...for...hell....can...not...be....deterred.

    What part of that is so hard for you Calvies to understand. You repeat it in other threads over and over and over ad nauseum. You don't get it. It doesn't matter whether all men ARE deterred or not, whether they know they are sinners, Calvinism holds that men are predestinated for hell, and a person that is determined, predistinated, foreordained to eternal damnation can not be deterred. It is an explicit and blatant contradiction that Calvinists just don't want to admit.
     
  19. agedman

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    It is YOUR OP in which YOU misapplied what the WC was stating that I was responding, too.

    The first response I gave, you didn't express the insight needed, so I brought more clarification.

    That clarification seems to have upset you, but you continue to contend basing your defense upon your misapplication and therefore your defense is frail.

    NOW, RIGHT NOW, IN THIS CURRENT AGE the heathen of this world are being "deterred" by the Holy Spirit through the church. The deterring will continue until the Lord comes.

    THAT is the meaning of the WC as appropriately applicable in that part I quoted.

    I have NEVER read on the BB where a cal or even a non-cal has tried to make this part of the WC an issue as you are attempting.

    If you contend against the heathen being PREDETERMINED as condemned ALREADY, that is refuted in John 3 - you can argue with John about that.

    If you contend that salvation is NOT by Grace through faith - alone - with NO help from man, that is refuted in Ephesians - you can argue with Paul about that.

    If your scheme is to show some "free choice / will" exists, that is refuted in John 1 - then argue with John which CLEARLY shows such "schemes" are NOT valid.
     
  20. Mexdeaf

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    Thanks, agedman. Good response.
     

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