Some reasons I'm a Calvinist: Ultimate Authority

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Monergist, Apr 4, 2003.

  1. Monergist

    Monergist
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    As creator and sustainer of all that exists, God himself is our ultimate authority. In recognizing this we proclaim with the Psalmist, “The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours, the world and all it contains. You have founded them.” (Psalm 9:11) As He holds the rightful place of supremacy over all His creation, there is no higher authority to which we can appeal than to God himself. Any authority to which we appeal that is counter to the authority that God retains for Himself is merely an idol of our own making and choosing. Upon rejecting God’s authority and substituting something else, we quite obviously become guilty of idolatry.

    Since God himself has authored His word by the means that He has chosen, we recognize that our Holy Scriptures bear His stamp of authority. We must, at risk of our own peril, accept His word as truth and that without question. That doesn’t mean that we don’t query the text in order to gain understanding; that means that we don’t hear what God has said and reply, “No God, that isn’t right.”

    So then, there can be no argument against the fact that God “…chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…” (Ephesians 1:4) and that “…He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself…” (Ephesians 1:5) without arguing against God. We cannot in any way argue that obtaining God’s mercy depends on us since God clearly says, “…it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” (Romans 9:16) So we see that being right with God does not depend on what we do, but what He does. Any doctrine or theology must account for and submit to what God has clearly said about these matters.

    All scripture bears equally the weight of God’s authority. All scripture must be equally considered, weighed and accepted as we form our beliefs. “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…” (I Timothy 3:16). We all then profit by embracing and delighting in the passages that we find most difficult to accept. In ignoring or neglecting these passages we strengthen our weakness, invite erroneous doctrine and essentially rebel against God.

    God’s word is truth: All of it. We understand that God is consistent and that His word is consistent. We cling trustingly to John 3:16, that “… God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” At the same time we recognize that before the crucifixion Jesus knew that He was about to die for those whom the Father had given Him---and only for them (see John 17). We rejoice in knowing that God doesn’t turn away any who come to Him in simple obedient faith, but that no one can come unless He draws them. Thus, in seeing sinners come to God in repentance and faith, we praise God for His mercy and His gracious work of bringing the elect to Himself.

    Now, to the main point of my argument. The scripture’s teaching of man’s total depravity, of God’s electing purpose without regard to man’s works of righteousness or worthiness, of Jesus’ dying for a specific group, of the Holy Spirit’s irresistible work and of God’s securing and keeping those whom He wills to save—throughout scripture these are made abundantly clear. What do we do when we find these truths difficult to reconcile? We must accept and embrace them as truth anyway!

    If, for example, we reject the teachings concerning election because we feel that this is somehow unfair, then we substitute our own sense of fairness as our ultimate authority in place of God himself. If we reject teachings of man’s depravity and inability to seek God and His truth (…THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE…Romans 3:10-12) because we cannot reconcile these with commands to seek God and turn from unrighteousness, then we give our understanding a place of higher authority than God, hence creating an idol. If we insist that the life-giving grace imparted by the Holy Spirit can be successfully resisted by (dead) man, then we essentially call God a liar and give sinful man a place of higher authority than God.

    Our hope then rests in the authority of God’s Word. It isn’t easy for prideful man to accept that there are indeed mysteries here that we won’t finally understand until they are finally revealed when we get home. As Calvin was insightful and correct in labeling the human heart an “idol factory, “ we still seek to exalt ourselves and de-throne God by arguments against His sovereign right to rule the affairs of men in the way that best please and exalts Him. We all, those who embrace the doctrines of grace and likewise those who reject them, would do well to examine our hearts to see if in fact we give our understanding, preferences, feelings and concepts of fairness and justice a higher place of authority than God and His Word.

    To God alone be all glory.

    [ April 04, 2003, 03:54 PM: Message edited by: TimothyW ]
     
  2. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    Timothy W,

    We agree that your first two paragraphs were exactly correct. Thank God for this much.

    Paragraph gives the idea that if we have a faith/trust in Jesus coming from the human heart, then we are arguing against God. John 3:16 argues against this Calvinistic notion.

    Paragraph three was only about one half right. You, if you had 1,000 year to live could never show our read how Romans 9 states that God is dividing human civilization into the have's and have nots as to His Personal selection in matters of salvation. God is not playing a decretive game in Heaven by electing some and damning others.

    Being right with God DOES depend on what we do. [John 3:16] You said that it depends on what He does. I can agree that the Holy Spirit does point us to Christ but if you mean by 'does' that He sits at the right hand of God and plays pick and choose you are in the grossest of error. Rather than using 'does' you should be speaking about what Christ has done for sinners on the Cross of Calvary.

    Paragraph four is fine.

    You infer and believe that God is only drawing His elect toward regeneration and faith. Wrong! The verse that you twist simply means that if it were not for God's drawing no one would come to Jesus. He is drawing all sinners to Himself. Jesus in His own words says this in John 12:32. 'And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men {sinners} unto Me.'

    By your own admission, in paragraph number six, you admit that your doctrinal system does have and cannot have all of the answers in bringing about a unified theology. You said in effect, if you don't understand several verses, don't worry about it, just 'embrace them as truth anyway. How sad an admission.

    We long ago smashed your 'dead men theory' about Total Depravity. It is true that sinners are depraved, but they can comprehend, before regeneration, the simple truths of the saving plan of salvation and eternal life.

    When you fine tune your theology about Total Depravity don't forget to factor in the post-Fall fact that God still is creating sinners with the 'image of God' in them. Then throw into the mix the fact that 6,000 years down the road of time, He is still making man in 'the similitude of God.' [James 3:9] And lastly, check out and see that probably most of your Calvinistic commentaries will have little to nothing to say about John 1:9.

    We too, believe in the 'Ultimate Authority' of the Bible but the above reasons are why we focus more closely to the Word of God, being more Arminian in theology.

    Five Points Of Arminianism

    Prevenient Grace-God the Spirit draws depraved sinners to Him. Revelation 22:17
    Election Conditioned by Faith Alone-Romans 5:1
    Unlimited Atonement-I John 2:2
    Resistible Grace-John 5:40 & Acts 7:51.
    Possibility of Falling From Grace-Hebrews 6:1-4 & Hebrews 10: 29-30 & 38

    I agree with all of the above points except the fifth point of Arminianism. I believe that if a person is or has been genuinely saved God will bring that soul safely to Heaven. John 10:27-30.

    At least we agree on the fifth point of Calvinism. This is good!

    A brother,

    Ray
     
  3. Yelsew

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    Arminius agrees that God alone is sovereign, God alone is the creator of all that exists, God alone...

    So are you attempting to say that you are Calvinist because only the Calvinist believes that God is Sovereign? If so that is a bogus reason to be a Calvinist!

    If you are attempting to say that you are Calvinist because man is "Totally Depraved". Have at it, but just don't overlook what the word totally means, and the implications it has for all mankind. It means that not one person can do one good thing! The Holy Scriptures do not teach that!

    God has a history of destroying the population of the world because of the depravity of mankind. The last recorded time of that happening is Sodom and Gomorrah some 4000 years ago. The point, if man is totally depraved, why has God not acted in accordance to his history? If man is totally depraved why did he spare the 8 on the ark? Why would he prolong the perpetuation of depravity?

    Conversely, no man is holy, nor can any man become holy unto himself. No man can redeem himself from sin, because sin is not defined by man. But that is not an indication of "TOTAL" depravity. It is however the reason man needs a redeemer.

    We agree, Jesus did die for a specific group, ALL mankind. He did not die for the cattle, or the goats, or the serpents, or the whales, etc, but only for mankind.

    Jesus said, "behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyman hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and sup with him". He was not seeking a dinner invitation, but rather telling ALL who hear the knock, that he is waiting for them to open their hearts door to him. That does not meet the criteria for "the elect", the elect is not all inclucive, but Jesus invitation is.
    Because there is none who meets the criteria to be God, is no reason to think that every one is "totally depraved". Everyone has some measure of depravity, but not one is Totally Depraved.

    There is none righteous, not even one (however, many have had their faith counted as righteousness? Everyone who has faith in Jesus!)
    There is none who understands, (no on understands all there is to understand about any topic, and of course who but God can understand God?)
    There is none who seeks for God, (we all have innate knowledge that God exists, but God is not visible to natural man, and no man seeks the things of the spirit because man cannot see spirit.)
    All have turned aside, (We all turn away from that which we cannot experience with our natural senses, not because we deliberately want to, but because we do not understand that which cannot be seen. Kind of like investing in the stock of an unproven company. )
    Together they have become useless, ("Useless" a relative idea, to God we are useless because we are not holy and therefore cannot come face to face with God, we don't seek him because He cannot be "seen", and does not appear to us in an acceptable form, so "naturally" we are useless)
    There is not who does good, there is not even one. (Is Paul the one who is defining "good"? Or is he merely parroting a prophet of the old Testament? What is good? Is it total sinlessness? If so, God did humanity wrong by introducing sin to the first of the human species in the Garden, for if God intended man to be sinless he would not have done so.) Total depravity is a sham!

    I know of no believer in Jesus who does what you suggest here. I've never met a non Calvinist who practices what you elude to here.
     
  4. The Archangel

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    At least we agree on the fifth point of Calvinism.

    [​IMG] We call this a "Whiskey Baptist" [​IMG] Because they hold to 1/5 of the points!


    Blessings!

    Archangel
     
  5. npetreley

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    Since the fifth is reduced from 5 original points, I guess you could call that a diminished fifth, right? No wonder they call that the devil's interval! ;)

    (Esoteric music theory/history humor.)
     
  6. Frogman

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    I know some

    Bro. Dallas
     
  7. Monergist

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    You're starting to get it. ;)
    Our good works are a gift from God. Apart from Him, we're incapable of doing good.

    Because Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
     
  8. Monergist

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    I evidently missed that most enlightening event. However, scripture still speaks of the unregenerate as "dead in trespasses and sins."
     
  9. Ray Berrian

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    Archangel,

    A Whiskey Baptist--clever!

    My Dad who is 81 year old spent some time in Louisville, Kentucky during WWII. They tell me I travelled there from N.Y. state when I was 'in arms.' He was in the 20th Armored Division.

    Do you have any problems with the Four Points of Arminism as noted on April 4th 11:09 a.m.?
     
  10. Yelsew

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    You're starting to get it. ;)
    Our good works are a gift from God. Apart from Him, we're incapable of doing good.

    Because Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
    </font>[/QUOTE]"Because Noah found grace in the eyes of the lord", does that mean that at least one man was not Totally Depraved? What about Abraham whose faith was counted as righteousness? Was he Totally Depraved? What about David, who a man after God's own heart? Does that mean that God is Totally Depraved?

    Even the most vile human is capable of and often does that which is good in the eyes of, and for the benefit of mankind. To say that man can do no good thing is to spit on the hands of God who made us. God gave us the ability, and in most, the desire to do good things, especially for those we accept some measure of responsibility for. Are we truly good? No! Do we do good? Yes, because God, when he created man, instilled in humankind the abilities and yes even the desires to do so. So man can, with the God given abilities do good, where man without those abilities could do no good.

    I realize that sounds like doubletalk, but it is not. If God had not given us a spirit, and attributes that he himself has, we would be nothing better than the beasts of the field.
     
  11. The Archangel

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    The "Whiskey Baptist" thing is not original to me. I picked it up from others along the way.

    As for the 4-points...Yes, I do disagree with them. It is too late to go into details. I will attempt a detailed explanation in the AM....well, the day-time AM.

    Blessings, my friend, and good night!

    Archangel
     
  12. russell55

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    No, it means that at least one man received better things from God than he deserved.
     
  13. William C

    William C
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    I guess you think the same thing about Job too?
     
  14. Yelsew

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    No, it means that at least one man received better things from God than he deserved. </font>[/QUOTE]That makes Noah no better than any of us!
     
  15. npetreley

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    No, it means that at least one man received better things from God than he deserved. </font>[/QUOTE]That makes Noah no better than any of us! </font>[/QUOTE]Give that man a cigar (or a reasonable facsimile). You're catching on, Yelsew!
     
  16. russell55

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    Of course. If the things Job received from God weren't better than he deserved, then God was unjust to take them away......

    ...I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees Thee; Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.
     

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