Today's "Calvinism"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC δοῦλος, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. JonC

    JonC
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    I enjoy reading John Calvin, and I do agree with much - but not all – of what he states. Since Calvinism is not a product of Calvin, but also a product of Beza, I have a question that seem to have plagued me throughout this forum. (Even if you hold to a pre-Beza “Calvinism,” the question is actually the same).

    When, in time, did "Calvinism" actually reject traditional Calvinistic doctrine to become what many on this post has termed as “Calvinism” (that is, solely Calvinistic soteriology – the five points)?

    In other words, a person can be termed a “Calvinist” but only accept the Beza’s doctrines of grace in regards to salvation and predestination– rejecting all the rest. Calvin, Beza and Knox are very clear about what they determined as Reformed belief or Calvinism – their definitions extended beyond soteriological views. Calvinism as used on this board doesn’t match with their definition. This doesn’t make sense to me, and I’m trying to understand exactly when this shift from Calvinism to Reformed Soteriology became officially the “Calvinism” (are is the term just used to counter reformed views derived from Calvinism, ie. Arminianism?).
     
    #1 JonC, Mar 17, 2012
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  2. jbh28

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    "Calvinism" is from the response to the Remonstrants. The "5 points" are from the Canons of Dordt and are five articles against the Remonstrants


    http://www.the-highway.com/dordt.html

    Obviously the name Calvinism comes from those who believe doctrines that were taught by John Calvin. Obviously he didn't come up with it.

    The Canons of Drodt are from 1618-1619.
     
  3. JonC

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    You are absolutely correct that John Calvin didn't come up with what we define as Calvinism - much of his work was based on Zwingli, but "Calvinism" is probably better attributed to Beza.

    If Calvinism is the response to the Remonstrants, what happened to what was termed “Calvinism” during the life of John Calvin and the early work of Beza (the “Calvinism” that John Calvin preferred to call “Reformed”) and upon which we have much of the Presbyterian Church and certainly the Westminster confession and beliefs? (There was a "Calvinism" before 1564 - much less 1618).

    My question is that, since we regard Calvinism as the response to Arminius, then what happened to the entire system that was taught by Calvin and systemized by Beza - and is still represented in the Wesminster Confession?
     
    #3 JonC, Mar 17, 2012
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  4. 12strings

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    I think after the Canons of Dordt, those 5 points became the primary differences between what they called calvinism and arminianism...the rest of the Calvinistic system the arminians would have probalby agreed with, so calvinists were the ones who affirmed those 5 points.

    The Real full well-rounded calvinism has remained in the Presbyterian churches, who accept nearly all of Calvin's teachings.

    Baptists who agreed with the 5 points would not need to designate themselves in regard to calvin at all, except that some baptists agree with those 5 points and some don't. So using Calvinism & Arminianism to describe those beliefs was a convenient way to say which side you were on. The Arminian baptists would not agree with all of Arminianism either (which included much of the original calvinism).
     
  5. JonC

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    That makes since in a way, but Baptist doctrine and the “free church” movements pre-date both Calvinism and Arminianism (Smyth quotes almost verbatim the Waterland Confession of 1580 in the Second London Confession).

    From what I gather, calling one’s self a “Calvinist” depends on the company one keeps.
     
    #5 JonC, Mar 17, 2012
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  6. JonC

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    At one time, Calvinism and Reformed meant the same thing (Calvin preferred “Reformed” to “Calvinism”, for example). Is “Reformed theology” the entire theology of Calvinism and “Calvinism” taken today to refer to soteriology?

    I know it may seem that I’m being picky or “trolling,” but I am not. Until recently I had only knew of one church in my area that taught “Calvinism,” and that was a Presbyterian church. I know from reading many authors that the debate is usually centered around salvation, but I didn’t realize that it was no longer held as a theological system and there is a difference between book and practice. I know many who would agree with the five points (or 4 of the 5), but object to being identified as "Calvinists" because of the church-state relationship and/or infant baptism and/or Calvinisitc covenant theology.

    Apparently many here live where this is a prominent debate – I do not. Am I mistaking in thinking that “Calvinism” as a theological system still exists today (by that name)? Are “Reformed Baptists” merely Baptists who hold to Calvin’s soteriology but reject the implications regarding predestination that Beza found inevitable?
     
    #6 JonC, Mar 17, 2012
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  7. 12strings

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    you are correct that it depends on what company you keep.

    "reformed Baptist" is actually a name some churches call themselves, and they would hold to the soteriology side primarily, rejecting infant baptism. They also have Elders, but not a presbyery that is over multiple churches.

    Many Real Reformed and PResbyterian churches would look at reformed baptists and say they are not really "reformed" or "calvinists."

    I'm not sure what "implications regarding Predestination" that you are refering to, but reformed baptists would hold to unconditional predestination of those who will be saved.
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    Most Baptist Calvinists who accept the TULIP do not buy the entire Presbyterian package. When one Baptist describes himself as a Calvinist (or Reformed) most other Baptists know what he means.

    Some of us Calvinists on the Baptist Board have been looking for another shorthand word to describe us. We think we have found it.

    DoG Capital D, little o, Capital G---pronounced Dog. It's short for Doctrines of Grace. It's short, simple, and doesn't carry the baggage Calvinist and Reformed do.

    So, when you see somebody refer to himself as a DoG here on the BB,, most likely he'll be a Baptist.

    I'd also like to see us come up with an acronym that describes non-Calvinists. Most Baptists are not Arminian, so we need to find something else.

    Four the four-pointers out there, how about "Low-Cal?"
     
  9. Jerome

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    How Ernest Reisinger described his fledgling Grace Baptist Church of Carlisle Pa. (now a flagship ARBCA church) in his letter of introduction to UK 'Banner of Truth' editor Iain Murray:

     
  10. JonC

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    I wondered about DoG. I figured it was Doctrines of Grace, but didn’t make the connection as pertaining to the DoG apart from the entire system of Calvinism. – Thanks, this helps.

    (I like “Low-Cal” – sounds like a diet or a rap group) :)
     
  11. Jerome

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    Brother John Reisinger's candid assessment of this new 'Reformed Baptist' movement:

     
  12. Iconoclast

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    While I like John Reisinger in general.....you perhaps do not know that he had an axe to grind....as you seem to.... with several RB pastors who were critical of some of his messages. He like you, lashed out at the majority...sowing discord and disrupting churches for awhile. ;

    You did provide the link...but you edit it so it says somewhat different than how it was written;

    Who would do that???
     
    #12 Iconoclast, Mar 17, 2012
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  13. JonC

    JonC
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    Reisinger makes some very good points regarding “Reformed” positions within the Baptists (I don't know about the "axe" he had to grind because I am not familiar enough with the Reformed Baptists or Reisinger). He is absolutely correct that the Reformers did not try to rebuild or remove the Catholic system, per se, but only reform the doctrine. Zwingli, Calvin, and Beza were all magisterial reformers.

    While I know that the relationship between the radical reformation and English Baptists is debatable, I do see a correlation (particularly in view of Smyth’s writings – which utilizes Anabaptist articles of faith). My understanding is that Baptists owe their heritage to both the Radical Reformation and the Reformation (although I tend to view the ecclesiology more in light of the former). But looking at some posts on this forum, I was getting the impression that some held Reformed Baptists to be Presbyterians who reject infant baptism.
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

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    If I were you Jonney boy, I'd qualify that a whole lot better than your doin than "your impressions", those can be construed by some in here as fighting words. Note you have allot of variations on this forum (BB), so be careful of your words my brother.....unless of course your spoiling for a fight. :smilewinkgrin:
     
    #14 Earth Wind and Fire, Mar 18, 2012
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  15. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Hey, thanks.....I'm going to send this to my brother who, as a youth pastor of am IFB Church, experienced much of the same thing.....Tyrant legalistic head pastor who did in fact attempt to control his entire family & got in between husband & wife. The sick Son of a Gun is still operating like the POPE & in the process, wrecking lives & leading people to hell.
     
  16. JonC

    JonC
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    Yea, I know. I just don't know any other way of asking - not picking a fight (just trying to understand).

    If I were picking a fight, I'd say Baptisterian :D.
     
  17. Earth Wind and Fire

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    There is your qualifier...."right therrrrr":smilewinkgrin:
     
  18. JonC

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    I was just kidding…Devil made me do it (not outside of Divine Providence, of course) :smilewinkgrin:

    My qualifier is that there are many posts here that present Calvinistic Covenant theology within a Baptist context. It was a Calvinistic form of Covenant theology that was used to justify infant Baptism (Synod of Dort – “the children of believers are holy not by nature, but by virtue of the covenant of grace in which they, together with the parents, are comprehended”; “predestination is the head of all doctrine” and “Godly parents have no reason to doubt the election and salvation of those, their children, whom it pleases God to call out of this life, in their infancy”).

    Now, I know that many on this board who hold to Covenant theology and call themselves “Calvinists” without affirming infant baptism (and I’m not implying otherwise – this is just an example). But my question is, what exactly is the line between Reformed Baptist, a Baptist who holds to the DoG, a fully Calvinistic Baptist (if there can be such a thing) and traditional Calvinism? What part, if any, of traditional Baptist doctrine is lost in Reformed Baptist Churches?

    I’m not questioning Covenant theology, or DoG, or anything of the sort. I just want to understand to what extent Calvinistic Baptist are Calvinists. Pretend like I have always attended a SBC denomination and have not conversed with many Reformed Baptists although I share many Reformed views.
     
    #18 JonC, Mar 18, 2012
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  19. Earth Wind and Fire

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    .... but if I was looking at all this, I would suggest that it was Ole Charlie Finney who did the most to modify the Calvinists position, for his break away (from Calvinism) theology was most influential to the common working class at the time. He radicalized much thus splitting people into two distinct groups of believers. specifically, Ole Charlie's theology of regeneration & his new measures for conversion (ie the anxious seat thus leading to the alter call, :rolleyes:) resulted in a new paradigm shift in the Protestant approach to ministry.

    I think from that point you could see lines of clear demarcation from the orthodox (some would say Reformation) believer & the modern baptistic (some would say Post Reformation)believer.

    I am not so much concerned with whether we Baptists emanated from Anabaptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, have always been here from the beginning etc., that doesn't concerns me. What does concern me is (1) Do our primary beliefs in the things that matter align up (Trinity, Regeneration, Sanctification etc). (2) Can we tolerate one another & maybe even learn from each other?
     
    #19 Earth Wind and Fire, Mar 18, 2012
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  20. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I need to explain to you that I am a born & bred Yankee from Pennsylvania & New Jersey so I have no idea what a Southern Baptist really is.....as I have indicated....I view myself as an orthodox theology based Christian believer. I am also a traditionalist, a Conservative (rare in this part of the country) & baptistic because i find that to be the correct teaching of the bible (which I view to be the inerrant word of God). Im not so much focused on you SB feuding amongst yourselves ....I do find it highly amusing however, as with correcting the slide of Christianity up here. Therefore my mission field is in stark contrast to yours....I interact with atheist & Roman Catholics mostly ..... and Ive never seen a Southern Baptist Pastor up here in all my 55 years of life.
     
    #20 Earth Wind and Fire, Mar 18, 2012
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