True calvinism

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by billwald, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. billwald

    billwald
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    from another website. What say you all??

    -------------------------------------------------------
    It comes from the Institutes, Book IV, chapter 1, sections 12-14. I copied them from my Ford Lewis Battle's translation which is included in Ages Digital Library's Calvin Collection.

    *12. HEEDING THE MARKS GUARDS AGAINST CAPRICIOUS SEPARATION
    The pure ministry of the Word and pure mode of celebrating the sacraments are, as we say, sufficient pledge and guarantee that we may safely embrace as church any society in which both these marks exist. The principle extends to the point that we must not reject it so long as it retains them, even if it otherwise swarms with many faults.

    What is more, some fault may creep into the administration of either doctrine or sacraments, but this ought not to estrange us from communion with the church. For not all the articles of true doctrine are of the same sort. Some are so necessary to know that they should be certain and unquestioned by all men as the proper principles of religion. Such are: God is one; Christ is God and the Son of God; our salvation rests in God's mercy; and the like. Among the churches there are other articles of doctrine disputed which still do not break the unity of faith. Suppose that one church believes—short of unbridled contention and opinionated stubbornness—that souls upon leaving bodies fly to heaven; while another, not daring to define the place, is convinced nevertheless that they live to the Lord. What churches would disagree on this one point? Here are the apostle's words: "Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be of the same mind; and if you be differently minded in anything, God shall reveal this also to you" [Philippians 3:15].

    Does this not sufficiently indicate that a difference of opinion over these nonessential matters should in no wise be the basis of schism among Christians? First and foremost, we should agree on all points. But since all men are somewhat beclouded with ignorance, either we must leave no church remaining, or we must condone delusion in those matters which can go unknown without harm to the sum of religion and without loss of salvation.

    But here I would not support even the slightest errors with the thought of fostering them through flattery and connivance. But I say we must not thoughtlessly forsake the church because of any petty dissensions. For in it alone is kept safe and uncorrupted that doctrine in which piety stands sound and the use of the sacraments ordained by the Lord is guarded. In the meantime, if we try to correct what displeases us, we do so out of duty. Paul's statement applies to this: "If a better revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first be silent".

    From this it is clear that every member of the church is charged with the responsibility of public edification according to the measure of his grace, provided he perform it decently and in order. That is, we are neither to renounce the communion of the church nor, remaining in it, to disturb its
    peace and duly ordered discipline.

    13. SCANDAL IN THE CHURCH NO OCCASION FOR LEAVING IT
    In bearing with imperfections of life we ought to be far more considerate. For here the descent is very slippery and Satan ambushes us with no ordinary devices. For there have always been those who, imbued with a false conviction of their own perfect sanctity, as if they had already become a sort of airy spirits, spurned association with all men in whom they discern any remnant of human nature. The Cathari of old were of this sort, as well as the Donatists, who approached them in foolishness. Such today are some of the Anabaptists who wish to appear advanced beyond other men.

    There are others who sin more out of ill-advised zeal for righteousness than out of that insane pride. When they do not see a quality of life corresponding to the doctrine of the gospel among those to whom it is announced, they immediately judge that no church exists in that place. This is a very legitimate complaint, and we give all too much occasion for it in this most miserable age. And our cursed sloth is not to be excused, for the Lord will not allow it to go unpunished, seeing that he has already begun to chastise it with heavy stripes. Woe to us, then, who act with such dissolute and criminal license that weak consciences are wounded because of us! But on their part those of whom we have spoken sin in that they do not know how to restrain their disfavor. For where the Lord requires kindness, they neglect it and give themselves over completely to immoderate severity. Indeed, because they think no church exists where there are not perfect purity and integrity of life, they depart out of hatred of wickedness from the lawful church, while they fancy themselves turning aside from the faction of the wicked.

    They claim that the church of Christ is holy [Ephesians 5:26]. But in order that they may know that the church is at the same time mingled of good men and bad, let them hear the parable from Christ's lips that compares the church to a net bin which all kinds of fish are gathered and are not sorted until laid out on the shore [Matthew 13:47-58]. Let them hear that it is like a field sown with good seed which is through the enemy's deceit scattered with tares and is not purged of them until the harvest is brought into the threshing floor [Matthew 13:24-3-]. Let them hear finally that it is like a threshing floor on which grain is so collected that it lies hidden under the chaff until, winnowed by fan and sieve, it is at last stored in the granary [Matthew 3:12]. But if the Lord declares that the church is to labor under this evil—to be weighed down with the mixture of the wicked—until the Day of Judgment, they are vainly seeking a church besmirched with no blemish.

    14. PAUL AND THE NEEDS OF HIS CONGREGATIONS
    But, they cry out, it is intolerable that a plague of vices rages far and wide. Suppose the apostle's opinion here again answers them. Among the Corinthians no slight number had gone astray; in fact, almost the whole body was infected. There was not one kind of sin only, but very many; and they were no light errors but frightful misdeeds; there was corruption not only of morals but of doctrine. What does the holy apostle—the instrument of the Heavenly Spirit, by whose testimony the church stands or falls—do about this? Does he seek to separate himself from such? Does he cast them out of Christ's Kingdom? Does he fell them with the ultimate thunderbolt of anathema? He not only does nothing of the sort; he even recognizes and proclaims them to be the church of Christ and the communion of saints [1 Corinthians 1:2]! Among the Corinthians quarrels, divisions, and jealousies flare [1 Corinthians 1:11; 3:3; 5:1; 6:7; 9:1 ff.]; disputes and altercations burgeon together with greed; an evil deed is openly approved which even pagans would detest [1 Corinthians 5:1]; the name of Paul (whom they ought to have honored as a father) is insolently defamed; some mock the resurrection of the dead, to the destruction of the whole gospel as well [1 Corinthians 15:19]; God's free gifts serve ambition, not love [cf. 1 Corinthians 13:5]; and many things are done without decency or order. Yet the church abides among them because the ministry of Word and sacraments remains unrepudiated there. Who, then, would dare snatch the title "church" from these who cannot be charged with even a tenth part of such misdeeds? What, I ask, would those who rage with such churlishness against presentday churches have done with the Galatians, all but deserters of the gospel, among whom this same apostle still recognized churches [Galatians1:2]?*
     
  2. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Bill, I know your Reformed but I did not know you were Calvinistic. I myself have been plugging away at Institutes but havent run across this yet..... will look at it later.:wavey:
     
  3. billwald

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    I am probably Calvinistic and not Reformed but most people don't know the difference.

    I read the old translation of the Institutes twice and that convinced me to dump dispensationalism. Calvin is the clearest theological writer I have read. He in the most internally consistent and requires the fewest axioms/assumed stuff that is unprovable. The new translation is supposed to be easier to modern ears.
     
  4. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Then could you explain the differences for me at least. Im fairly new to this whole faith thing & most of what I know is through self education.

    Thanks
     
  5. billwald

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    The difference is emphasis. Compare the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Christian Reformed Church.

    The OPC emphasises TULIP (double predestination) and is politically right wing, is reconstructionist.

    Most Reformed people think they are Calvinist see http://calvinistcorner.com/tulip

    google christian reconstruction

    www.opc.org

    see wiki orthodox presbyterian church

    The CRC almost never mentions TULIP in its publications and leans left.

    www.crcna.org

    wiki christian reformed church north america
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Bill, I live in NJ. I originally went to a Presby USA till they got very liberal & then I switched to what I considered a more structured OPC Church. I found a good Pastor but he was fighting Hyper Calvinists who wanted control. When I went to the local CRC they were even more liberal than the PCUSA & the Pastor was afraid Id come in and start demand that Confessions & Doctrines would have to be observed (Which I would have because I'm Orthodox in my beliefs). Im personally not comfortable in either church & then there is the Credo / Paedo thing. I fall on the side of scriptural Credo interpretation.

    now I can appreciate statements of confession but Ive also found areas of conflict personally. And confessions do not always correspond with scripture but DoG is a doctrine (along with Predestination & Election) that I see in scripture so I stress them in a Christians walk.

    In my own limited study of Institutes, I find areas of conflict but generally I read it and stand amazed that a guy in his 20's could have written it & I believe that the HS must have assisted him in his endeavor to write the document (4 books in all)....I simply stand amazed.
     
    #6 Earth Wind and Fire, Apr 3, 2011
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  7. Dr. Walter

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    Calvin is correct that it takes both the pure ministry of the word (gospel) and pure mode of celebrating the ordinances to be regarded as a congregation of Christ. Calvin did not have the pure mode of celebrating the ordinances. No sacramentalist or pedobaptist does! The perversion of the ordinances is the perversion of the gospel.




    Pure human false opinion. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are types of the gospel and to pervert their gospel essentials is to pervert the gospel itself and preach "another gospel." This is precisely the perversion of pedobaptism and sacramentalistic communion.


    The Donatists, Anabaptists and Cathari were correct. There is no true church of Christ where there is no true gospel and true gospel ordinances administered but rather a den of thieves and apostates. These groups simply maintained that true congregations of Christ were made up of regenerate repentant believers in a disciplined state rather than pedobaptistic unregenerates.

    Calvin totally peverted the parables in Matthew 13. These are parables about the "kingdom" not the congregations of Christ. This is the position universal visible and universal invisible churchites are forced to embrace because the congregations of Christ are a disciplined institution (Mt. 18:15-18; 2 Thes. 3:6; 1 Cor. 5).

    The Corinthian appeal is vain as well. Unlike the Corinthian congregations we now have the New Testament Scriptures and therefore there is no excuse for such perversion in the true congregations of Christ. Furthermore, if the Corinthian congregation would not have responded to apostolic inspired rebuke they would have been completely leavened and disfellowshipped by other New Testament congregations.
     
    #7 Dr. Walter, Apr 3, 2011
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  8. Tom Butler

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    Dr. Walter, thank you for reminding me of something I had either forgotten or never thought about. That is, a perversion of the ordinances is a perversion of the gospel.

    To assign sacramental value to the Lord's Supper, and regenerative value to baptism is to get the gospel message wrong. And I've noticed that when they get them wrong, they get some other things wrong, as well.
     
  9. Eric B

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    It looks like what he is actually criticizing them for is belief in their own perfect sanctity, as opposed to any remnant of human nature in others, and thus appearing "advanced beyond other men".
    Regeneration and "discipline" do not produce this "perfect" state in men, unless you hold sanctification to be positional (sanctified by Christ's righteousness, not our own discipline).

    I have always disagreed with Calvin, but the one place where I see some of his followers as being on the ball is in their criticism of Pelagian perfectionism. (though Calvinism can be manipulated to teach the same thing by linking behavioral perfectionism as another fruit of "unconditional election", as some Lordshippers have been doing).
    Sorry, but this is just not seen in any Christians anywhere, so they must be misunderstanding what sanctification is, and hence, doing just what Calvin criticizes those heterodox groups for.
     
  10. billwald

    billwald
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    Dr. Walter

    You seem to disagree with the major opinions on this list. In your analysis, what is the most correct denomination?
     
  11. J.D.

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    EWF: Billwald is confusing "Reformed" denominations with "reformed" theology. They are not the same. PCUSA is liberal and many "Reformed" denominations are also. The Crystal Cathedral (Robert Schuler) belongs to a Reformed denomination.

    Typically, "calvinistic" means adherence to Dortian soteriology, i.e., the five points. "Reformed" typically means a broader acceptance of the theology of the reformers, to include their covenantal hermeneutic, ecclesiology (church is both universal and local), and so on.
     
  12. billwald

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    Do Lutherans consider themselves 'reformed?'
     
  13. Dr. Walter

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    These groups were always distorted and criticized for a "better than thou" theology. However, their intent was merely that holiness stemming from a regenerate membership is essential to the true character of New Testament congregations.

    Sacramental congregations were full of unregenerate baby sprinkled/poured members.
     
  14. Dr. Walter

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    Denominations are foreign to the New Testament. Each congregation must be considered individually.

    However, Calvin got the essentials correct. Where there is no true gospel ministry in the pulpit or in the ordinances there is no true New Testament congregation.

    There is no true gospel ministry in the ordinances of sacramental congregations and thus there is no true New Testament congregations.

    Congregations that preach a consistent gospel from the pulpit and in the ordinances have the essentials to begin consideration.
     
  15. billwald

    billwald
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    Dr. Walters: You have your doctorate in what????? From where????
     
  16. Dr. Walter

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    I do not hold to the conventional traditional Roman Catholic interpretation of "church" history. Apart from some of the apostolic father's I view the Ante-Nicene Fathers as the history of apostasy, which forms the foundation for the Nicene and Post-Nicene apostates.

    The Scriptures are final authority not tradition (Isa. 8:20). The so-called Church"Fathers" are the predicted apostasy (1 Tim. 4:1; Acts 20:29-31) as far as I am concerned.
     
  17. billwald

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    Dr. Walter:

    Not responsive! You claim to be a doctor. You put the title, Dr., in front of your name. You claiming to be either a licensed medical doctor of some sort, or an animal vet or you have earned an Ph.D. Which is it? Which institution awarded you a doctorate or licensed you as a doctor?
     
  18. FriendofSpurgeon

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    EWF -- You may want to consider an EPC or PCA church instead -- more conservative than the CRC and PCUSA, but not nearly as structured as the OPC. Just a thought. FOS
     
  19. Dr. Walter

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    I have explained "Dr. Walter" several times on this forum. That is simply my handle. You will note that many on this forum have handles which do not reflect their literal person. Educationally, I hold a Master of Theology degree and I am currently enrolled in a Doctor of Ministry program. I have an earned Bacherlor of Arts degree from a fully accredited college (Lexington Baptist College) and worked toward my Master's degree at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, Memphis, Tennesee and finished it at Landmark Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth TX. I am in the Doctor of Ministry program at the last named institution.

    However, I don't see what my educational background has to do with the Biblical evidence I place before you??? You can't respond to the evidence and so you make a personal attack and/or side track the discussion?????
     
    #19 Dr. Walter, Apr 9, 2011
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  20. billwald

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    >I have explained "Dr. Walter" several times on this forum. That is simply my handle.

    I missed those posts. I'll stop hasseling you. <G>
     

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