Where do Calvinists make their errors?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Skandelon, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Three mistakes Calvinists make in their interpretation of scripture:

    1. They misapply passages that are in reference to the way in which God chose his divinely appointed apostles by applying them to the method God has chosen to save all souls. Proof that God sovereignly hand picks his messengers in no way proves that He sovereignly hand picks who will and will not believe their message.

    2. They fail to recognize that in the two passages that the term predestination is mentioned it is in reference to those who already believe. Believers are "predestined to be conformed to Christ's image." And believers are "predestined to be adopted as his sons." Neither of these goals have been accomplished in our lives but if we believe in Christ, God has predetermined that we too will be "adopted as His son and conformed to his image."

    3. They mistakenly apply passages having to do with God's choosing to save the Gentiles while temporarily hardening the Jews to support their view of the depravity of man's heart and God's election of certain individuals. Passages having to do with the hardened Jews are often used by Calvinists to support their doctrine of Total Depravity. Passages having to do with the revelation of God's choice to allow Gentiles entrance into the Covenant of grace are used to support their doctrine of Unconditional Election.

    Calvinists who can objectively evaluate their own position will see their errors.
     
  2. Hardsheller

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    But yet the overwhelming majority of Baptists who formed the SBC in 1845 were of the Calvinistic persuasion. How do you account for the flip-flop on theology the SBC has made in its short(relatively speaking) history? And given this historical precedence to flip-flop, how can you be sure it isn't happening again?
     
  3. Skandelon

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    They were making the same mistakes as Augustine did when he first systematized the scripture from his Latin translation (he couldn't read Greek). Western thought is largely depentant upon Augustine's work.

    Its really interesting when you study the cyclical nature of this Calvinistic doctrine. Calvinism has a tendency to resurge when people are ignorant of the real issues at hand. Romans 9, Eph 1 and other such passages can be confusing and when someone confronts you with the Calvinistic system while quoting such passages out of context it can be quite convincing. But when one understands the biblical context of judicial hardening along with the mystery of the Gentiles being ingrafted and the apostles being uniquely appointed these passages are not nearly as convincing.

    I am quite sure that people who have all the facts wouldn't be "dragged kicking and screaming" to Calvinism (as is the testimony of many Calvinists) if they indeed had all the information necessary to adopt a correct soteriology.

    Unfortunately, once one adopts such a system it is very difficult to step back out of it and objectively view the issues. Pride often prevents us from being willing to question our own doctrinal stances.

    I could be wrong. I just don't think I am...at least for today. [​IMG]
     
  4. russell55

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    Oooh.....Good debate strategy. If you are unsuccessful in debating the message, then by all means insult the messenger.

    Would you care to go through your three little points and prove them contextually and scripturally? Anyone can make bold sweeping statements. Start with number 1. Show it to be true.
     
  5. Monergist

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    Skandelon,
    Would you be so kind as to tell me where I can get a Bible that will tell me which verse is for Jews, which is for Apostles, which is for Gentiles, which is for believers, etc, so I won't fall into the error of applying the wrong verse of scripture to me. If you have a list of the verses that apply to believers, that would be real helpful, if you would please send it.

    And, oh, would you do me one more favor? Which particular group was Paul addressing this verse too... Or was it only for his friend Timothy?

    2 Tim. 3:16 (ESV)
    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righ teousness,
     
  6. Skandelon

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    It wasn't meant to be an insult, I'm sorry if it seemed that way. Forgive me. I was merely stating what I believe to be true.

    Certainly... I will give a couple of examples for the sake of time and simplicity:

    1. Calvinists often refer to Jonah as one being "forced" by God to follow his will as a proof that God is not a respector of man's will in salvation. Proof that God sovereignly calls the messenger is not proof that he sovereignly calls their audience to respond. Another example of this is John 15:16 where Jesus speaks about choosing the apostles, "You did not choose me but I chose you..." Once again, this does give us some insight on apostolic authority by showing us the unique and divine way in which God appointed his messengers, but that is no proof he chose those who hear their message in that same way.

    I'll stop there for now and deal with issues you might have... in love [​IMG]
     
  7. Skandelon

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    You can pick one up at any Christian Book store or even in a hotel bed side table.

    Oh, you are being sarcastic. I get it.

    I didn't say the scripture wasn't profitable or even applicable for us all today. The issue has to do with which verses are defining the nature of men in general and which are defining the nature of a hardened Jew in the first century church. Or, which versus are describing God choosing to allow Gentiles, as a group, entrance into his covenant of grace and which, if any, are describing God choosing certain individuals to the neglect of others.

    Please don't think I am teaching that the scripture is not profitable to us all. That would be a gross misrepresentation of my views. I just believe that proper hermenuetics demand us to consider the audience, their circumstances and the author's intent when writing. Those are the issues I'm addressing here...with respect [​IMG]
     
  8. Monergist

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    I can appreciate a desire for proper hermenuetics. And these are all questions that we need to consider.

    In point 1 of your first post you say
    .

    But in point 3 you say
    Which is it? You can't have it both ways. Either God DOES NOT harden (pt 1) or He does (pt 3). John 12: 40 tells us that He does.

    John 12:40 (ESV)
    "He has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their heart,
    lest they see with their eyes,
    and understand with their heart, and turn,
    and I would heal them."



    Now you may say that this applies only to specific Jews, but that really is beside the point. The point is "What is God's role in salvation?..does He blind?..does He harden? And the answer is clearly YES.
     
  9. russell55

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    Well, I've never seen it used to prove that. I've seen it used to prove that God can keep on working on someone until they become willing to do what He wants without overriding their will. Jonah has no bearing whatsoever on why I believe people are chosen to salvation.

    Neither, for that matter does the "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" quote. I will agree with you that that is about Christ chosing the apostles.

    Next?
     
  10. Skandelon

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    I agree. God does harden. That is my point. In point 1 I never said that God didn't harden people, I was merely pointing out that God's sovereign choice of prophets and apostles doesn't prove that he chooses us in the same manner.

    I'm glad you bring up John 12 because a very well known proof text for Calvinism is in John 6 where Jesus is speaking to Jews and says, "No one can come to me unless the Father enables him..."

    Calvinists often use this passage to show that men are born Totally Unable or Depraved and must be "enabled" to come to Christ in salvation, but that was not the intent of this verse. Calvinists assume that the men Jesus is speaking to can't come to him because they were born totally depraved, that's not what the passage you just quoted says. It says they can't believe because they have been hardened.

    We know from Romans 9-11 that this hardening of the Jews does not mean they will certainly be condemned to hell. They may be provoked to jealousy and saved. Their hardening is temporary while Christ's purpose on earth is accomplished. Only certain Jews were "enabled" to come to Jesus and be his apostles, the rest were being actively hardened by God. This is why Jesus went on to say, "Did I not choose you the Twelve." in John 6.
     
  11. Skandelon

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    Well, I've never seen it used to prove that. I've seen it used to prove that God can keep on working on someone until they become willing to do what He wants without overriding their will. Jonah has no bearing whatsoever on why I believe people are chosen to salvation.

    Neither, for that matter does the "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" quote. I will agree with you that that is about Christ chosing the apostles.

    Next?
    </font>[/QUOTE]You are more reasonable than some Calvinist I have spoken to, which does make it easier to converse about the more obvious texts. I suspect, however, that once we get to the more complex texts you will take issue. Before we go there I want to point out some of these other less complex texts. For example, when Paul speaks about his being "set apart from birth" and his Damascus road experience Calvinist shouldn't automatically assume that God deals with you and I in the same manner. I believe that deminishes apostlic authority. What are your feelings on that issue?
     
  12. russell55

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    I think that Paul's conversion shows how far God can go to ensure someone's salvation without forcing them to believe. I do not believe everyone has Paul's exact experience in conversion.

    The apostolic authority comes from the special revelation they had, not the particular way they were converted.
     
  13. gb93433

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    Try Romans 9-11.
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    But election to salvation is not limited to prophets and apostles. Paul says it is about salvation (2 Thess 2:13) and the non prophetical and non apostolic Thessalonians had been chosen by God (1 Thess 1:4). Don't make the mistake of limiting election to less than Scripture limits it to.

    Where was this?? As many times as I have read John 6, I have never seen any reference to "hardening." Perhaps it would be better to stick with Scripture here.

    The hardening of Rom 9-11 is a national hardening. Individuals Jews may repent and be saved. They will be members of the church. But at the end of this age, when teh fulness of the Gentiles has come in (ask yourself how will God know when its "full"), then Israel will be saved. That is a reference to Zech 12 and the prophecy of end time salvation and restoration for the Jewish nation.
     
  15. Skandelon

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    The key words here are "I think." You can only presume based upon you doctrinal bias. Don't get upset with me on that, I have to presume as well. My point is we can't know simply based upon these references, so they shouldn't be used as conclusive support. That is all I'm saying.

    So says you. Again you are speculating. I suggest that Paul wouldn't have pointed out his being "set apart from birth" and he unique conversion experience if it were "normal." I don't mean normal as in the circumstances have to be exact, but normal in the since that God sovereignly intervened in Paul's life in a supernatural way. This, once again, cannot be used as conclusive evidence that God can or would deal with everyman in the same manner.
     
  16. russell55

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    It wasn't normal. It was even different from the experiences of the other apostles. It would be a mistake to develop doctrine from it, and I really don't think anyone really does that anyway. They may use it as an example of what they think they see in the teaching passages, but they do not develop their doctrine from Paul's experience.

    Could we get to the teaching passages? The ones that teach us about salvation?
     
  17. Skandelon

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    I don't believe I'm limiting it. Look at the two verses you used as support for your view that God chooses certain individuals to be saved to the neglect of all others. (This is a perfect example of what I was refering to in number 3):

    You assume that when Paul says "give thanks..for YOU" and "chose YOU" that he must be talking about individuals who were elected to believe to the neglect of those poor "non-elect" people. I don't think so. Why?

    Consider the audience. The church at Thessolonica was a Gentile congregation.

    Consider the author: Paul, a Jewish apostle to the Gentiles.

    Consider the context: Paul is fighting with Jews everyday over the issue of allowing Gentiles into the church. Judiazers are debating him and Jews are persecuting him. Why? Because he is preaching a message that allows those dirty Gents to be apart of God's covenant.

    In that context, isn't it quite possible Paul was simply saying, "I thank God that He chose to reveal his truth to you, the Gentile nation!"

    It makes more since in the context of what he is talking about in this passage. Look at the verses before:
    He is speaking about the delusion, or hardening that occurs in one who rejects the truth, which is what the Jews, as a nation are experiencing, then it would make perfect since for him to follow that up by thanking God that they aren't being hardened but that God has chosen to graft them into his covenant of grace. The same principle applies in the interpreation of 1 Thess 1:4. Paul could simply be acknowledging what the Jews are fighting him about, that the Gentiles have been chosen, that they are an elect nation as well.

    It's not in John 6, but in John 12 that John more clearly reveals the nature of Christ's audience. (notice that it is the same audience in both chapters)

    The term "fullness" here can have several interpretations not just the idea that there is a set number that God is waiting on to believe. It could mean the fullness of God's purpose in the Gentiles being ingrafted, which if you remember was to provoke jealousy in the hearts of the Jews so that they too might be saved.
     
  18. Skandelon

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    Like I said, I don't mean "normal" as in all the circumstances. I mean the normal in that God supernaturally handpicks them. That is unique to the divinly appointed messengers.

    I agree that is a mistake, but you're wrong if you don't think anyone really does that. I've debated many who use these passages as conclusive support for thier views. I'm glad to see that you are reasonable and objective enough not to make that same error.

    I'm covering some of those in my replies to others, but which passages would you like for me to discuss?
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    No, not really possible, because if that was what he was saying, then he would have said that. HE didn’t say that; in fact, he didn’t say anything like that. He gave thanks because God chose them from the beginning (eternity past) for salvation. The Gentiles have always had the truth of God. For the Thessalonians to get it was nothing new.

    The previous verses are about the tribulation period and the revelation fo the man of sin, where certain people will be deluded. The contrast is between those deluded and those chosen for salvation.

    There is nothing in 1 Thessalonians to support that.

    That’s convenient for you, but not supportable from the text.

    I can’t think of any place where “fullness” is used in that manner. It makes no real sense here.

    These kinds of suggestions seem to derive more from the desire to maintain your position than they do from the text.
     
  20. russell55

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    How about 1 Cor 1?
     

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