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Calvinism turns theology into philosophy

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Revmitchell, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    Feb 18, 2006
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    Calvinism goes beyond biblical statements in an attempt to systematize the mysteries of God. John Calvin was a philosopher by training; his Institutes are extremely philosophical. It was first written when Calvin was young and only new converted to Protestantism, when his mind was still filled with the philosophy that he had studied as a Catholic priest.

    True theology is simply believing and rightly interpreting the Bible, but God warns against philosophy and about leaving the simplicity of Christ (Col. 2:8; 2 Cor. 11:3).

    Philosophy is to use the human intellect and logic in an attempt to come to the truth apart from divine revelation. In the case of Calvinism, the problem is that he goes beyond the actual statements of Scripture and creates doctrine by human reasoning.

    For example, Arthur Pink states, “If then God has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass then He must have decreed that vast numbers of human beings should pass out of this world unsaved to suffer eternally in the Lake of Fire. Admitting the general premise, is not the specific conclusion inevitable?” (p. 84).

    The answer is that Pink’s premise is wrong and so, therefore, is the conclusion. To say that God has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, is to go beyond what the Bible teaches. The Bible says He “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:11), but that is not the same as actually foreordaining everything. And to build on this faulty platform by claiming that God must have decreed that vast numbers of human beings should pass out of this world unsaved, is to allow human logic to assume the place of divine revelation.

    Again, Pink says, “Now if God had willed their salvation, would He not have vouchsafed them the means of salvation? Would He not have given them all things necessary to that end? But it is an undeniable matter of fact that He did not” (p. 83).

    This is all human reasoning. But what saith the Word of God? It says that God did will the salvation of all (1 Tim. 2:3-6; 2 Pet. 3:9) and did provide for it (1 Jn. 2:2), but He also gave man a choice to believe or disbelieve (Jn. 3:16).

    Here is another example of the philosophical approach of Calvinism. Pink says, “Now all will acknowledge that from the foundation of the world God certainly fore-knew and fore-saw who would and who would not receive Christ as their Saviour, therefore in giving being and birth to those He knew would reject Christ, He necessarily created them unto damnation” (p. 82).

    The authority for this statement is not the plain teaching of Scripture but the author’s human reasoning. Pink confuses foreknowledge with forewilling. A parent gives his children many choices and greater liberty as they grow older and he knows that they will make mistakes and he knows the consequences of those mistakes beforehand, but when the children do wrong that is not to say that the parent forewilled it.

    In this context, it is important to observe that Calvinism is not simple; it is very complicated. James White often makes the claim that Dave Hunt, who has debated him in print on this subject, doesn’t understand Calvinism, even though he is intelligent and has studied the issue diligently. This highlights the complexity and philosophical nature of Calvinism. It results in an elitist mentality. Consider some of the terms that James White uses in his debate with Dave Hunt: compatibalism, monergism versus synergism, electing grace vs. irresistible grace, effectual calling vs. general calling, effective atonement vs. hypothetical atonement, libertarian free will vs. the bondage of the will. Other Calvinists speak of objective grace and subjective grace, natural ability and moral ability, mediate vs. immediate imputation of Adam’s sin, supralapsarianism, sublapsarianism, infralapsarianism, desiderative vs. decretive will, and antecedent hypothetical will.

    I believe that Calvinism is more akin to philosophy than to sound Bible theology and that it has left the simplicity that is in Christ.