Opinions on faith and life

Theory vs. Reality

2009-08-06

Suppose you and your spouse are very wealthy, but unable to have children. You decide to adopt, and visit the local orphanage. There you look over the children and a set of twin boys catches your eye. You interview them at length, and discover that though they both have had behavioral issues, they are nearly indistinguishable. There is no reason to choose one over the other, and since you have the money and wanted two kids, you decide to adopt...

ONE of them.

“Why was I not chosen? Why am I to be left here alone? Why will you separate us?” asks one of the twins. You reply, “No reason, at least none you’d understand. Neither of you deserves to be adopted, with the trouble you’ve been in, so just accept the consequences of your actions.”

To the chosen one you say, “Rejoice! Do not grieve for your brother. You have been chosen for reasons known only to us, and you will love us and be grateful. You cannot refuse us and have nothing to say about it. But rejoice anyway, for you will live in luxury! Between now and the time we take you home, tell all the orphans that we will be back to choose another, but we’re not telling which one. Give them hope.”

Nice scenario, eh?

That’s Calvinism. Oh they’ll scream that this isn’t what they teach, but I’m not ignorant and have read reams of Calvinist literature. This is EXACTLY what they teach. I’ve heard many personal testimonies as well, where emphasis is put on the fact that no one deserves to be saved. But for God to choose salvation for a few while leaving the rest “in the orphanage”, giving false hope for them by commanding the “chosen” to spread the gospel to all, would be the most despicable evil. It is cold-blooded and nonsensical, the worst example to set for those God has commanded to have the highest standards and the greatest love.

Such illustrations elicit the most scathing indignation from many Calvinists, even some of the nicer ones. Although they claim “misrepresentation”, it is the stark reality they hate. Perhaps they have not thought through the implications of their core beliefs and are shocked by such exposure. But I would challenge them to come up with an illustration of their own which is less shocking and offensive, while faithfully representing their belief. If they cannot, isn’t it because their belief system is so complicated and requires so much explaining that, like theoretical physics, there are no comprehensible models to represent it?

Jesus used simple parables and illustrations to convey deep and profound ideas. I’m following Him.

37 Comments

Cheryl Schatz

I am curious. I haven’t read all the comments on every post, but where is "over there" that you are talking about?

I am in the process of doing research on the issue of Calvinism and am looking for a gentle, caring Calvinist to correspond with to bounce my research off of. I have tried dialogging with several Calvinists but I always get the "heave ho" from them as they slam the door in my face. One of them is a pastor that I really like and respect, and I was hoping that there could be good dialog but sadly all he can do is say that I am "unqualified" to be writing about Calvinism and that I am going to hurt the church if I go ahead and produce my DVD project on the issue of the Sovereignty of God. I find that so odd. Calvinists according to him do not harm the church by writing on their view, but anyone who is not a Calvinist is not allowed to produce their view or they are hurting the church? It seems to me that those who teach that Calvinism IS the gospel are the ones who divide the church by excluding those who are not Calvinists.

Is there any Calvinist out there who is interested in helping me through my research/writing stage and who is willing to evaluate my ideas from a Calvinist perspective? I feel that it is helpful to have one’s work checked out by both sides to make sure that it is respectful, accurate and effective.

Junkster

Paula, Sorry if I offended. I didn’t take it as an insult when you used terms cold-blooded and nonsensical; I just saw it as an expression of your personal perceptions. That’s how I meant my comment about people rejecting Calvinism due to their sense of logic; I didn’t intend to insult.

I’m kinda sad that you don’t want to continue the discussion, as I enjoy exploring other’s takes on Scripture and sharing my own, but I don’t want to be contentious. You’re the blog host, so you get to set the topic and say when its done. At least it wasn’t someone else coming in and shutting down the discussion (as happened over at our other favorite haunt again today). Sigh.

Junkster

A few years ago, I went to an all you can eat buffet. I paid $7.95, and for that price, I was allowed unlimited access to any food there I desired. In theory, I could have eaten each and every piece of food in the building for that one payment. There was no deficiency in the payment that would have prevented it from covering my doing so. But I never intended to eat everything in the restaurant before I entered it. In fact, I knew exactly what items I wanted, and how much of each I wanted, the moment I decided to go there. That’s not to say what I chose to eat was really any better than what I did not choose. In fact, many people would have chosen much fancier or more nutritious dishes, I’m sure. I chose what pleased me, simply because it pleased me, and it satisfied me to do so. And not one cent of the purchase price was wasted, even though it could have covered so much more than I ate, because I got exactly what I intended all along.

Paula Fether

Yet according to scripture, God did in fact intend to "eat everything in the restaurant" (John 12:32, 1 Tim. 2:4). And the "food" was given the opportunity to choose whether to hop onto the plate.

Be careful with analogies, especially when we have explicit scripture that it doesn’t fit. :-)

Junkster

It was just an example or illustration, as you requested. :) No human anaology of spiritual realities is perfect in every respect; they all break down at some point.

But, as you know, the "explicit scripture" you allude to is subject to interpretation, and the difference of interpretation is the core issue. If I’m not mistaken, you have argued in the past (and I would agree) that believers ought not to dogmatically assert that others are not adhering to Scripture, just because they hold to a different interpretaton of a disuputed passage regarding a secondary doctrine. It is not that Calvinists ignore or distort Scripture, nor that non-Calvinists do -- it just is that they disagree on what it is teaching, particularly in light what they see taught in other passages.

By the way, I don’t dispute the fundamental accuracy of your adoption illustration as representative of Calvinism. I’d use different wording related to the emotional aspects, and I certanly would not draw from it the same implications you see regarding evangelism ("false hope", "despicable evil", "cold-blooded and nonsensical"). But as to the aspect of the parent’s choice, I don’t see anything offensive in the idea that that the parents would choose one child and not another, and that their choice would not be based on anything either child said or did. It reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the workers on the vineyard in Matthew 20, and the owner’s statement to those who complained, "Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?". Or, to put it in a more theological wording, "God’s grace is not the basis for our duty."

Paula Fether

I can’t see a way to avoid the problem of God giving false hope when the gospel is to be given to all, yet only a few have the remotest chance of being chosen, when the choice is only made by God. I think that is the very essence of false hope.

And obviously, I do think it is evil to condemn people on the basis of their inability. More importantly, this very concept of what is just, fair, and compassionate is given to us by God. How could He demand a higher standard for us than for Himself? This, to me, is nonsense. It defies all that scripture tells me about the nature of God.

Regarding the parable of the workers, didn’t all of them get the same pay? Were any given privilege?

Junkster

The message of the gospel is that God has brought reconciliation between God and mankind through the atoning sacrifice of Christ. The command of the gospel is that we repent and believe in Christ for salvation from sin and reconciliation to God. The hope conveyed in the gospel is contained in the message (what God has done), not necessarily in the human response to it.

One can only claim that it provides false hope to offer salvation to those who are not elect if one assumes that those who hear the message are in some way inclined to consider it a hopeful or desirable message. But since the nature of fallen humanity is such that a lost person hates God and desires nothing to do with Him and His Son, the offer of salvation is to them nothing but foolishness and it provides no hope worth considering -- apart from God’s work in their lives. It isn’t as if people are clamoring to know and love and follow God if only He would choose them.

It is in no way unjust for God to require of us that which is His due, regardless of whether we possess the innate desire or power to perform what He wills. As I said, our duty (responsibility to obey) is not conditioned upon His grace (which enables that obedience). That may seem offensive to human sensibilities or it may not seem in keeping with human reasoning, but how we feel about something or how well we understand it is not the basis for judging its truth. (Unbelievers reject the exclusive claims of Christ as God’s only way of salvation because they it feels unfair or sounds unreasonable, but their objections on that basis don’t change the truth. Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the doctrine of the Trinity for similar reasons.) We must ask ourselves if we are willing to accept whatever the Bible teaches, regardless of how we feel about it or whether we comprehend it.

Not sure what you mean about the workers. Yes, they all received the same pay. Some were "privileged" to get that pay for less work. Those who received a full day’s pay for a full day’s work were not surprisingly upset that others received a full day’s pay for less work. The all day workers received what was due them, and the part day workers received generosity (a picture of grace). The duty of the all day workers to fulfill their commitment was not negated or lessened because they did not receive grace.

I’m sure I’m saying nothing you haven’t heard, considered, and rejected before. That’s ok, as I don’t intend or desire to convert you to my views. My only point is that I believe that what I believe is consistent with the teachings of Scripture and the nature of God, so it doesn’t seem at all offensive that God chooses whom He wills as He wills and apart from any foreseen thought, belief, or act on the part of the ones chosen. I personally find much more encouragement and joy (and basis for praise to the gory of God) in the thought of salvation as a certain, accomplished act for God’s chosen, rather than the idea of salvation as a potential, yet uncertain possibility for all.

P.S. Hope you don’t mind that I’m not using my name. It’s not that I don’t want you to know who I am; I just used a familiar screen name when I posted here, and there are certain folks that I’d rather not know that Junkster is me. But here’s a hint ... elsewhere we joined in solidarity when we were both been fussed at by the "blog police". :)

Paula Fether

First paragraph: totally agree. :-)

Second: Calvinism teaches that some non-elect think they are saved. No Calvinist, from all I’ve read, can ever say for sure that they are truly elect until they die and find themselves in heaven. And there are indeed many, such as Mother Theresa (ref. my article "Twisted Sister") who longed and sought for God yet admitted they never really found Him. And there are scriptures such as Deut. 4:29, Mt. 7:7, and Acts 17:27. This is why the preaching of the gospel can be a false hope.

Third: I agree that God is just in requiring His due, but not in requiring that which He decreed we cannot do. Our very sense of justice comes from God. He Himself has said that He is "not a respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34), and James repeated this fact in James 2:1. God does deserve our worship simply because He is God, but not even He can violate His own nature. And it is inherently unjust to condemn someone for inability. Yes, God is The Standard... but we see what that standard is through scripture, and it tells us that it is cruel to rebuke the lame for not walking or the physically blind for not seeing.

Fourth: all the workers got the same pay, and you were likening the parable to salvation. So the point I was making is that all were offered the same salvation. All had the ability to receive salvation. They were chosen but not coerced against their will, nor did the owner give them less than what was promised. A better question about that parable would be, did the owner deceive the ones who worked the longest? ;-) At any rate, this parable really doesn’t help the Calvinist cause.

Fifth: I understand, and of course disagree at a fundamental level. I could not rejoice at my (presumed but not known for sure till I reach heaven) salvation if I knew that God doomed even one person He could have forced to love Him. And that last thing is the real crux of what I see wrong with Calvinism: that God could ever accept the "love" of those whose "will" He had to change in order to produce it. We are made in the image of God, not a robot or corpse, and that image has not ceased to exist in the lost (Gen. 9:6, James 3:9).

Sixth: Aw come on, now I have to guess... :-P

Frozen Banana

Hello! Did any one miss me while I was way to busy? (road noise) :)

So, I don’t really mean to change the topic, but I’m on a quest. On the CBE blog a while back, I read that the infamous 1 Corinthians verse that says that women must be silent and not teach, actually says "not yet" in the original Greek. Does anyone here now if that is true? Or can someone point me in the right direction where I might find it out for myself? I hope that you all can understand what I’m asking. I need lunch and a slower schedule, lol!

Back on topic, Calvinism was well explained.

Paula Fether

Why of course we did, FB! :-)

Do you mean 1 Tim. 2:12?

to-be-teaching yet to-woman not I-am-permitting not-yet to-be-domineering of-man but to-be in quietness

Thanks to Sue McCarthy who has posted at CBE (see link here to Suzanne’s Bookshelf), I take it as:

I am not even giving her permission to teach, much less to oppressively control the man; she must quiet down.

Junkster

The notion that there are some folks who think they are saved but really are not is not unique to Calvinism. And I have read many Calvinists who assert the possibility of full assurance of salvation in this life, including this one: http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/2023.htm.

That no one apart from God seeks God is not just a Calvinist idea, it is the explicit teaching of Romans 3:11.

The Bible asserts that God requires all to repent and believe (Acts 17:30). It also asserts that the repentance and faith required for salvation are not innate in mankind but come only as He imparts them (John 1:13, John 3:3, John 6:44). As you said, God cannot act contrary to His just nature. So if we see Him doing something in Scripture, what He is doing must be just, whether or not it appeals to our sensabilities or aligns with our personal concept of justice. Was God’s condemnation of Pharoah just, when the Bible says that it was God who hardened Pharoah’s heart? Was God just to punish Israel and Judah’s sins via nations even more snful then they were? These things might appear to us to be unjust, but they cannot be, for they are acts of a just God.

It was not my intent to liken the parable of the workers in the vineyard to salvation (though I believe that, in context, Jesus was saying to the Jews that they ought not be upset that He chose to give salvation to the Gentiles, who were latecomers). I just meant that the workers’ complaints about the owner’s graciousness to others reminded me of how some complain about how and when and why God’s choses to exhibit (or not exhibit) unmerited favor (grace) in salvation to some, when He owes it to none.

The love that God’s elect give to Him is in no way forced or coerced, and I know of no Calvinist who would claim that it is. It is a love freely given out of a new nature that is inclined toward loving God and a new will that desires to know, love, follow, and serve Him. It baffles me that anyone could find fault with the idea that God would give someone such a magnificent gift as the ability to see Him for His worth, just because He didn’t give everyone the same ability.

Reason will only get us so far -- I personally believe that people reject Cavinism because they are more beholden to their personal sense of logic and reason and emotion than to the teaching of Scripture. They would rather adhere to a system that makes sense to them than to trust that the ways of God are beyond their logic and reason.

Here’s another hint ... "Knock off all that divisive talk about operating systems and technologies!" :P

Paula Fether

Gotcha. (re. "hint")

I agree that assurance is not unique to Calvinism, but the point under debate is Calvinism, not other systems. My point is that Calvinism does give false hope. [Personally I support Eternal Security, but we can talk about that another time. ;-) ]

As for Rom. 3:11, it is not a doctrinal statement but a quote of poetry, of when David was feeling extreme remorse over his sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah. And the context begins with "What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew?" That some do seek God is evident in various places in scripture, along with God’s commands for all to seek Him. To say that all who seek God were first chosen by God to do so is, IMHO, a circular argument.

I’ve covered the verses you mentioned in other posts, but I’ll comment briefly here for convenience. John 1:13, in context, is simply saying that salvation is a spiritual, not a physical, birth. Look at the verse just before it: "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God". First people receive by believing and then God gives them the right to be adopted.

I don’t see how John 3:3 teaches Calvinism. Nobody disagrees that God gives life. The disagreement is over whether God, in His sovereignty, granted man the ability and free will to repent and be saved.

Regarding John 6:44, who does the Father draw? The answers is in John 12:32 and 1 Tim. 2:3-4. As for Pharoah, note that his heart was hardened, which is a change of degree, not state. Wasn’t Pharaoh already worshiping other gods, keeping the Israelites as slaves? Since he was already in a lost state, what need would there have been for God to harden his heart? And where does scripture tell us that God never gave Pharaoh, or anyone else, a chance to repent?

I agree that the parable of the workers is about Jews being indignant that God would also allow Gentiles to be saved. But I don’t agree that it can be used as an illustration of forced salvation (more technically, forced change of will or nature to bring about "willful" salvation). Look at the context; it’s about "the kingdom of heaven" before the cross, said to Jews. And the final statement Jesus makes is, "So the last will be first, and the first will be last." How do you understand that statement in light of the parable? I see it as God leveling the playing field, not inventing a new form of elitism.

I must not have explained clearly about the "love" of the elect being coerced. The point is that God has to force a change of nature in order for them to "choose" to love Him. That is coercion, no matter how far removed the act is from the result. It is like programming a robot to "love" its creator. From the robot’s perspective, its love is genuine and free, but from the maker’s perspective, it is not. Could you accept "love" from someone who had to be brainwashed in order to "freely" choose to love you? Likewise, such a salvation from God would not be a gift but simply an imposition, and since He didn’t give it to all, He is very unjustly (according to what scripture tells us about His nature) condemning those who could not help but reject Him.

You said, "I personally believe that people reject Calvinism because they are more beholden to their personal sense of logic and reason and emotion than to the teaching of Scripture. They would rather adhere to a system that makes sense to them than to trust that the ways of God are beyond their logic and reason." Ironically, I believe that it is Calvinism which is extremely dependent upon high philosophy over scripture. I spent years in a Christian message board run by staunch Calvinists, who were very strict about staying on the topic of logic. They began with "logically, there cannot be free will" and then interpreted scripture accordingly. I have met many other Calvinists since then, and the vast majority quote philosophers and theologians more than scripture.

I also think that such statements are insulting to non-Calvinists, because they imply that rejection of Calvinism is rejection of scripture. Personally, my reasons for rejecting Calvinism are scripture and spirit. I know God and have walked with Him many years, and it is unthinkable to me that He would do such an evil thing as make us live up to higher moral standards than He does. This is about the definition of love and justice and mercy, not being uncomfortable with scripture. I could turn around and insult Calvinists by saying that they are cold and their God is sadistic, and I’ve heard many atheists base their hatred of God on these very teachings of Calvinism.

But conversations with Calvinists, even the rare nice ones like yourself, always eventually reach the point of insult. So I think we have kept this civil so far but should probably either put it on hold for a while or drop it. There are plenty of posts here on the topic already, not the least of which is the series I did recently on the Hunt/White debates. But I do appreciate your willingness to answer my challenge, and the spirit in which you’ve done so. Thanks!

Christiane

How does a Calvinist rationalize this:

all mankind is created ’in the image of God’ and His Laws are engraved on their hearts.

Do they deny this?

I have tried to understand Calvinism out of respect for the many Baptist people who swear by it, but I cannot. Love, L’s

Frozen Banana

Thank you for enlightening me! Really clears up the whole "women as pastors" bit. Is there anywhere I could see this words for myself in the original Greek? I asked about this because I had a friend that went to his church a couple days ago, and walked out because there was a women who was going by the title of "pastor" preaching. He was brought up "women must be silent". Sad that it has kept so many down. :( Why hasn’t the fact that this was willfully mistranslated spread around? Does nobody wants to hear it? Don’t they know that their theology is unBiblical? ;)

Do all the readers here have a list of over-used comp shticks yet? I know I have a list of my favorites (in my head).

Christiane, I don’t understand Calvinism either. What I don’t understand the most is, where did this conception of God come from? And why must one accept all of Calvinism as a whole, or reject it as a whole? (Though I have heard of three-point Calvinists and the suchlike.)

Paula Fether

FB,

One of my favorite place to see the Greek is Scripture4All. And as I always say, the whole clergy/laity paradigm is wrong, such that I don’t even think men should have the title "pastor". ;-)

On the all/nothing nature of Calvinism, it’s inherent in the system. Without Total Inability, none of the other petals of the TULIP can stand; they all flow from and depend upon that T.

Paula Fether

Junkster,

The difference I see in what we both have said is that while I described beliefs, you described people. I openly and passionately criticize the teachings of Calvinism, but your statement was against people. That’s where I think the line has to be drawn.

I too am sorry to shut this down, but I’m willing to continue if the focus is kept on the teachings and arguments instead of the people who make them. I love a good debate as much as anyone, and feel stifled in most blogs and boards because of heavy censorship. But I do think that it is possible, and necessary, to see shooting the messenger as a conversation stopper.

So if you are game to keep going under that simple rule, I’d be happy to continue. :-)

And I had to walk away from the computer after seeing the "cops" show up again "over there". I only wish everyone shared your refreshing and rare respect for homeowners. :-)

Junkster

Paula, I agree that one should address issues and not attack people. But in this case I think both of us were doing the former. The beliefs you referred to are held by people, and my statement about people was directed at their beliefs, not at their character.

Knowing how vitriolic some can be who proudly claim the label of "Calvinist" (or Reformed, or follower of the Doctrines of Grace or whatever label they prefer), I suspect that you’ve been attacked in the past for your views and your passionate defense of them. So I don’t blame you for being cautious. But I fear that now I would be walking on egg shells to avoid another unintended offense, so you are probably wise to suggest we cease the discussion for now. Perhaps we can take it up again at another time.

Blessings, Me

Paula Fether

Junkster,

I still see "people reject Cavinism because they have a poor view of scripture" as different from "Calvinism’s teachings are evil because of their portrayal of God" because the former judges motives while the latter examines a teaching. Of course people are the sources of all arguments and theologies, but then if we take arguing against their ideas as personal attacks, all debate is ad hominem.

But I’ll tell you what. If you don’t mind me judging the motives of Calvinists, or would at least show me where you would draw the line, we can still continue. I’ll operate on whatever level you feel comfortable, even "no holds barred", as long as the rules are the same for both of us. There’s nothing I hate more than having to walk on those eggshells. :-)

Paula

Junkster

Paula, Hmmmm ... if we can’t even agree on what constitutes a personal attack versus a doctrinal critique, it doesn’t bode well for a civil discussion. I did not say that non-Calvinists have a poor view of Scripture or that they don’t believe Scripture. That’s not at all what I think, so it didn’t occur to me that my words might be taken that way. What I did say was that I personally believe that people reject Calvinism because they are "more beholden to their personal sense of logic and reason and emotion than to the teaching of Scripture." Perhaps I should have said "than to what I believe Scripture teaches", but it seemed to go without saying that I was referring to my own doctrinal perspective.

Had I truly stated that non-Calvinists don’t believe the Bible, you would have every reason to take offense at that as a personal slam. Just as I would see it as offensive if I thought you were intending to say that I, as a Calvinist, am teaching evil or that I don’t believe what the Bible says about the nature of God. But I don’t think that was your intent; I choose to believe that you are just saying that you believe the Bible teaches something other than what I believe it teaches.

As to motives/people vs. beliefs/teaching -- in my view the two can’t be completely separated; the line is not always clear. I believe that we all have certain grids or presuppositions through which we view Scripture and that to have a meaningful dialog we have to be willing to acknowledge and examine them, and we also have to be willing to fairly and objectively (as much as possible) assess those of others.

Even though I enjoy a good doctrinal discussion or debate, ultimately I place even greater value on sincere devotion to God as evidenced in a life of sacrificial love and service toward God and people. I have dear Christian family and friends who totally disagree with me on soteriology (and eschatology, and ecclesiology, and baptism, etc., etc.) and I see in them more love for God and people than has ever been evident in my own life. Because of that I don’t place too much stock in my own doctrinal viewpoints, knowing that if I understand all mysteries and all knowledge and have not love, I am nothing.

Paula Fether

Junkster,

I still disagree, but I need practice overlooking insults anyway. :-) The important thing is, as you said, to remember we are spiritual siblings and not enemies. So please continue, and don’t worry about this. K?

Junkster

Paula, I can’t imagine what in my last comment you still diagree with, as it all makes perfect sense to me. :) Are we just talking past each other rather than to each other?

Paula Fether

Well, in light of how things have been going lately "over there", I’m sure it’s just a case of my poor communication skills. :-P

But this topic isn’t exactly known for bringing out the best in people. But I do agree that this isn’t something to divide over, and it ultimately has no bearing on the gospel we preach or the lives we live. I just wanted you to know you can speak freely, but maybe we’ll just have to leave this topic alone. We did try though. :-)

Junkster

Paula, You comuunication skills are excellent, and you’ve been doign a grat job of contending for the truth "over there". I’m sure we will have further discussions on this an other topics in the future.

Junkster

I just wish I would do a better job of proofreading for typos before I click on Submit. Too dependant on spell check, I guess.

Paula Fether

Tanx bro! :-)

Hillary@QuiveringDaughters

Excellent analogy! I will be remembering this!!!

Paula Fether

Thanks Hillary, and welcome! :-)

Paula Fether

Sorry, "over there" would be Wade’s blog, specifically attacks on the gospel at this post.

Maybe our own Junkster would be game to do an evaluation?

I agree that it is a double standard to make pro-Calvinism the gospel yet deny the divisiveness of such a claim. If, as they say, they preach the same gospel, and if, as experience tells me, Calvinists don’t live any more holy lives than non-Calvinists, and if, as both sides assert, scripture is held in the highest regard, one can only call insistence upon Calvinism a division in the Body.

Paula Fether

PS: In the series I did here on the Hunt/White debate, White claimed Hunt was unqualified too. It seems to be a common charge. Even scholars the caliber of Laurence Vance don’t get any respect from them. It’s quite elitist.

Cheryl Schatz

Hi Paula,

I don’t know who "Junkster" is so perhaps you could give them a head’s up and see if he/she would be game.

The pastor that I have been communicating with was also one who wrote Dave Hunt before he produced his book on Calvinism and warned him that he too was unqualified. It seems like I am in a fairly large group with some distinguished people who are just like me (unqualified). It is also interesting that this pastor couldn’t get through my DVDs on women in ministry to give a review because he is good friends with John MacArthur and didn’t want to come face to face with any refutation of MacArthur’s view on women. For the most part this pastor is willing to stand for truth when it comes to a review of anyone else’s view except for MacArthur. I have decided that I will not be pushing anyone who isn’t willing. After all I don’t have irresistible grace. :)

Paula Fether

Junkster has commented here, but I’ll email him and ask if he is interested in discussing it with you. But it’s my understanding that he’s not a 5-pointer (not sure though).

To pretty much every Calvinist I’ve ever met or read about, nobody is qualified to question their system. They define "great theologians" foremost by whether they are Calvinist, then turn around and declare that "all the great theologians have been Calvinists".

It would be interesting to take a survey and find out which, if any, non-Calvinists they’d consider qualified.

But yes, this sort of unwillingness to be questioned isn’t confined to Calvinism. It seems that the "church", like the world, is "a respecter of persons" and demands credentials that are only granted to those that toe the party line.

Junkster

Who among us is "qualified" to handle the Word of God, except that we all have His anointing and His Spirit within? :)

I’ll own up to all 5 points. But I won’t claim that Calvinism is the gospel, or a better version of the gospel. From what I hear, that may put me in a minority amongst today’s Calvinists.

I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss / review Cheryl’s work on this topic. Not sure if I have the requisite credientials or even character desired, but I can honestly say that I do my best to approach theological differences with an irenic spirit.

Cheryl Schatz

Junkster,

You are definitely irenic. To me that means you are qualified in discussing theological issues with me ’cause the fruit of the Spirit is evident in your life from the little that I have seen. I am going on vacation for a week in a couple of days so I will be out of touch for a bit. If Paula could send Junkster my email address I would love to pick your brains on the issue of Calvinism. Mr. Junkster just send me an email and we will connect that way so I don’t have to make my email address public here. Thanks a bunch!

Paula Fether

"So let it be written, so let it be done." --Pharaoh, The Ten Commandments

Lydia

It is my understanding that one must subscribe to all 5 points to be a bonafide Calvinist.

Not sure but Wade might subscribe to all 5 points. You might want to try him, too.

Cheryl Schatz

Thanks Lydia for the suggestion. I am just leaving on vacation today but I will consider that for the future.

Predestination/Election - Page 4 - Christian Forums

[...] free will. It makes no sense. Yes it is a sick game, one of false hope; you might be interested in my blog post about it. __________________ Legalism: Doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons. [...]