Opinions on faith and life

Series: The Hunt/White Debate, Part Two

2009-06-29

CALVINISM DENIED, by Dave Hunt

Predictably, I agree with Hunt’s assessment of the goal of Calvinism, and that it must be false if the God of the Bible is love. And I think his questions about the Calvinist view of non-Calvinists are valid and deserve clear, unambiguous answers. Either salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone, or it is by pledging allegience to the TULIP. Either non-Calvinists can be Christians, or they cannot. In my personal experience, some Calvinists would concede that I appear to be as saved as they do, but that no one can be sure until they die. But if, as Hunt quoted Piper and Gerstner as saying, no one can be a non-Calvinist Christian, then the answer is clear: they consider us lost.

The Anabaptist issue is one that I never hear Calvinists acknowledge, so I would agree with Hunt’s statement about Calvinists basically usurping the honor of having been the only Christian opposition to Rome. Resistance to Rome was not owned by Calvinists, their claims to the contrary notwithstanding. And my own research confirms Hunt’s claims about the early Reformers claiming that infant baptism was absolutely necessary for anyone to be saved. As Hunt stated, rejection of this was one of the two reasons Calvin had Michael Servetus burned at the stake. And lest anyone fault Hunt for giving such attention to these things, they should remember that these same atrocities committed by Rome were part of the alleged impetus for the Reformation in the first place.

I did not realize before reading this part of the debate that Calvin is the source of the teaching that water baptism is supposed to be the NT (New Testament) version of circumcision. As Hunt points out, not only is this idea completely absent from scripture, it could only apply to males. But Hunt does bring up a vital point: that anyone who claims to be a teacher of scripture must exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and not only knowledge of the scripture (see also 1 Cor. 13). The apostle Paul made it clear that leaders in the community of believers had to have the highest standards of conduct and love for people. And Hunt’s statement about the irony of Calvin’s sacramentalism is important as well.

Another point not typically admitted by Calvinists to non-Calvinists is the belief that the children of the elect are automatically saved. While this is the only consistent conclusion one can come to if also claiming inherited sin from unbelievers, neither is taught in scripture (see esp. Eze. 18). In the light of such basic errors, as well as lacking love for those who disagreed with him, how can Calvin be considered the great theologian many make him out to be?

Hunt ends this section with a return to the Augustinian roots of Calvin’s theological views. Even Piper admits (calling it a paradox), one of the most esteemed fathers of the Roman Catholic Church ’gave us the Reformation’. Calvinists need to answer Hunt’s question: What, then, of the boast that Calvinism is the Reformation?

These two posts have still only been an introduction to the details of the debate. The next one begins detailed argumentation from each side.

Part One ~ Part Three

5 Comments

Lin

"The Anabaptist issue is one that I never hear Calvinists acknowledge, so I would agree with Hunt’s statement about Calvinists basically usurping the honor of having been the only Christian opposition to Rome"

This is one area that really bothered me about the new reformers. They are spouting lots of rewritten history.

There is evidence that there has always been a remnant not aligned with the institutional church. but you have to dig for it. The Waldasians come to mind.

One much beloved reformer, John Knox, has completely had his history rewritten. They leave out such facts that he and a few men plotted the murder of Lord Darnley and others. And even wrote up a sermon beforehand that preached on the rightness of doing so!

He married a 16 year old girl when he was 50 and that did not even set well with his own peers.

But mostly, what he wanted was not just protestant religion but power. But they revere him!

Greg Anderson

I just finished reading the pdf file containing the highlights of the Hunt/White debate.

For the life of me, I still cannot figure out why people would want to put themselves under such a despotic belief system.

Is it rule by fear? Fear of not gaining the approval of others in the club?

Since we humans are social beings and tend to seek out others who are like us, I think that group approval plays a large role.

Lin

"And my own research confirms Hunt’s claims about the early Reformers claiming that infant baptism was absolutely necessary for anyone to be saved."

My research confirms the same thing. As a matter of fact, some reformers would even agree there is no biblical basis for infant baptism but went along with it for power? To not go against the ruling authorities which was state church?

Several of Zwingili’s students broke with him on this point and became the ’hunted’ because they got ’re-baptized’ as true believers. They had to run for their very lives because of this!

Paula Fether

Yes, the picture that emerges from study for oneself is quite different from the one given by many Reformers. As you point out, it is the character of these theologians that should cause us the most concern. Have they cut 1 Cor. 13 out of their Bibles? Does "correct" theology excuse all manner of sinful behavior?

Paula Fether

You know, of course, that every Calvinist will answer that they are only acknowledging God’s sovereignty (per their definition), and this because God chose them. They care not whether it is a despotic system, and in fact they seem to favor it-- because they are the lucky ones. It’s a very black/white, sense-of-relief kind of club, where those who are chosen not to be tortured love their captor for sparing them. So yes, it amounts to an elitist mentality.

They don’t like to hear that, but it’s true.