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The utter foreignness of Calvinism

March 13, 2010

In a recent article (that was actually not quite about Calvinism or free will at all), I had a commenter post several lengthy comments about these very things. Here are links to all of christianclarityreview’s comments. Each is pretty lengthy, so perhaps take some time to let each sink in.

Honestly, I didn’t know how to react when CCR first commented. It was so off-the-topic, so lengthy and foreign that I wondered if the comment were spam. But I decided to address it, to see what I’d get back.

And then I got responses! But the response from CCR was not what I expected. It zigged instead of zagging, answering in the unexpected (and, to my senses, “wrong,” way).

For example, CCR argued that atheists are deceiving themselves about their beliefs/lacks of beliefs, because they do not have free will, and the entire thought process about beliefs is mired in deceptive language about the illusion that beliefs are neutral, freely chosen.

To counter, I argued, “If people don’t have free will though, then who is deceiving them? God?”

Normally, I would think people would shudder at the thought. But over time, CCR revealed that yes, he does believe God hardens people’s hearts. It is useless to try to assess God in moral terms (e.g, “God is a reprehensible megalomaniacal tyrant”) because moral responsibility itself is a fantasy and illusion! Our moral repugnance from this characterization of God is not sensible, but is the role that we play as a being without “creating speech” (e.g., the ability to change things).

See what I mean by zigging instead of zagging?

I have often seen Mormons speak of Calvinism with great disdain…and now, honestly, I can see why. (I’m a bit incredulous as to whether to believe CCR represents Calvinism well or if not…it seems a bit too abrasive to be legit.) The reason is simple. Free will is critical in Mormonism, first and foremost. It is central to the purpose of life, the universe, (and everything?)

In fact, Mormon beliefs hold free will against the alternative as a framing of ultimate good vs. ultimate evil. God’s plan (which Jesus agreed with and offered to work with) was to allow for free will, with an atoning sacrifice that could save people who would screw up. Satan, on the other hand, required no such thing…since not a single soul would be lost under his system. There would be no free will. Everyone would do the right thing.

Now, whether it was the lack of free will part or Satan’s audacity in having all the glory be to himself that made the plan sour, I dunno. But nevertheless, free will is key to the LDS beliefs about the plan of salvation.

I have heard it said then that the Calvinist god is even worse than Mormonism’s Satan. After all, Mormon Satan removed free will to have no one be lost.

But according to Calvinism (and what CCR advocates in particular), some people’s hearts are hardened by God himself and they will not be saved by God himself. That “limited atonement” part of the TULIP structure really sucks.

To be sure, CCR had some fancy scriptures (but I’m sure well-versed Arminians would have some fancy scriptures too). There are scriptures where God is said to harden someone’s heart (instead of their heart being hardened in a passive way or as a result of their own action). This apparently posed enough of an issue for Joseph Smith that in the Joseph Smith Translation (Jeff Spector gives a great overview at Mormon Matters), there is a footnote suggesting that God isn’t the one who hardens the Pharaoh’s heart…nope Pharaoh did it himself.

After some point, I realized I couldn’t really get to CCR. I think I understood his position well enough to understand how he would counter. It doesn’t matter that his formulation god seems like a tyrant. I only say this in my reprobation, in my heart-hardenedness, and I only am hardened because the puppetmaster God spoke that into me.

The one thing I don’t get is this…why would CCR or any other Calvinist try to proselytize? There are a few reasons I could think of…1) they don’t know who is elect or not, so it could be that through proselytizing, they are “uncovering” the elect. (It would appear to us as free will, but to them, it would appear as that irresistible grace thing working it’s way through).

…or…

2) Because they too are puppets, and their role is to be the sounding record.

It’s a bit harrowing. I had another commenter write that he would rebel against such a god. But what I anticipated that CCR would say is that this person’s supposed rebellion would not be his own. It would be God making him rebel. Why? To serve God’s purposes. Maybe to be an example for the elect, or something. In a way, though, I can theoretically understand and accept this. Isn’t that where this blog’s name comes from? Whether it is a free rebellion or a predetermined one, it doesn’t matter.

The curious theme I found among CCR’s comments was guilt…the perception of free will (but the failure to have creating speech) means that people will fail in what they *think* they want to do. People want to be good, but they don’t have the means to truly *create* a good person within themselves. So, when they fail to reach their goals, they will be racked with guilt.

I understand this claim is often levied against works-based faiths (like Mormonism), but this obsession with guilt didn’t make Calvinism appeal to me any more. Rather, by contrasting it with non-Calvinist Christianity, it made me begin to understand what many of them love.  By confessing their sins and being born again, they are free from guilt and saved in Christ.

I still don’t truly get it. I don’t really get this guilt/salvation thing to begin with (so being “saved” seems like medicine without an ailment.)

While I of course appreciate any comments, I’d like to hear from a few groups specifically. 1) Are there any Calvinists who can read through CCR’s comments and say if the tenor of his comments aligns well with it or if it’s something different? 2) Can non-Calvinists provide counters to CCR (especially his invocation of scripture)?

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18 Comments
  1. If we make our gods (or, in the case of atheists, our philosophies) in our own images, what do CCR’s beliefs say about what’s in his heart?

    Anyway, whether I have free will or not, I’m glad I’m not required to worship CCR’s psychotic monster god.

  2. yeah, CCR’s comments seemed like a lot of projecting (e.g., his own guilt issues with free will, so “finding out” that there was none probably was a great relief for him. Now he shares “the truth” everywhere.)

    I agree though. I literally cannot comprehend the deity CCR refers to, much less begin to worship or appreciate it.

  3. christianclarityreview permalink

    God speaks through us and that is called the gospel. That ALONE is the gospel. I.E. God as Word ( in contrast to non-creating / human speech ) –by speaking — births the elect again in Him as Word. A change of being is only and exclusively to be had by a change of speech.

    1Peter 1:23-25 being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the living and abiding word of God.
    Because all flesh is as grass, and all its glory as the flower of grass. The grass has withered and its flower has fallen; but the word of the Lord abides for eternity. But this is the word which in the glad tidings is preached to you.

    James 1:18 According to his own will begat he us by the word of truth, that we should be a certain first-fruits of *his* creatures.

    1Corinthians 4:15 For if ye should have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the glad tidings.

    When you assume ALL speech is non-creating, then you are left puzzled as to the supposed motives of why anyone would speak at all when they advocate a change of being AND without any free will. They would be talking about something no one could actually do but as if everyone ought to do it –or else. So why would they be speaking? That is effectively the Arminian gospel ( and argument against Calvinism) and is nonsensical for that very reason: supposedly you DO have free will AND you must have a change of being. But in order to have that free will, only one speech, that has the single quality it never interferes in any way with the will of the present creature. I.E. They do not have God non-metaphorically living in them but are speaking a different speech than God Is as if that speech that is not God could save anyone.

    In truth, the only real Christians have already been born again by the Word of God and God lives in us right now and speaks through us, creating to whatever end He pleases.

    Your objection to the supposed proselization by Calvinist is can be reduced to a purpose-of-HUMAN-speech argument that the arminians love to say without saying it explicitly: IF there is only one speech in total reality, AND it is non-creating AND non-interfering with the will of man, ( two different things ) THEN the sole purpose of that speech must be to deliver will-neutral information ( or in the case of religion “holy, will-neutral information” ) and those who hear it must somehow empower ‘the ideas’ contained in that speech for themselves as the same creature they already are to turn themselves into another creature. ..which is obvious nonsense. Yet that is the arminian/free willer/ Mormon statement of life and they are forced in the end to deny new birth in this present flesh in order to make sense of single speechism AND the necessity of new birth and postpone it to the afterlife or the ‘next life’ in reincarnation schemes.

    Once you are deceived there IS only speech in total reality ( the fundamental condition of all men since the Fall and a working definition of that Fall ) , then God literally makes no sense to you. And he says that:

    1Corinthians 2:12-16 But *we* have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things which have been freely given to us of God: which also we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, communicating spiritual things by spiritual means . But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him; and he cannot know them because they are spiritually discerned; but the spiritual discerns all things, and *he* is discerned of no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, who shall instruct him? But *we* have the mind of Christ.

    We ACTUALLY have the mind of Christ right now if we have been born again. The Mormon, Roman Catholic, Arminian ( Molinist/RC) and the free willer in general pretend we will get that mind in the next life or make pretenses of what the mind of Christ might be like yet as if God actually were non-creating speech. In fact it is a dogma of the RC to say that “God has to speak to human beings in human speech” –else the will is not free. You don’t have a dogma like that and be ignorant of what we are speaking. The Mormons also say Jesus Christ and Satan are brothers. (!) Which would mean they have the same speech…

    But to compare the Word of God with demon speech is the unforgiveable sin. Satan has merely made many religions out of getting the deceived to worship the unforgivable sin by default ( without ever explicitly stating it ). Note that when they said Jesus Christ had a demon and that demon was the source of the difference between his speech and theirs, his power and theirs, he says to them:

    Mat 12:24 But the Pharisees, having heard it , said, This man does not cast out demons, but by Beelzebub, prince of demons. …Mat 12:30-32 He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathers not with me scatters. For this reason I say unto you, Every sin and injurious speaking shall be forgiven to men, but speaking injuriously of the Spirit shall not be forgiven to men. And whosoever shall have spoken a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age nor in the coming one .

    —————

    All you need be to be a hardcore Arminian and free willer is to say that the Bible is not God as Word distinct from non-creating speech, but –as your best honesty– say that there is essentially only one speech and the Bible can be studied and read like the Mody Dick or The Quran or the Vedas or the Book of Mormon or Dianetics or anything else that pretends to holiness that of course can create nothing but is merely there as an ideal model of idealized free will behavior to provoke feelings of guilt at not having done them perfectly. Only when you treat ALL language that way can you be an logical arminian. The scary part is that you can actually do that if God desires it for you and be at peace that you have investigated the Scriptures and ‘proved’ from the mouth of Jesus Christ that you have free will. You have to be a new creature in Jesus Christ, having received Him as Word to effect that new being, to know the actual difference.

    But the results of being deceived you have free will ( the results of having demonic speech in you as your mind ) you cannot avoid if you cannot hear God. It isn’t as if this is a mere isolated argument between theological geeks that has no bearing on all of life. Belief in free will forces you to panic over the future use of that will / basic emotional opportunities, and that forces behavior –those demons are real.

    If you cannot hear God as Word, then you will, as your only logic, start killing people over the idealization of limited resources ( after you have denied new creation by God as Word ) –population control ( even your own family ) by one means or another, economic warfare, etc. I.E. Your morals and sense of right and wrong will be turned inside out and you will do evil, even against yourself, thinking that surely you do good merely becuase it is abhorrent to think you would do evil against yourself and you are giving the other person the same behavior as you (falsely idealize) you control over yourself. The demons and non-creating speech are, in comparison to the benefits of new birth in Christ, an identity thief that destroys you while making you think you are spiritually smart.

    sidebar: ( ..and before we get to the accusation of Calvinism being at the heart of Corrupt Capitalism, lets remember that supposed pro-Christ yet anti-Calvinists have been in industry and government for at least two hundred years, ( that would include Mormon Bankers and the RC’s) besides Adam Smith not being John Calvin. All you have to do to make the argument that Calvinism is the heart of monopoly capitalism is actually find a Calvinists among all those who have brought ruin to the world. They all believe in free will. Every last one. There is not even a tiny minority of Calvinists among them. They are all arminians.)

    2 Corinthians 13:3-6 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, (who is not weak towards you, but is powerful among you, for if indeed he has been crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power; for indeed *we* are weak in him, but we shall live with him by God’s power towards you,) examine your own selves if ye be in the faith; prove your own selves: do ye not recognise yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed ye be reprobates? Now I hope that ye will know that *we* are not reprobates.

    timothy

    In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen

  4. Actually, I have a different problem, CCR.

    With the difference between noncreating and creating speech, we are talking about something only ONE THING can do (e.g., God), but who does not do it consistently (e.g., atonement is limited, God hardens people’s hearts, God does not save all; he does not elect all, etc.,)

    God could, I imagine, save everyone right now. Or save everyone before they died. But he does not. Instead, he has people uselessly try to convert each other. Instead, he cruelly has people deceived (because he has used his creating speech in such a way) that their noncreating speech can do anything (which it can’t).

    You make the distinction between fallen man and the man who is inclined to receive spiritual insight. The problem is that God could turn everyone from the former to the latter. In fact, according to you, God is the only one who can do this. But he does not. In fact, God is the one who hardens the hearts of people, according to you. So the problem is not in assuming that there is only one speech, and it is noncreating. It is in realizing that even if there is a creating speech, God is using it purposefully to damn people. Or perhaps he is simply remaining silent, damning people implicitly.

    According to everything BUT calvinism, humans only have one choice they can make. To submit to God or not. They can submit to be born again. They can NOT save themselves. But they CAN accept Jesus’s atoning sacrifice and admit that they are utter sinners, utterly fallen, etc., In Arminianism, Molinism, RC, Molinism, everything else, this is the one act of will. The only act of will. Everything else is insufficient. And that is the way to move from noncreating speech to creating speech. That is how to be *born again*.

    But Calvinism has no rope. You say that people can’t choose to accept grace. It is not prevenient. It is only reserved for the elect which God has chosen. Everyone else is a natural man and can do NOTHING about it, because God, the source of creating speech, has made them that way and will not unmake them that way (whereas in Arminianism, etc., you can admit you’re a sinner and then God will change you.)

    How do people speak against the Spirit? They do so only because God has made them do it. Because God has not opened their eyes to see the difference between noncreating and creating speech (something you claim against me). So again, God damns people for something that he did (because he is the only one that CAN do), not for something that the individuals did.

    You say:

    You have to be a new creature in Jesus Christ, having received Him as Word to effect that new being, to know the actual difference.

    But you don’t give any way for people to do this. You say that God will harden whomever hearts he wants, and will create new creatures in Christ to whomever he wants. So, it is up to GOD. Not humans.

    At least in arminianism, molinism, catholicism, etc., individuals have one thing they can do. God is willing to speak to EVERYONE, but all an individual has to do is accept. In Calvinisim, whether you accept or reject is determined by God.

    From here, you have twisted beliefs about what would happen morally if people didn’t listen to creating speech.

    I really don’t think you’re getting what my claims are.

  5. christianclarityreview permalink

    this applies to all free willers reading this:

    you have the same problem as all the other free willers; you want a control over things to comfort yourself emotionally. Yet part of the fear of God is the dis-comfort of there being no other like God and the things that work to get past other beings than God don’t work on God.

    On a certain level, you would expect God to be different than all others. He created all that is. How would you go about creating people for instance? From what? With what? If all God had was the emotional common sense of Man, nothing would have been created and it is for that very reason that men deny God created all that is: to deify their hearts.

    The others; the RC’s, the Mormons, the free willers in general want the same thing you apparently want for the exact same reason.

    Effectively, you have deified your own heart, and in worship of it, say God is an emotional imbecile. Rather than fear God because He has forced that on you, you mock Him.

    “you say:

    You have to be a new creature in Jesus Christ, having received Him as Word to effect that new being, to know the actual difference.

    But you don’t give any way for PEOPLE to do this. You say that God will harden whomever hearts he wants, and will create new creatures in Christ to whomever he wants. So, it is up to GOD. Not humans.”

    Yes. Exactly.

    The problem with your statement –as accusation– is that it assumes:

    1. God has not provided a way to accomplish His grace exactly as He has His wrath ( you have a wrath centric argument ) specifically to you right now because He has not said or implied that YOU ought to do something other than hear Him. You are too used to powerless speech hiding its powerlessness by implying you have to be the powerful one and you think God ought to look or act something like them.

    We are all recipients of His wrath and His grace. The wrath on the elect does not last forever as it does on the reprobate. But we get our share.

    Isaiah 48:9-13 For my name’s sake I will defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain as to thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not as silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, for mine own sake, will I do it ; for how should my name be profaned? and I will not give my glory unto another. Hearken unto me, Jacob, and thou Israel, my called. I am HE; I, the first, and I, the last. Yea, my hand hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spread abroad the heavens: I call unto them, they stand up together.

    2. God has not already given you grace of which you are unaware
    3. God is somehow guilty of something for having done whatever it is He has done

    To whom do you appeal to get justice from God? On the one hand you set God up as ‘a’ Supreme for the purposes of argument, but when He doesn’t do what makes common sense to you, then suddenly He’s not so Supreme? And would He really be God if you told Him how things needed to be and He had to ‘do’ whatever you said? You had a beginning. He did not. He made you. Personally.

    This is where the rubber meets the road. You only need control over something you don’t trust God to accomplish. Yet there is no genuine reason for your suspicion that you are among the reprobate ..other than as a generalized sympathy for the wicked and that generalized sympathy is there to demonstrate how emotionally superior you are to all those who don’t have what is in the heart of your flesh for its own sake. You really think your emotional common sense is what everyone including God needs to be saved INTO rather than out of. Yet God Says He gives us a new heart –not just a new emotional common sense in the same heart:

    Ezekiel 36:25-27 And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your uncleannesses and from all your idols will I cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and keep mine ordinances, and ye shall do them.

    You have no say if God is talking to you. I have no say in that. No one but God does. No one but God can accomplish what He intends. People cannot mis-communicate and somehow somebody goes to the lake of fire that wasn’t supposed to. Yet in the lie of free will, that is a very real event that has to happen all the time. Or somebody was inattentive for moment and missed the critical ‘holy info’ that would have saved them and ..oops, there they go to burn forever. The lie of free will is ten times more emotionally stupid than God. We as creatures cannot do what God can. God keeps us off each others back by that very means.

    But in free will schemes, you have to ‘choose Jesus’ today ..and again tomorrow, and every day, and prove to everyone that you did by some outward sign that they understand in whatever attention span or intelligence they happen to have in any given instant else they will come and proselytize you again. And again and again.. with no end. That’s only funny for about a microsecond and then you get tired of it and they can’t stop and work themselves into a panic as supposedly caring for your soul.

    If you look at all the others ( free willers ), at best, the response is to be an atheist. They do not make sense, they are hypocritical and unable to save anyone and not very good at covering up those failures. No problem there. That is basic honesty. God said the harlots and sinners would go into the kingdom of heaven before knowledgeable religious conservatives of His day that were hard core free willers.

    Yet to defend opportunities of making fun of them later, you side with them against God in the present? You take ‘part’ of their arguments and use them? If you believed them, you couldn’t be a Real atheist. You could, however simply have a false version of God like they do.

    ———–

    Part of the truth of Christ is Irresistible Grace. I find it beyond credible you never heard of it given the name of your blog. The whole thing of irresistible grace ( as in God can’t miss or be resisted ) is that God Speaks to you and you are born again. Before that happened, you had to deny as your best honesty than any such thing could even happen, given the non-creating characteristics of human speech. Yet you have by-passed the grace to focus on the wrath as if only wrath applied to you ..or anyone else.

    I’m not refuting that you have a grasp of God’s wrath and the reaction you are having to it is the honest reaction of a sinner. But you pretend as if God is in the wrong for demonstrating that He is in fact God and as if grace were always something for the other person. It is a standard tactic of free willers to automatically root for the damned as if merely doing so made them nice people.

    What is the point in impressing a damned person? Any favor they would do for you, you don’t need, even if they had the free will to do it.

    Mark 4:23-25 If any one have ears to hear, let him hear. And he said to them, Take heed what ye hear; with what measure ye mete, it shall be meted to you; and there shall be more added to you. For whosoever has, to him shall be given; and he who has not, even what he has shall be taken from him.

    timothy

    In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen

  6. you have the same problem as all the other free willers; you want a control over things to comfort yourself emotionally. Yet part of the fear of God is the dis-comfort of there being no other like God and the things that work to get past other beings than God don’t work on God.

    What need is there for being comforted when there isn’t any discomfort to begin with..? You don’t seem to be describing the experiences of many people I know.

    For that matter, what is there for fear of God anyway? Do you fear the boogey man?

    Effectively, you have deified your own heart, and in worship of it, say God is an emotional imbecile. Rather than fear God because He has forced that on you, you mock Him.

    But according to YOU, the reason I mock him is because God has made me mock him. The reason I have “deified” my own heart is because God has made me deify my own heart. If I call God an imbecile, it is because God has made me see him as imbelic.

    In other words, everything you say must point back to God. You are speaking about God. Pharaoh did not harden his heart. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. You yourself referred to that scripture and you must live by it.

    My question is: since God can change this at any time, why doesn’t he? Is he powerless, or does he not want to? If he doesn’t want to, then what is *your* point? Are you trying to defy God because he has made you want to defy as well?

    To whom do you appeal to get justice from God? On the one hand you set God up as ‘a’ Supreme for the purposes of argument, but when He doesn’t do what makes common sense to you, then suddenly He’s not so Supreme? And would He really be God if you told Him how things needed to be and He had to ‘do’ whatever you said? You had a beginning. He did not. He made you. Personally.

    Please note that all of our discussion occurs in English. A human, noncreating speech. Our language about “supremeness” or “nonsupremeness” is in human language. If God cannot appeal to a human sense of the word supreme, he cannot be supreme. That is simple.

    You should agree with this. After all, you should say “God’s ways aren’t our ways. God’s thoughts aren’t our thoughts.” So he shouldn’t seem supreme to us.

    But in this case, you have no way to discuss. Because you can only use human language as well. Really, since God is not speaking with his creating speech — which he could at any time — all of my points are fully valid.

    Yet there is no genuine reason for your suspicion that you are among the reprobate.

    This is a curious statement. Would you say that you can tell if you are elect or not? Would you say that you can tell if you are saved or not? Wouldn’t it be easy, then, to tell if you are not saved? So why would you say this?

    But in free will schemes, you have to ‘choose Jesus’ today ..and again tomorrow, and every day, and prove to everyone that you did by some outward sign that they understand in whatever attention span or intelligence they happen to have in any given instant else they will come and proselytize you again. And again and again.. with no end. That’s only funny for about a microsecond and then you get tired of it and they can’t stop and work themselves into a panic as supposedly caring for your soul

    What are you doing that differs from this? Are you not “proselytizing again. And again and again.. with no end”? Except with you, it seems pointless and futile. At least with free willers, it seems consistent with their worldview.

    I take part of their answers because their actions are at least consistent with their beliefs. Yours don’t appear to be, so I’m probing why. I can compare and contrast different arguments without believing in them…this should be very easy to imagine, so I don’t know why you are surprised that I do this.

    Part of the truth of Christ is Irresistible Grace. I find it beyond credible you never heard of it given the name of your blog. The whole thing of irresistible grace ( as in God can’t miss or be resisted ) is that God Speaks to you and you are born again. Before that happened, you had to deny as your best honesty than any such thing could even happen, given the non-creating characteristics of human speech. Yet you have by-passed the grace to focus on the wrath as if only wrath applied to you ..or anyone else.

    Do not speak of what I have and have not heard, for you do not know my history and you guess it wrong.

    What I am saying throughout is that if you truly believed your points, your actions would be unnecessary, pointless. So why do you comment? Why do you post? Why do you write?

    If I bypass the grace to focus on the wrath, it is only because that is what you have emphasized. You have emphasized your role as saved or knowledgeable, and have chastised and reprimanded everyone else here for their delusions. You have pointed out that we are deluded because of God. So what? Why are you here. You don’t provide solutions, because you CAN’T. God doesn’t provide solutions, because he is too busy deceiving and hardening hearts. If you want someone to focus on grace, then you have to focus on grace!

    Trust me, when people say or act as if God is in the wrong when you describe him in the way you do, they aren’t pretending. People really feel that way. You just say it is because God has made them feel that way. Free willers say it is because they are reacting to the information presented to them.

    This seems to be the problem. You push people away from God and Jesus Christ. Of course, you don’t believe that. You believe that God pushes people away. that God hardens people’s hearts. Whatever the case, there are people who don’t believe, who are repulsed, who do not comprehend, who do not agree. And God, whom you suppose has the power to create people who believe, does nothing about it. To show his wrath?

    • christianclarityreview permalink

      You said, among other things:

      “Please note that all of our discussion occurs in English. A human, noncreating speech. Our language about “supremeness” or “nonsupremeness” is in human language. If God cannot appeal to a human sense of the word supreme, he cannot be supreme. That is simple.

      You should agree with this. After all, you should say “God’s ways aren’t our ways. God’s thoughts aren’t our thoughts.” So he shouldn’t seem supreme to us.”

      I am not you. I don’t know if you have or have not been born again. Just to make plain: I am a new creature in Jesus Christ and got that way by hearing God as Word. God Says exactly what you have just said IF you are still a fallen human being:

      Speaking of fallen human beings He Says:

      1Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him; and he cannot know them because they are spiritually discerned;

      ..they are folly to him. God doesn’t seem so supreme –to fallen men. God profanes His Own Name in some of His creatures for a time. Things that a human being would never think of God does. God is creating all the time, yet you want a creating-less ‘time-out’ of reality to absorb it all as if God were done with creating and now is just getting on with preserving what was is already here. You are a witness to creation going on all around you and yet have been stuck in a spirit –for a time– that must refute that new creation and how that creation was effected –as part of the process of that new creation. That’s the ‘why’ God has confounded you: you are part of a much larger thing God is doing that is good –even when He is sending you evil.

      But you should not think that you are the only one. Everyone who has ever been born again has lived your life. Desires go one way and reality goes the other as a standard part of life. False religion seeks to conform the mind and heart to the desires, while God shows us plainly it is He that is making reality the way it is for a larger purpose.

      You want to be able to use the tools a false religion handed you. They do not work.

      You say: “Trust me, when people say or act as if God is in the wrong when you describe him in the way you do, they aren’t pretending. People really feel that way. You just say it is because God has made them feel that way. Free willers say it is because they are reacting to the information presented to them”

      Of course they are not pretending. It is their best honesty. Free willers only know a lie of what God is and when God comes to a former free willer ( all of mankind ) and speaks to them ALL of what they formerly knew is seen as a lie. But God’s speaking is not ‘holy information’. Not-all-at-once, but over time, the cherished piety of natural man is seen by the new creature in Jesus Christ as egregious evil.

      God does not owe anyone anything other than what He has sworn to do. But he has done what He sworn to do and keeps dong it for every generation.

      By all means I will push people away from a God they can supposedly ‘chose’. I will push people away from a false God that re-creates none, but supposedly gives them ‘better character’ as the same creature they already are.

      It is not at all a scenario of identical creatures ending up in two different places ( heaven and the lake of fire ) and their placement is decided by what they do with their lives. New creatures in Jesus Christ go to heaven only by the grace and mercy of the all-powerful, all-wise, all-knowing God and non-new creatures go to the lake of fire with their old common sense, their old anger, and all their evil. The Word of God had an effect on them: it made them immortal expressly so they could burn forever without being consumed.

      You wouldn’t think up something like that –no man would. Because no man could actually do that and men run from the thoughts they know expose their own powerlessness. God always catches a sinner running away and causes them to approach Him. None go to God on their own because they supposedly heard how loving He was. Thinking that an ideal presentation of God ought to be such that a sinner would take that ‘info’ and then turn to God is folly. They must be born again and be an outright different creature than fallen men.

      You said:

      “If I bypass the grace to focus on the wrath, it is only because that is what you have emphasized. You have emphasized your role as saved or knowledgeable, and have chastised and reprimanded everyone else here for their delusions. You have pointed out that we are deluded because of God. So what? Why are you here. You don’t provide solutions, because you CAN’T. God doesn’t provide solutions, because he is too busy deceiving and hardening hearts. If you want someone to focus on grace, then you have to focus on grace!”

      That is what God has done through me. You want a scenario in which I stay a man / fallen human being and give you an idealized ‘will-neutral holy info’ and then you decide if you like it or not and ‘change attitudes toward God’ ..or something on that order. God speaks His Word through me and you hear HIM or not and are re-created or not. That’s not up to me or you. I’m telling you that you have been deceived exactly in the manner of all fallen men and in exactly the manner of those who are now new creatures in Jesus Christ used to think. That speaking IS the grace OF GOD that re-creates. It is not at all that I have given you ‘bad thoughts with no way out’.

      Even if you find that incredulous, that is standard, real Christianity: God lives in us and speaks through us. Anyone who is telling you that Christians and non-Christians are the same creature or have the same speech are lying –as their best honesty.

      Multiply that by thousands and you have the reason why true Christians were burned at the stake ( and persecuted today all over the world) for God speaking through them. I am not here to be loved or liked. I’m here because God sent me.

      After having killed God’s servants, those who have done so want to stand before God and say: “They didn’t make sense to us. How could they be your servants?” and never see it is themselves who have been wicked even as they burn in the lake of fire. Even IN the lake of fire they will not know the truth.

      So far, you look at God with an eye to being able to explain Him to fallen men in a non-interfering/ will-neutral manner so that you can remain safe and reasonable in their eyes ..if they don’t like what you said about God. You never have thought for a minute that God might Say something through you that might get you killed and that death as the best honesty of the best justice of those who murdered you.

      There is no other God than the Father of Jesus Christ, His Word Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as they actually are and have openly proclaimed themselves to be. Before I’d be afraid of not having a reasonable explanation for God before fallen men, I’d look at how those fallen men are living and the results of those thoughts and life of those who have thought exactly as you have so far articulated. In the US, almost everyone is going to be a anti-Calvinist, but supposedly pro-Christ; all the abortionists, all the cults, all that have brought ruin and war; all the criminals ..all of them.

      Name even one Calvinist among them for over a five hundred years. The results of idealizing God in the manner you have done speaks for itself all through history.

      Roman 9:18-26 So then, to whom he will he shews mercy, and whom he will he hardens. Thou wilt say to me then, Why does he yet find fault? for who resists his purpose? Aye, but thou, O man, who art *thou* that answerest again to God? Shall the thing formed say to him that has formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Or has not the potter authority over the clay, out of the same lump to make one vessel to honour, and another to dishonour? And if God, minded to shew his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; and that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he had before prepared for glory, us, whom he has also called, not only from amongst the Jews, but also from amongst the nations? As he says also in Hosea, I will call not-my-people My people; and the-not-beloved Beloved. And it shall be, in the place where it was said to them, *Ye* are not my people, there shall they be called Sons of the living God.

      timothy

      In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen

      • CCR/Timothy,

        By all means I will push people away from a God they can supposedly ‘chose’. I will push people away from a false God that re-creates none, but supposedly gives them ‘better character’ as the same creature they already are.

        How can you push anyone away or to anything. You don’t have the free will or the creating speech to do any such thing. The way you speak betrays your position that you also believe in free will.

        I’m telling you that you have been deceived exactly in the manner of all fallen men and in exactly the manner of those who are now new creatures in Jesus Christ used to think.

        And God himself did the deceiving. What’s the point? Why not just make people right the FIRST time? Why recreate when he could’ve just recreated the first time. Does God make broken, dysfunctional stuff on purpose?

        Even IN the lake of fire they will not know the truth.

        And, according to you, it is not their fault. It is God’s fault. So what was the point?

        You quote Romans 9 to close up. But generally, a potter makes GOOD pots. He doesn’t make pots that he knows he will hate, UNLESS he isn’t that great of a potter (e.g., all potters make mistakes because they aren’t perfect. A perfect potter would not make mistakes, and would thus make every pot one he loved.)

        And generally, a potter wouldn’t make a pot incorrectly to “spite” that pot and show the other pots his skill and wrath. So why do you insist upon a god that essentially does that?

  7. Andrew, I’ve just now read this post and I haven’t read CCR’s wall o’ text comments. From your description, it sounds like CCR is a supralapsarian (i.e. God creates people for the express purpose of sending them to hell). Most Calvinists aren’t. Most Calvinists would also say that they believe in a free will of sorts, compatibilist free will. I once heard Mark Driscoll describe this as, “Everybody gets free will except the elect. Everyone gets exactly what they want except the elect.” (That’s my paraphrase, not an exact quote.)

    As I see it, Calvinism is a theological system that attempts to emphasize God’s sovereignty. As a squishy Arminian, I think it’s a system that swings the pendulum too far so that it winds up excluding God’s love and justice. Still, I do understand what Calvinists are going for.

    If you’re looking for the best of Calvinist thought, I think it’s to be found at C. Michael Patton’s blog. Here’s a crash of his posts on Calvinism:

    C. Michael Patton on Calvinism

    If Patton can’t make Calvinism seem reasonable and thoughtful to a skeptic, no one can.

    My friend J. P. Holding of Tekton Apologetics did a series on TULIP. J. P. self-describes himself as somewhere between Molinist and Arminian. He discusses most of the passages used by Calvinists to support their doctrine. His series:

    T – He agrees with this petal (as Arminians generally do).
    U – He thinks neither side is completely right on this one.
    L – He sort of agrees with this petal, but not the way Calvinists use it.
    I – He does not agree with this petal.
    P – He does not agree with this petal.

  8. I don’t want to put a lot of thought into this. But then I guess it’s not my fault — it’s that god person’s.

    Wow, it’s like my desire to ignore this religion is expressly accounted for as part of its theology. How convenient for me, though I don’t see how it benefits them.

  9. Jack, thanks for the links. Will get to them later. I also sense some strong presuppositionalism from the way CCR argues, so I’ve been looking into that as well.

    Daniel, I guess burning in hell isn’t so convenient, at least THEORETICALLY. Of course, if you or I are made for hell, then what can be done?

  10. “if you or I are made for hell, then what can be done?”

    Exactly. It doesn’t matter what I do, or don’t do. God is all powerful and everything that I do is his will, good or bad.

    I appreciate Jack’s links above – perhaps CCR’s view is part of the vocal minority – every group has them.

  11. All in all, after reading Jack’s links for Calvinism (especially Mike Patton’s blog), I feel surprisingly better about Calvinism in the long run. Many of my issues with Mormon beliefs comes because they run counter to my (surprisingly intuitive) Calvinistic beliefs.

    Except for I feel like I’m on the other side of the train tracks. See: the name of the entire blog. Although I guess instead of “irresistible (dis)grace” it would probably just fit in with the “totally depraved and not yet groped by an angel.”

    Admittedly, that one doesn’t sound as good…

  12. I think what this boils down to is that at, least in CCR’s brand of Calvinism, all discrepancies are a result of the foreignness of God to the ‘sinful’ state of man (that is, all us lot). In essence, it’s the ultimate form of “Man’s ways aren’t god’s ways”.

    It is actually pretty consistent, if seemingly incoherent–I agree about CCR’s presuppositionalism; we’re getting the complex outcome of a number of premises. I think the major questions for believers and non-believers in this notion of god are: what is the basis for “choosing”? and what happens to the non-chosen? There doesn’t seem to be an answer. The explanation may not even make sense to us sin-infested fallen people who are apparently not elect.

    It seems unjust, but then you have to remember god isn’t forcing you to choose anything–that’s not the point, because no *choice* or action in life brings about salvation, only being, uh, “groped by an angel” as Andrew S so creatively put it.

    Maybe it just happens that god, existing outside of time, knows which people will meet his inhuman standards. You might say that god is unfairly choosing to damn you if you’re not elect, but with no idea about what the basis for the choosing is, or the purpose of everyone who is not elect, if any, it’s hard to make a value judgment. I guess if you’re not god, it can’t stick, though!

    I didn’t think I’d find it interesting enough to try and wrap my mind around, but the effort is taking a toll I think…think I’ll give it a rest.

  13. I agree with your assessment, hexalm.

    In fact, I guess I can see how, if you buy into it, it makes some sense. I just don’t buy into it (in other words…I could see how it follows…if there is a god like CCR describes, then I admit that I utterly do not understand him, honor him, glory him, whatever. I’m depraved, unsaved, whatever and would need a wakeup call from grace to change that around…On the other hand, I don’t buy the first part [the god part], so the rest seems like role play.)

    To try to answer your questions with what I think they are (based on some more reading)…the basis of “choosing” may be SOMETHING, but it’s nothing within us. (i.e., *unconditional* election) What happens to the non-chosen? Seems pretty simple: insert whatever you think Hell is (although there are some belief systems that posit an annihilation. So…)

    Reading the links Jack posted have been interesting too (especially contrasting the ones from the Calvinist to the ones from the non-Calvinist). Gives me a different perspective on things than CCR’s comments.

  14. Originally I wasn’t going to comment but reading CCR’s comments confused me and I believe myself to be pretty Reformed and somewhat well read.

    First free will is a huge subject but the Westminster divines far from denying free will affirmed that men and women have free will and moral responsibility. They further clarify that man cannot do “spiritual” good unless in a state of Grace.

    Passages such as Ex 4:21, 7:4-5 and the hardening of Pharaoh heart Calvin himself comments that this is to be seen as a removal of God’s common grace “These passages rather indicate what men become when God deserts them, than what the nature of his agency is when he works in them.” By removing His common grace “God gives the wicked over to a reprobate mind, gives them up to vile affections, blinds their minds and hardens their hearts.”

    Reformed theology also denies fatalism is the result of the sovereignty of God. While I believe that God perfectly ordains what is to come (first cause), I also believe that he works this out according to secondary causes. Belief in God’s providence does not mean I know His unrevealed will or what secondary cause He will use to work out that will. Our prayer and evangelism may in fact be the secondary cause that helps bring about a conversion. It is because of a belief in the revealed will of God (His commands) that the Reformed evangelize because we don’t know the sovereign unrevealed will of God (the identity of His elect).

    The danger of the doctrines of predestination and providence arise when people believe they know who has been predestined and can interpret the will of God in his providential acts. Calvin cautions against this, “The subject of predestination, which in itself is attended with considerable difficulty is rendered very perplexed and hence perilous by human curiosity, which cannot be restrained from wandering into forbidden paths and climbing to the clouds determined if it can that none of the secret things of God shall remain unexplored.”

    I could go on regarding equal ultimacy, reprobation, supra and infralapsarianism (or the denial of both) etc. But the best place to look would be some of the historic confessions rather than the wild west of electronic Calvinism. Google Westminster, Heidelberg, Belgic, Canons of Dort. Berkhof’s Systematic Theology is available on Google books it has a solid Reformed look at the decrees of God and free will.

    Not directly related to free will but this link might explain some of the Calvinist theology you find on the internet. http://www.historiasalutis.com/2010/03/09/the-calvinist-cage-stage/

  15. Thanks for the comment, gundek…I’ll try to check out your link later.

    Thanks to everything I’ve gotten so far, I’m getting the impression that most of Calvinism is quite a bit different than how CCR had presented it.

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