II. These doctrines will lead pursuit of practical godliness.
The problem is that since the Calvinists denies he has any choice in
being saved, what is the application if he evaluates his performance and
realizes that he is not redeemed? For an evangelical like myself, coming
to such a conclusion would lead me to make an effort to seek God. I would
reexamine where my faith was deficient and cooperate with God in correcting
it. And before you Calvinists accuse me of heresy, who is to say that such
a reaction would not be of God's doing?
According to Calvinism one's election to eternal life or eternal
damnation occurs prior to being born, and that don't being dependent
upon God's foreknowledge of future events, like coming to faith. Thus
one is born fated to eternal damnation or eternal life, and there's
nothing one can do do that change fate. Consequently Calvinism
effectively teaches that salvation is not by faith but by a pre-birth
election which he nothing to do with one's faith. For prior to coming to
faith in Christ the elect were in no danger of going to hell, as their
fate was already determined. And that fate didn't change when they came
to faith in Christ. Thus they were saved by election and not by faith.
By while this is the implication of Calvinists, this is not by
typical Calvinists teach or practice, because they're hypocrites.
Calvinists don't typically believe Calvinism and so they are mere
Calvinists in name only. When presented with the question in Acts 16:30 "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?", the answer according to Calvinism is "Nothing, your fate was determined prior to you being born and there is nothing you can do to change it." But typical Calvinists will answer as the apostle, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." That's an example of their hypocrisy.
The problem is, that since there is no free choice, what are you hoping to accomplish by being "watchful"? Since God controls everything, and there is no free choice, there is nothing you can do. If you find you are falling into sin, God is in control of that, He will carry out his purpose no matter what you attempt by your own will. At least that's the logical conclusion to Calvinist thought. Here's a quote from a Reformed theological source noting Zwingli's theology "Zwingli's understanding of predestination as indistinguishable from providence, logically inclines him to the conclusion that God is the cause of human sin." So the Calvinist holds the illogical position that God is just even though he is the cause of human sin. The puppet model of Calvinism just doesn't fit what the Bible says.
There is no application here. Rather the Arminians have the advantage on this point. For they have a purpose for being watchful. Choice is involved both in salvation and sanctification. For why is faith in Christ preached as a necessary condition for salvation if no choice is involved? And why are there rewards for services rendered promised for the believers in the kingdom if there is no choiced involved in their service to God? Repentance from sin, by its very nature requires a person's will to be involved.
True that Calvinist can argue that they may think humans more depraved than Arminians. But by doing so they effectively nullify any application to their theology.
To you Calvinists out there, I would recommend you take a few years and put away your volumes on Calvinist theology and develop your own convictions based upon your own personal Bible study. Now there's an application!
There are a number of problems with this latter idea, but mainly that there is no scriptural basis for it. In fact it is contrary to the gospel. Who are you to say that he does elect baptized infants? The Calvinists hypocritically put themselves in the place of God by inventing means of salvation that God has not spoken of nor made any promises concerning. But this is consistent with my former point concerning HyperCalvinist applications. Secondly, God choses the category of who will be redeemed. And he has revealed that choice in the Bible. God has chosen those who put their faith in Christ, with a quality of faith acceptable to God. Yes, there may be other categories and exceptions that He has not spoken of. But who are we to presume what those categories may or may not be.
The Bible teaches "For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel." Rom 9:6 And "it is not the natural children who are Godís children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abrahamís offspring." Rom 9:8 Yet Calvinists, carrying on in the spirit of the group of the circumcision with whom Paul disputed in Galatian, reckon righteousness to be a function of the flesh. They reckoned that being born of the flesh of a Christians makes one a Christian disregarding faith.
But not only does Calvin advocate infant baptism, but also condemns those who don't. "We reprobate all fanatics who will not allow little children to be baptized." John Calvin "We condemn the Anabaptists,who deny that newborn infants of the faithful are to be baptized." The Second Helvetic Confession by Bullinger (1561) But notice the consistency with Galatians, "But as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now." Gal 4:29 At that time it was those who were merely Jews by birth but not by faith who persecuted the true believers, so also throughout the history of post-Biblical Christianity it has been those who zealously advocate the theology of infant baptism who have persecuted legitimate believers.
"Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him."1 John 3:15
"Whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt."John Calvin
Let me give you an example, there was man Michael Servetus, who Calvin had burned alive at the stake because he wasn't a trinitarian and didn't support the idea of infant baptism. 7 years before the incident: "If he [Servetus] comes [to Geneva], I shall never let him go out alive if my authority has weight." John Calvin. I don't agree with his non-trinitarian position, but I don't go around torturing people to death for it. For an account by someone sympathetic to Calvin in this matter, I refer to the article "The Burning of Servetus: The Scarring of Calvin" I was dumbfounded by some of the comments made by the supporter of calvin, who says:
"In his final torment, he uttered the words, "Jesus, thou son of the eternal God, have pity on me." This phrase epitomizes the essence of his Trinitarian error since to the end he maintained that Jesus's existence began only with His earthly conception and birth -- to him God alone, not Jesus, was eternal."So this man, burning alive calls on Jesus as the Son of God to have pity on him. How heretical? Is this Calvin's idea of persuading a person? Is this his idea of evangelism? The commentor goes on to say:
"If we treated people today for their Trinitarian heresy comparably to the manner in which Geneva treated Servetus, we would need to strap some preachers to a launching space shuttle by comparison. Servetus' error was closer by far to orthodoxy, and more carefully articulated, than much of what passes as acceptable in many old-line, liberal, and even charismatic or pentecostal churches today. May we regain the love of truth, mercy, and pastoral compassion that typified the life of John Calvin."So if Calvin murdered this man, who was relatively orthodox by today's standards, what do you think he would do with a modern Charismatic! Yet Calvinists consider Calvin's example one of love, mercy and pastoral compassion! And so Calvinists tend to take on a similar attitude as the one they identify of the "father" of their theology. (See also "The Murder of Michael Servetus")
And also by calling themselves "Calvinists", they set themselves into a special category. They have a special revelation from God that other Christians don't. And then many will simply redefine the gospel so that it only includes "Calvinists". Thus non-Calvinists are simply reckoned at non-elect unbelievers simply because they don't believe in Calvinism. But worst than unbelievers, these non-Calvinists are viewed as heretics, false brethren, wolves in sheep clothing out to devour the flock with their false non-Calvinist gospel. In Calvin's time, when it was legal to do so, such people were often put to death.
Furthermore, the historic popularity of Calvinism has resulted (in some cases literally) in a lynch-mob mentality. But now with the depopularization of Calvinism, Calvinists are challenged to give a reason behind their thinking, and they are doing a rather poor job replying. They still revert to foolish threats of declaring others "heretics" but by doing so they reveal the shallowness of their own theology and end up huddling together behind closed doors in an ever shrinking community.
These are not strictly speaking "Calvinism", but rather implications of Calvinism which people do in the name of "Calvinism". Calvinism has little direct application, while Arminian thought does have much direct application. Why are these not called "HyperArminianism"? Because they have little to do with Arminian thought. They are Calvinistic in nature.
I say this simply because I'm tired of people who pretend to have convictions in areas in which they really don't have convictions; people who pretend to understand, but are incapable of expressing their supposed "beliefs". A person of conviction is never caught by surprise by questions or issues, for such a one has already asked themselves the essential and logical questions. Such a one has already gone through the battle, having wrestled within oneself these ideas in mind and spirit, and thus is ready for ministry as Paul writes: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2Co 10:5
Simply put, in trying to convince someone else what you supposedly believed, rather than telling someone else to read a book or listen to a preacher, why don't you do so instead, and then tell them what understanding you have gained and what convictions you have developed as a result.
The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources