"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

God's Sovereignty and Man's Free Will

The following article, entitled "God's Sovereignty and Man's Free Will" was first published by the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger on June 1, 1995. The article was written by Dr. Herschel Hobbs, Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Church, Oklahoma City. The Baptist Messenger published another article on that same day, written by Wade Burleson, Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Enid, Oklahoma entitled "Please Don't Call Me a Calvinist, But . . .". Herschel Hobbs and Wade Burleson were friends, and these articles are posted to show how two Southern Baptists, with differing interpretations of the doctrines of grace, can remain in fellowship, cooperation and friendship. "Please Don't Call Me a Calvinist, But . . ." will be posted here on Friday. Dr. Hobb's article is posted below:

_____________________________________________


At the close of Billy Graham’s first London Crusade a Church of England clergyman said that Billy had set Christianity back a hundred years. Hearing of this Graham said, “I am disappointed. I had hoped to set it back two thousand years.”

From recent articles in other state newspapers we are told that a small group of Southern Baptist scholars seeks a revival of five-point Calvinism. They propose to restore our theology to that of the 19th century. Among others they cite James P. Boyce. Writers note that about the turn of the century Southern Baptists saw a shift from that extreme position to a more moderate one. Mentioned in this regard are E.Y. Mullins and W.T. Connor. Some of them would even claim the Apostle Paul as holding to the Calvinistic view. Such seems to be putting the cart before the horse by about 1,500 years. That is the reason for this article. At the risk of being misunderstood, I am more interested in what Jesus said and Paul wrote than what Boyce, Dagg, et al wrote.

So, like Billy Graham, we do not need to go back to the 19th or even to the 16th century. We need to go back to the first century.

Calvin emphasized God’s sovereignty to the neglect of man’s free will, both of which are abundantly taught in the Bible. More specifically Calvin held that before the foundation of the world God elected certain individuals to be saved to the neglect of all others. This is contrary to the very nature of God! Recognizing the place of faith, those who follow Calvin say that only the elect believe in Jesus as Savior. As I understand it, the opposite is true. Believers are the elect. I agree with Frank Stagg that election is not “a rigged television show.”

While Paul refers to election elsewhere, his extended treatment of that doctrine is found in Ephesians. Space forbids a thorough treatment of this epistle (see my New Men in Christ, Word, 1974, out of print). But I want to point out some salient facts in Ephesians.

In essence Paul says that God elected a plan of salvation (Eph. 1-2) and a people to propagate the plan (Eph. 3:1-6:20). But man is free to accept or reject either or both of them.

In Ephesians 1:4 we find the words “hath chosen.” This translates exelexato (ex, elexato). The latter Greek word has been anglicized as elected. The preposition ex intensifies the verb elexato. But note that Paul says that God elected us “in Him” or in God in Christ. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world [not a selected few] unto Himself” (II Cor. 5:19). “In love” (v. 4, KJV) more likely belongs in verse 5.

“In love having predestinated us.” Whatever God did, He did it in love (I John 4:8). Unfortunately many tend to interpret the English “predestinated” rather than the Greek word proorisas. The basic verb is horizo, among others things, to set a boundary. From it comes “horizon,” the limit or boundary of your vision from where you stand. The prefix pro means beforehand. So to set a boundary beforehand. I liken it to building a fence around a piece of land. The fence is Christ. In 11 verses (1:3-13) Paul uses “in Christ” or its equivalent 11 times (Greek text). So whatever God did He did it “in love” and “in Christ.”

“According to the good pleasure of his will” expresses God’s sovereignty. Which means that He can act in accord with His nature and purpose as redeeming love without the advice or consent of anyone outside Himself.

However, the Bible also teaches the free will of man as a person made in God’s image. To violate man’s free will would make him less than a person, only a puppet dangled on the string of fate. The Bible never teaches that. Man is free to choose, but is responsible to God for his choices. Otherwise God Himself is responsible for man’s sin, which is unthinkable! The free will of man is seen in Ephesians 1:13: “After that ye believed” or “beliveing.” Exercising faith is an act of the human will. To say that only those chosen by God can believe is to ignore the plain teachings of the New Testament. If this be true, then Jesus’ commissions to evangelize the world and the many pleas for lost people to believe in Him for salvation are meaningless.

God’s election of a people to propagate His plan refers to the church (Eph. 1:22-23). In Ephesians 3:10-11 Paul wrote that there “might be known by [dia, through as intermediate agent] the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I Peter 2:1-10 clearly identifies the church as God’s chosen people “which in times past were not a people [a constituted nation], but are now the people of God.” But like the plan any segment of God’s people can accept or reject this role – but it/they are responsible to God for the choices made.

In 1814 the Baptists of the United States divided over the issue of evangelism and missions. The anti-missionary group (hyper-Calvinists) have dwindled almost to the vanishing point. The group committed to evangelism and missions has flourished. Southern Baptists, the most committed, are the largest non-Catholic religious body in the nation. If we counted infants, as do Roman Catholics, it is possible that the “Southern Baptist Convention could well be the largest in the nation. And Southern Baptists have experienced their greatest growth since 1900!

Hyper-Calvinism offers no incentive for evangelism and missions. I recall hearing George W. Truett say, “The church that is not missionary does not deserve the ground upon which its building stands. For the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein.”

God in Christ has done all that even God can do to provide redemption for a lost humanity. But each person through faith in His redeeming Son must receive it for himself. Refusing to so, such a person is lost without hope. Those who receive it receive eternal life. Christians and Christian bodies who of their own free will refuse to become God’s people to propagate His plan of salvation have saved souls but wasted lives.

If all of the Bible was lost except John 3:16, in this Gospel within the Gospel is the ability to save a lost humanity. And what does it say to us?

“For God so loved the world [not certain ones in it], that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever [anyone, anywhere, anytime] believeth [an act of man’s free will] in Him should not perish [be lost, destroyed, or go to hell], but have everlasting life.” This is not hyper-Calvinism but he Gospel in a nutshell!

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dr. Hobbs wrote, "Calvin held that before the foundation of the world God elected certain individuals to be saved to the neglect of all others."

Calvin looked at God through the human 'time' lense. One cannot do that. The Eternal One cannot be examined as One bound by time at all. We may speak of it, but it is because we do not understand eternity, that has no beginning or ending.

God doing anything 'before' or 'after' is a little strange as He exists only in a 'now'.

Perhaps Calvin needed more reassurance than we are allowed, we who are bound now in time?

Pre-destination can only make any sense if God is bound by time. He is not. He is the Eternal One.
He is: 'I am Who am."
No past, no present, no future.
No 'pre', not for Him.

Calvinism is a mysterious doctrine that appears to place God in some kind of a 'time-warp' ????

PUZZLED by Calvinism

Kevin M. Crowder said...

As I wait in anticipation of Wade's article, I would like to give props to the English clergyman.


K

Anonymous said...

Understanding Calvinism

Anonymous said...

God created man with a free will.
When he fell, it became to his sin nature, and will always rebel against God.
That's why John says we are not born of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

No one has willed himself to Heaven.

Dr. Paul W. Foltz

Anonymous said...

Good start Wade. Looking forward to the other article.

Here's hoping the ANTI calvinists stay away so that there will be a comment stream of NON calvinists and calvinists exchanging thoughts and ideas through scripture and in love.

SL1M

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
I’m not for Calvinism because my Dad was against it. Can anyone think of a better reason than that?

NativeVermonter said...

"God in Christ has done all that even God can do to provide redemption for a lost humanity."

Well, our Lord gave it His best shot, hey no one's pefect.

Pluuuzzzeeee

WatchingHISstory said...

For the most part the reason people oppose Calvinism is the person who stands in the pulpit of the church they attend opposes it.
That is the depth of their research. Rarely does anyone stray from what they have heard Sunday after Sunday. If they do any research it is based on what their pastor suggest they study for futher enlightenment.

My Jehovah Witness friend has done this for over 40 years! His extensive understanding of theology is restricted to what he has heard in his Kingdom halls.

He is throughly unitarian in his beliefs. He rejects the trinitarian explanations of salvation. The importance of the contribution that 'our' God, the Father and the Holy Spirit contribute to the gospel is minimized. 'God the Father' (Jehovah) has surrendered his sovereignty in foreknowing what Adam's choice would be. To my friend, this demonstrates God's absolute omnipotence! He has the power to choose not to know something!

Hobbs says: "To violate man’s free will would make him less than a person, only a puppet dangled on the string of fate." " This is contrary to the very nature of God!"

The paths of my friend and Hobbs converge at this point. They agree about the nature of God! Amazing!
My friend is close to being a Southern Baptist.

Now if your path converges with another then there are probaly other unseen convergences. I know through discussions with my JW friend that he denies without hesitation original sin.

Hobbs' understanding of Calvinism is that people don't believe because they have been excluded from believing through election.

"To say that only those chosen by God can believe is to ignore the plain teachings of the New Testament." What does the Bible say about those not believing? I always thought that it was because they cannot believe. They cannot believe because they are born into sin. The elect cannot believe for the same reason but because they are elected and regenerated they believe.

Two more BF&M revisions (about 80 years) and the SBC will be the new JW

Ref'n Rev said...

The reasoning that "God would not call someone to do that which they are humanly inable to do" is a very poor argument against election. (ie--the call to repent and believe=the ability to repent and believe without the initial work of the Holy Spirit)

Ever read the OT? God demands perfection, something we are unable to do. That is why Christ came to begin with. That's why God alone passed through the sacrifices in the covenant with Abraham--man was incapable of keeping the covenant.

I've never understood the popularity of this argument.

Jon L. Estes said...

Thank God for His wonderful word.

There is a verse that God won't let me forget, especially when it comes to the subject at hand (and the one which is going to be shared Friday).

Romans 9:21 (NKJV)
Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?


I also believe there are still some things that are meant to remain mysteries and not be divided over. This is one of them.

Back to Olympic preparation (Lottie Olympics, that is).

peter lumpkins said...

Wade,

Thanks for posting Dr. Hobbs' essay. Hobbs had as much or more influence on me personally--albeit I never met him face-to-face--than perhaps any other single Southern Baptist.

And, though I am an unapologetic supporter of the Conservative Resurgence, one of the lowest heart-breaking tragedies over which I personally lament to this moment, is the notorious 'booing debacle' of this giant of a man graciously given to Southern Baptists...a dirty blotch I hope never forgotten, thus never repeated.

I actually posted the Hobbs' essay a while back. And, while I know you are posting your own essay from the OK paper, The Alabama Baptist ran as a two-part series, along with Dr. Hobbs, a counter-point by Dr. Timothy George.

You are welcome to copy/paste Dr. George's essay to your site for your readership, making it a "Trilogy," so to speak. Whatever the case, the link may assist your readers.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Kevin said...

Wade,

I'm not a Calvinist, and I appreciate the fact that you present both sides on your blog.

Let me tell you one thing that really irks me about this whole debate: it seems everyone looks with rose colored classes at their own "side."

Go to Amazon.com and look up a book supporting Calvinism. Calvinist will give it raving reviews, non-Calvinist will give it terrible reviews. Look up a book which does not support Calvinism and you'll get just the opposite.

The same is true for the John 3:16 conference. You're one of the only bloggers I've read that has shown an ounce of objectivity--many have written as though the conference was a threat to (or the salvation of) Christianity.

I hope believers see me first and foremost as a fellow brother in Christ.

Sorry if this comes across as venting.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks Peter,

I had not read the articles you linked earlier on your site and will do so.

I wholeheartedly agree about the "booing" of Dr. Hobbs. It was absolutely ridiculous and unbecoming Christian men.

It reminds me of the similar booing I heard when the Convention debated, and then adopted, the Garner Motion.

Bessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Kevin,

Thanks for the comment. I agree with you.

I have very good friends who believe just like Dr. Hobbs. I have Sunday School teachers who believe just like Dr. Hobbs.

They love Jesus. They love the Word, and I have no desire to convince them of any "error" even though they know I hold to a different view of soteriology than they.

To me, being a "Calvinist" or being a four point classical "Arminian" SHOULD NOT be an issue of fellowship.

Further, I know my own fallibility is so real, that I COULD be wrong in my interpretations of Scripture. Therefore, I will listen to my brothers give their views, respectfully affirm them as brothers and NEVER interrupt them to CORRECT them, and when the appropropriate time comes, I will elucidate my own views.

Blessings,

Wade

Elisabeth said...

My first pastor was a Calvinist. I myself am not. Yet I have heard a lot on both sides of the argument. Some of the things I agree with are: 1. God is outside of time and is all knowing and all loving. 2. How exactly God's sovereignty and man's free will works together is a mystery.

I myself do not think that Christianity has anything to fear by either Calvinists or Arminians.

Darby Livingston said...

"Further, I know my own fallibility is so real, that I COULD be wrong in my interpretations of Scripture. Therefore, I will listen to my brothers give their views, respectfully affirm them as brothers and NEVER interrupt them to CORRECT them, and when the appropropriate time comes, I will elucidate my own views."

Come on Wade. If the Bible wasn't meant to be a club, publishers wouldn't make them so doggone heavy. :)

Anonymous said...

CALVIN:

Did Calvin base his 'theory' strictly on the Scriptures?

Did Calvin take into account any Scriptures that opposed his theory?
If so, did he EXPLAIN in what way these particular Scriptures did somehow NOT refute his ideas?

OR
Did Calvin ALSO dip into the traditional ideas of the Early Church Fathers and the Early Councils and Credos of the Church?
These ideas would have been in their writings on the nature of God, grace, the Incarnation, the power of Christ's Sacrifice, Redemption, the nature of man'sfree will, and the concept that God has imprinted His Law on the hearts of ALL mankind?

If he did, was he 'selectively' using ONLY those ideas that supported HIS theory and discarding the CONTEXT of his adopted ideas that may have indicated a weakness in Calvin's theories?

Sorry for all the questions.
It's me, L's and I cannot sort out Calvin's thinking. Maybe I should wait until the next post to ask these questions? Let me know.

By the way, I was SO surprised by the photograph of Dr Hobbs: he is the spitting image of my French Canadian p'pere (grandfather) of blessed memory, except that my dear p'pere's eyes were a little darker. Same gentle smile and countenance.
You can see the kindness in the eyes of Dr. Hobbs. How could any Christian person have 'booed' him? It must have broken his heart. So unkind of them to do it.

Wade was fortunate to have met Dr. Hobbs. I applaud Wade's efforts to illustrate a CIVIL discourse on the pros and cons of the Calvinist doctrines, in a Christ-like fashion.

Thank you everyone, for your patience. L's

P.S. I hope the individual who was talking about using the Bible like a 'club' was 'joking'.
Kind of shocked me, there.

B Nettles said...

L's
Calvin was a prolific writer and wrote commentaries on "twenty-four books of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament except for 2 and 3 John and Revelation." [as one website put it.]

They are available on-line, too. Check out this site. -- No, I'm not affiliated with it in any way.

Many other people have written many books about the many books Calvin wrote, too, so a simple answer to your questions is nigh impossible.

I suggest you pick a few of the passages you're thinking about and go see how Calvin handled them.

In regards to how the early church fathers may have influenced Calvin, that answer would come from "many authors," probably with differing opinions. I think we need to realize that we ALL bring prejudices from our heritage to the table where we ingest the Word of God. A US adult is going to handle theology differently than an African, Asian, etc., because our lives "tell" us what is right and what is wrong. If there's a question about how a Scripture passage could be interpreted or applied, we're going to apply our sense of right and wrong. A rugged-individualistic self-sufficient American wants things to be "free-will" oriented. A French 16th century, raised-under-the-monarchy-and-Pope theologian is probably going to appeal to a higher sovereign who is unfallibly wise (as opposed to fallibly prideful.) That is unless we carefully analyze and attempt to minimize our own prejudices. Much of what Hobbs concludes (while I appreciate his explanation of the Greek) seems to come from that American individualism set of glasses (recognizing that many held the same views before American was founded).

Wow...sorry for rambling...reading is the best way to find out what Calvin thought.

Bill

Anonymous said...

The awesome Dr. Hobbs said, “For God so loved the world [not certain ones in it]..."

Little 'ol me says, agreed. But can't God love with a different kind of love towards some (the elect) than others (the non-elect)? I love my mother and my wife, but not in the same way. Not with the same kind of love. Surely if the created has the ability to love differently, the Creator has the ability to do so as well. Would He make the created with a greater ability than He has Himself? Furthermore, what would one make of the kind of love He showed the Egyptians as they chased the Israelites across the Red Sea? Or how about the kind of love that killed every newborn without the blood applied to the doorpost? What kind of love was He showing Uzzah when he killed him immediately when he was simply trying to keep the ark from falling in the mud?

Dr. Hobbs said, "..., that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever [anyone, anywhere, anytime] believeth [an act of man’s free will] in Him should not perish [be lost, destroyed, or go to hell], but have everlasting life.”


'Ol me says, again, agreed. But who will believe? Will just anyone believe whenever they make their mind up to do so? Or does it take an act of God to enable someone to believe.

Herein is the difference to me. Some say man is generally bad but still has a little island of righteousness tucked away. Just enough in them to do not just a great act of the free will, but the greatest act of free will they will ever do.

While others say that man is unable to save himself without the work being applied by God. I am one of the one's that is thrilled that God saw fit to overcome my free will. Because in my free will, I would have never in a million years chose Him. Before He changed me and changed my will towards Him, I hated Him with all that was in me.

I'll be His puppet of joy! :)

Just my thoughts. I would love to read a different take from a NON-Calvinists. Any other Calvinists feel free to make corrections to my ramblings. :)

I did love Dr. Hobbs and I am certain he is getting a kick out of all this from his view now.

Looking forward to the next piece.

SL1M

Anonymous said...

To BILL NETTLES:

Thank you for the amazing site. I had no idea something like that resource was available. I'm glad I asked those questions now.

Early Christmas present! :)

As for the Early Church Fathers, I am a little uncertain how to research all that but will make effort, as I am trying to understand what seems now such a STRANGE theology. St. Augustine's name has come up and I am familiar with some of his writings already, in particular, the 'City of God'. I do read through a Roman Catholic lense, but I have Protestant friends and family to help me, also with this, although none are 'Calvinistic' in that 'tulip' five-point framework.

I agree with you about our American cultural and historical bias. We LIKE to make up our own minds and we are resolutely independent as a people. I am no exception. Half of my family is Canadian and they are even MORE independent-minded than we are but they are much more accepting of the various cultures in Canada which form more of a 'mosaic' than a 'melting pot'. I have spent time with family in Montreal, Quebec City, and St. Armand and my people are VERY proud of their Frence heritage.

I appreciate the time it took you to read my questions and to respond. It was very kind.
I will put your help to good use. Thanks again, L's

Thy Peace said...

Dr. Tom Ascol has responded to David Allen:

A Brief Response to David Allen's Explanations and Rejoinder


James White has responded to David Allen and John 3:16 Conference:

A Timeline on the J316C Discussion

Today on the Dividing Line: More on the John 3:16 Conference
I addressed the new article posted by David Allen on Peter Lumpkin's blog at the end of the program. Here's that portion:

Pas Ho Pisteuwn = "Everyone Believing," Not "Every Single Person Can Believe"

WatchingHISstory said...

anyone

isn't the problem with anti-Calvinist straw man arguments an intentional oversight of original sin?

Don't most anti-Calvinist reject original sin and Calvinist do accept it?

Hobbs said: "More specifically Calvin held that before the foundation of the world God elected certain individuals to be saved to the neglect of all others. (no mention of original sin here) This is contrary to the very nature of God! Recognizing the place of faith, those who follow Calvin say that only the elect believe in Jesus as Savior. As I understand it, the opposite is true." (all are born into sin and not just inclined toward sin but are sinners by birth and therefore all are perishing and in need of salvation. There is no place to suggest that God arbitrarily does not elect some. What can be said is God does elect some.)

Thy Peace said...

Timmy Brister's timeline of events: David Allen, Hyper-Calvinism, and James White: The Rundown

I believe the above will be updated in the future too.

NativeVermonter said...

Thy Peace you are da link man! I do appreciate you giving us the one-stop shopping because I probably wouldn't see the information otherwise.

In regards to original sin, whatever capacity Lazarus had to get up out of his grave is the same capacity I have to believe on the Lord Jesus for salvation.

And I'm not a Calvinist but I am a Believer in the Doctrines of Grace. If you call yourself a Calvinist then I'll assume you baptize infants. Why isn't terminology important anymore?

WatchingHISstory said...

NV

no, I don't believe in infant baptism.

Anonymous said...

A five-point Calvinist is one who gives new meaning to the term:

'HOLIER THAN THOU.'

Anonymous said...

'To represent man as sent into the world under a curse, as incurably wicked—wicked by the constitution of his nature and wicked by eternal decree—as doomed, unless exempted by special grace which he cannot merit, or by any effort of his own obtain, to live in sin while he remains on earth, and to be eternally miserable when he leaves it—to represent him as born unable to keep the commandments, yet as justly liable to everlasting punishment for breaking them, is alike repugnant to reason and conscience, and turns existence into a hideous nightmare.'

Anonymous said...

Anony says

'born unable to keep the commandments, yet as justly liable to everlasting punishment for breaking them'


unable to keep from sinning

JUSTLY (?) eternally punished anyway

SATANIC, ISN'T IT.

Christian Thinker said...

Anonymous said...
A five-point Calvinist is one who gives new meaning to the term:

'HOLIER THAN THOU.'

Wed Dec 03, 10:21:00 PM 2008


How so, Anon? That seems a very "holier than thou" judgment! I guess it ws too much to hope that civil discourse between Calvinists and non-Calvinists would take place -- the anti-Calvinists have arrived.

Cindy said...

Yet another "John 3:16" perspective:

http://www.prophezei.com/?p=412

Christian Thinker! said...

Anonymous said...
'To represent man as sent into the world under a curse, as incurably wicked—wicked by the constitution of his nature and wicked by eternal decree—as doomed, unless exempted by special grace which he cannot merit, or by any effort of his own obtain, to live in sin while he remains on earth, and to be eternally miserable when he leaves it—to represent him as born unable to keep the commandments, yet as justly liable to everlasting punishment for breaking them, is alike repugnant to reason and conscience, and turns existence into a hideous nightmare.'

Wed Dec 03, 10:32:00 PM 2008


More anti-Calvinist hostility (and arrogance). It is only repugnant to the reason and conscience of those who are "by nature the children of wrath", and it is only a hideous nightmare of existence for those whose existence is all about themselves rather than about the glory of the Creator, who does all things according to the pleasure of His own perfect will.

Lord, deliver us from those who don't know what "Lord" means!

Anonymous said...

FORGIVENESS

DID THE AMISH DO A BETTER JOB OF FORGIVING THAN THE
'JUST' GOD OF CALVINISM
EVER COULD ?????


On Monday morning, October 2, 2006, a gunman entered a one-room Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania.

The oldest hostage, a thirteen-year-old, begged Roberts to "shoot me first and let the little ones go."

Refusing her offer, he opened fire on all of them, killing five and leaving the others critically wounded. Then the killer shot and mortally wounded himself.

The blood was barely dry on the schoolhouse floor when Amish parents brought WORDS OF FORGIVENESS to the family of the one who had slain their children.

Fresh from the funerals where they had buried their own children, grieving Amish families accounted for half of the seventy-five people who attended the killer''s burial.

Roberts'' widow was deeply moved by their presence as Amish families greeted her and her three children.

Their FORGIVENESS went beyond talk and graveside presence: the Amish also supported a fund for the shooter''s family.

This story asks us to ponder the reasons why the religious beliefs and habits of the Amish led them to FORGIVE so quickly. We ask if Amish practices parallel or diverge from other religious and secular notions of forgiveness.

"All the religions teach FORGIVENESS," mused an observer, "but no one does it like the Amish."

Regardless of the cultural seedbed that nourished this story, the surprising act of Amish FORGIVENESS begs for a deeper exploration.

How could the Amish do this?

What did this act mean to them?

And how might THEIR WITNESS prove useful to the rest of us?



WHAT WONDROUS LOVE IS THIS, OH MY SOUL,
WHAT WONDROUS LOVE? L's

Christian Thinker! said...

FORGIVENESS

DID THE AMISH DO A BETTER JOB OF FORGIVING THAN THE
'JUST' GOD OF CALVINISM
EVER COULD ?????


More ANTI-Calvinism -- and disrespectful rhetoric from someone who has been treated with respect by the Calvinist blog host. Shame!

Anonymous said...

Dear Christian Thinker,

Speak to me of the Calvinist God of the Five Points.
Does He forgive? Is He able to forgive, having already judged everyone before they were created?
I really DON'T understand this.
It doesn't make sense to me.
I am not saying it is 'wrong' to believe it, I am just confused by something I have never encountered in any religious setting before.

By the way, I have always thought deeply about the actions of the Amish who forgave the killer and embraced his family with love and compassion. It speaks to me of a greater love than I can imagine: a love that comes to them from God because it is so against our own natures. L's


I wonder, can God be any less forgiving and loving than these gentle Amish people? What do you think?

Is the Creator less able to love and forgive than His Amish creatures ? We are supposed to be made in His image.

Do YOU think there might be some connection between forgiving others and being forgiven yourself?
I think that the Amish believe this very much.
They are 'Ana-Baptists'

Here is some more about the Amish who forgave so readily:

' The Amish are Anabaptists, a Christian theological movement that grew out of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. One of its central tenets is adult baptism -- the belief that baptism should be a conscious choice undertaken by adults, a public confession that one is "born again" in their faith.

But that doesn't mean that the un-baptized schoolgirls who died at Mr. Roberts' hands are not saved, said Mr. Troyer. Baptism is only the outward ceremony that displays someone's inner conversion.

"The baptism itself doesn't save someone, Jesus Christ saves us," he said. "A sinner can't be baptized and think he gets a ride to heaven."

According to Amish belief, said Mr. Troyer, young children are innocents, not "accountable" until they reach a certain age. They follow the direction of their mother and father, come to learn right from wrong, and then, by age 10 or 11, make the choice to live for God or for Satan. But as long as they are believers, they will be saved.

"They read the scripture, they knew of God, their parents had devotionals every day -- they were taught and trained to know God," he said. "The children who died in this, God has them in his hands; the word of God says so. They're in heaven."

Mr. Troyer's community of 50 to 60 households has been labeled New Order Amish; they embrace certain technologies, such as the telephone, as long as they function to hold families together. They rely on horses and buggies and ride bicycles, using taxi service for long distances. Following the slow extinction of small farms, they have adapted well to cottage industries.

In keeping with the principle of separation of church and state, most Amish people do not vote. They will pray for leaders to make the right decision, said Mr. Troyer, which they believe is more effective than voting.

"We consider ourselves pilgrims and strangers going through this life on Earth," he said. "Our citizenship is not here on Earth."

Christian Thinker, can you imagine a faith with so much love and forgiveness and so little anger and hate? I think the Amish are wonderfully Christian people. Think about it. :) L's

debbiekaufman said...

L's: The answer to all of your questions concerning God and what L's: I as a Christian who believes in much of Reformed Theology would say a huge yes to all your questions concerning God.

Anony: The last thing I feel is "Holier than Thou" in fact the opposite would be true. I'm not holy enough, which is why I am so grateful for Christ's coming to this earth, his death, burial, and resurrection, accomplishing what I could never accomplish. Pure holiness.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Debbie Kaufmann,

L's :)

Christian Thinker! said...

L's,
The tenor of your comments on the topic of Calvinism has not been one of a person seeking to understand or appreciate a perspective different from your own -- it has been one of disdain, attack, belittling, and hostility. It appears that you have "pre-ordained" that Cavinism is incorrect and evil, so it seems unlikely you will be persuaded otherwise. How "fundamentalist" of you!

Holier than Thou
Satanic
The "Just" God of Calvinism


Similar examples of mocking disdain for all things Calvinistic can be found in the comments on Wade's blog over the past several weeks, all from a certain "Anonymous" poster who enjoys using CAPITAL LETTERS to make a point. I wonder just who that might be, hmmmm?


Yes, there is much to admire in the example of the Amish. No one said anything otherwise. But it is beyond inappropriate to use the good deeds of the Amish as an opportuity to malign someone else's understanding of the nature of God and how He deals with fallen humanity.

I get that, when it comes to Calvinism, you don't get it -- and I am not the least bothered by your belief in something different, nor interested in persuading you to embrace it. But suppose you had a blog that dealt with various topics and every time the subject of Catholicism came up, folks showed up to insult Catholic doctrine. Perhaps, if you were as gracious a host as Wade, you would permit the insults and refrain from argument. But all the readers would recognize that the anti-Catholic posts were disrespectful to you, the host, and to any fellow Catholics reading along. You can get that, right?

Anonymous said...

L's - Christian Thinker does have a point.

Please note that the conversation can be one of learning and understanding better if ANTI calvinistic rhetoric is checked at the door and only NON calvinists and calvinists are exchanging ideas.

You have seen examples from Lumpkins, Yarnell, and many others in the recent past. I have fallen into it as well because we all naturally want to defend against ridicule. None of us will get anywhere like that. It turns hateful so fast when comments are only made to incite anger rather than to understand.

On another note. Is it really wrong to consider those saved (elected) as "holier" than those not saved (unelected)? By God's grace no one actually feels that way, but the statement is not necessarily wrong, is it?

Jesus does say to be holy just like my Father in Heaven is holy. Who is He talking to here? The nonelect?

Things to think on.

SL1M

Anonymous said...

Dear Slim and Thinker:

Are you crediting me with an anonymous person's words in some cases?

I cannot answer for what is another's work. L's

My opinion of Calvinism is presently one of 'shocked' astonishment and confusion.

If you are offended by MY comments, I hope I don't manage to offend everyone present on the same day.

Calvinism bears scrutiny. If it can stand up to challenges and questions, it is worth considering.
If people who are strident Calvinists have difficulty with that, perhaps it is THEY who feel scrutinized in their faith. I don't ever want to harm anyone's beliefs. I do intend to ask questions about something that I find strange and confusing. I think that you know I will do that without disrespecting anyone's personal faith. I have often said, if people take comfort and find peace in what they believe, then I am sincerely happy for them.
Love to all. L's

P.S. I am particularly interested in WHY people believe in Calvin. I want to find out what was the pre-eminent belief and then, what had to follow as any corollaries to support that belief. Also, am interested in the APPLICATION of these beliefs in how people treat EACH OTHER and those that they consider 'lost' in relationship to how they view themselves as 'chosen'. Lots of questions that are exploratory. I honestly do find some of this doctrine to be of a shocking nature. Doesn't mean I think people are 'bad' or 'wrong' for believing it. I not judging Calvinists; I am scrutinizing Calvinism. Big difference. Have a little confidence: I will make effort to be objective and a little more sensitive to those easily offended. I do care about your feelings. L's :)

debbiekaufman said...

L's: I hope that Wade's next post on this subject answers some of your questions. It's not Calvin that is followed but Christ. Calvin was a theologian who like Augustine was converted later in life, he then wrote what he discovered from the Bible, having studied it on his own. I agree with Calvin in this area, though not in all areas.

Many Roman Catholic churches are named after saints. Does that mean that those who attend that church follow that particular saint? I'm sure you would say no. It's the same with Calvinists. The word Calvinist is more of an explanation of beliefs rather than following John Calvin.

Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie,

Thanks for helping.
I do keep stumbling over this philosphy and can't make sense of it. I look forward to the next post discussion to see how different people view and interpret Calvinism.

You are right about our churches: saints' lives are admired but that is because the saint pointed always to Christ.

See you on the next post. I'll probably mostly ask questions and more questions. So far, I'm not connecting with this philosophy in comprehending it. It's VERY complex, I think. L's

Only By His Grace said...

Debbie,

Very good response to L's question.

I am sure you would say the same thing about an Arminian. They do not follow Jacob Arminius especially but accept a certain and important part of his teaching.

Thank you.

Phil in Norman.

debbiekaufman said...

Exactly Phil.

Jesse said...

Mr. Hobbs stated at one point in his article, The free will of man is seen in Ephesians 1:13: “After that ye believed” or “beliveing.”

It appears that he misses the point made by Paul in Ephesians beginning with verse one (God's will) all the way through verse 14.

We were chosen before the foundation of the world, predestined to adoption, had grace bestowed upon us, we were redemption through His (Jesus) blood which was lavished upon us, obtained an inheritance (people are named in inheritances prior to the inheritance being given, thus again predestined in v11 according to His purpose), so that we would believe after hearing the message of truth and be sealed. It is amazing when you then look at v14 to see that this was done with a view to the redemption of God's own possession. We were already God's!

Mr. Hobbs only focuses on "The free will of man is seen in Ephesians 1:13: “After that ye believed” or “beliveing.” This is why many folks don't understand the doctrines of grace, their focus is too narrow.

Jesse

Lucky said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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