Calvinism is Rooted

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I cannot explain to you my distaste for this form of deterministic Calvinism. Not only does it require God to send people to hell, but it requires God to cause all things, sin included.

This is from John Piper:

If he can’t govern that moment, he can’t govern the rest of your life and do the miracles you need for him to do. So you need two things. You need a God who disapproves of the ugliness and you need a God who ordains that all things come to pass and is so sovereign he can take everything — including that — and work it for good. And so you try to say there is no sense in which the sovereign God willed that, you will lose God for the rest of your life.

Source: John Piper Explains God’s Will in Scrabble and Child Molestation and We Pick Up the Pieces | The Wartburg Watch 2015

You can find more gems at the site linked to above. But this is the jist of it:

God is all powerful and establishes his reign as such. Therefore, he chooses to send some to hell and some to heaven, so that no matter what, we may not step over that choice. God has determined all things.

John Piper (theologian)
John Piper, heretic according to Christian Tradition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But God is equally powerless. He cannot undo what he has done. God has established that some will be raped, some will be murdered, and so on. He cannot change this, regardless. But, what is now required from us is our blind obedience and acceptance of this divine fiat. We must accept that this is God’s will, or else we will be lost forever.

Unless you say God has willed child molestation, you are going to hell.

Among other things, God can make a rock so heavy he cannot lift it.

If this was but Piper alone, we could conceal it as a Piperism. But it is not.

God . . . brings about all things in accordance with his will. In other words, it isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those who love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects for his glory (see Ex. 9:13-16; John 9:3) and his people’s good (see Heb. 12:3-11; James 1:2-4). This includes—as incredible and as unacceptable as it may currently seem—God’s having even brought about the Nazis’ brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child . . .

— Mark R. Talbot, “’All the Good That Is Ours in Christ’: Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us,” in John Piper and Justin Taylor (eds.), Suffering and the Sovereignty of God (Wheaton: Crossway, 2006), 31-77 (quote from p. 42).

What do we make of this? Either God is the cause of all evil and sin, or God is powerless to do anything about it.


When I say Calvinism is a heresy, oftentimes I am perceived as joking. But I am not. Rather, I am quoting the Confession of Dositheus (Jerusalem Synod, 1672). This confession is a charge against Calvinism, from top to bottom.

In one part, it reads,

But to say, as the most wicked heretics do and as is contained in the Chapter [of Cyril’s’ Confession] to which this answers — that God, in predestinating, or condemning, did not consider in any way the works of those predestinated, or condemned, we know to be profane and impious. For thus Scripture would be opposed to itself, since it promises the believer salvation through works, yet supposes God to be its sole author, by His sole illuminating grace, which He bestows without preceding works, to show to man the truth of divine things, and to teach him how he may co-operate with it, if he will, and do what is good and acceptable, and so obtain salvation. He takes not away the power to will — to will to obey, or not obey him.

But than to affirm that the Divine Will is thus solely and without cause the author of their condemnation, what greater defamation can be fixed upon God? and what greater injury and blasphemy can be offered to the Most High? We do know that the Deity is not tempted with evils, {cf. James 1:13} and that He equally wills the salvation of all, since there is no respect of persons with Him. we do confess that for those who through their own wicked choice, and their impenitent heart, have become vessels of dishonor, there is justly decreed condemnation. But of eternal punishment, of cruelty, of pitilessness, and of inhumanity, we never, never say God is the author, who tells us that there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents. {Luke 15:7} Far be it from us, while we have our senses, to believe or to think this; and we do subject to an eternal anathema those who say and think such things, and esteem them to be worse than any infidels.

If we suppose God has foreordained everything, evil and good, then we are betraying the Gospel — and instead, substituting “another Gospel.”

Finally,

And that these fine gentlemen know the Orthodox doctrine of the Eastern Church (though they pretend not to know), is evident. Firstly, from the Holy Scriptures themselves (a knowledge of which they make a special boast), and from the holy theologians of the Catholic Church. For they know very well—these maligners not only of men but of God Himself know,—that if indeed God be just, and if indeed the father of us all, as He Himself hath told us in many places; and that His commandments were given to men as something necessary unto salvation; and that the choice of what is good and the refusal of what is evil is taught by the Scriptures; and that to every one will be given according as he hath wrought;† and that God is not the author of evils, nor a respecter of persons, so as to love one, and hate another without cause; but desireth and willeth the salvation of all,—that the thesis of free-will is certain, and to be held of necessity, according as the Catholic Church maintaineth; and absolutely to be banished from the sacred precincts of the faith is the nonsense about destiny derived from Greek* myth; which, as a pernicious outrage, the wickedness of Calvin hath imposed upon mankind, opposing every virtue of a life that is according to Christ (for which Christ became man), and introducing depravity and lawlessness, and that most superstitious and false notion, that faith forsooth simply and alone saveth man, and that works are of no avail whatever, which the Scriptures most plainly admonish him to do who would be saved, since faith without works is dead.1

  1. Patriarch of Jerusalem Dositheus, The Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Jerusalem (ed. J. J. Overbeck; trans. J. N. W. B. Robertson; London: Thomas Baker, 1899), 10–11.

how close does Wesley come to Calvinism? (Free Will)

Stripped image of John Wesley
Joel… you chose to fulfill your determined posting of this… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although these minutes are not part of the doctrinal standards of The United Methodist Church, reading them can be helpful in understanding Wesley better.

The following persons being met together at the New-Room, in Bristol; John Wesley, Charles Wesley, John Hodges, Thomas Richards, Samuel Larwood, Thomas Meyrick, Richard Moss, John Slocombe, Herbert Jenkins, and Marmaduke Gwynne; it was proposed to review the Minutes of the last Conference with regard to justification. And it was asked…

Q. 23. Wherein may we come to the very edge of Calvinism?

A. (1.) In ascribing all good to the free grace of God. (2.) In denying all natural free-will, and all power antecedent to grace. And, (3.) In excluding all merit from man; even for what he has or does by the grace of God.

Q. 24. Wherein may we come to the edge of Antinomianism?

A. (1.) In exalting the merits and love of Christ. (2.) In rejoicing evermore.

The Synod of Jerusalem (1672) – The Orthodox view on #Calvinism

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() – Emblems of belief available for placement on USVA headstones and markers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We believe the Divine and Sacred Scriptures to be God-taught; and, therefore, we ought to believe the same without doubting; yet not otherwise than as the Catholic Church hath interpreted and delivered the same. For every foul heresy receiveth, indeed, the Divine Scriptures, but perversely interpreteth the same, using metaphors, and homonymies, and sophistries of man’s wisdom, confounding what ought to be distinguished, and trifling with what ought not to be trifled with. For if [we were to receive the same] otherwise, each man holding every day a different sense concerning the same, the Catholic Church would not [as she doth] by the grace of Christ continue to be the Church until this day, holding the same  doctrine of faith, and always identically and steadfastly believing, but would be rent into innumerable parties, and subject to heresies; neither would the Church be holy, the pillar and ground of the truth, {1 Timothy 3:15} without spot or wrinkle; {Ephesians 5:27} but would be the Church of the malignant {Psalm 25:5} as it is manifest that of the heretics undoubtedly is, and especially that of Calvin, who are not ashamed to learn from the Church, and then to wickedly repudiate her. Wherefore, the witness also of the Catholic Church is, we believe, not of inferior authority to that of the Divine Scriptures. For one and the same Holy Spirit being the author of both, it is quite the same to be taught by the Scriptures and by the Catholic Church. Moreover, when any man speaketh from himself he is liable to err, and to deceive, and be deceived; but the Catholic Church, as never having spoken, or speaking from herself, but from the Spirit of God — who being her teacher, she is ever unfailingly rich — it is impossible for her to in any wise err, or to at all deceive, or be deceived; but like the Divine Scriptures, is infallible, and hath perpetual authority.

via The Confession of Dositheus @ ELCore.Net.

Was Paul a Calvinist or a Arminian-Wesleyan?

Hagia Sophia ; Empress Zoë mosaic : Christ Pan...
Hagia Sophia ; Empress Zoë mosaic : Christ Pantocrator; Istanbul, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You have heard what my manner of life was when I was still a practising Jew: how savagely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it; and how in the practice of our national religion I outstripped most of my Jewish contemporaries by my boundless devotion to the traditions of my ancestors. But then in his good pleasure God, who from my birth had set me apart, and who had called me through his grace…(Galatians 1.13-15 REB)

This is not the first time in the canon we read of Paul arguing that he was set a part by God (Romans 1.1). Here, he insists it was from his birth/from before his birth. We must ask, did Paul see himself has having a choice in “choosing” to follow Jesus on the Damascus road? How do we reconcile our supposed notion of “free will” to that of God’s?

Again, I ask: God Paul have refused to follow Christ on Damascus road?

John Wesley did not see this “unconditional predestination” as inconsistent with his theology of a free grace as he writes to this verse in his Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament. Do we then allow that some are predetermined to be conformed to God’s righteousness and others must choose for themselves in some manner?

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For John Piper, God’s Wrath Really Isn’t Satisfied

The Good News of Jesus Christ is that God has been born into the world, in the flesh, dwelt among us as a man, opposed Satan, healed the sick, raised the dead, inaugurated the reign of God in this world, was himself murdered, then rose from the dead by the power of the Spirit. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross paid the penalty for sin redeeming us, ransoming us, rescuing us. Jesus paid it all!

The American author who wrote the post on Japan’s disasters holds a very different view of the cross: that God poured out all his wrath against sin on Jesus that we deserved. For the American author, the cross “satisfies” the wrath of God like the proverbial virgin “satisfies” the volcano. However, this is directly at odds with the implication that Japan’s earthquake is an outflow of God’s wrath against sin. That implication would suggest that Jesus’ death on the cross only partially satisfied God’s wrath. Or that God’s wrath is greater than God’s grace.

If the Japanese earthquake is a result of sin and God’s wrath, as this author implies, then Jesus may not have paid our debt in full—because we’re still paying interest.

I think that this is an interesting development. Penal Substitution in the Piperan Calvinist view is not a full satisfaction of God’s justice, it’s can only be partly so. But then again, the question is, when is God’s wrath something to be “satisfied” or “fulfilled”? Jesus came to fulfill the law, that’s what the Gospels say, and the Law was not wrathful, on the contrary, it showed the Israelites and Judeans what was good.

I would also like to add that even if God did choose to either allow or directly make this happen, repentance is never for God’s glory, which has to do with God’s presence, and not some abstract notion of God being far away and distant. Also, the notion of repentance implies human freedom. God does not need to repent, nor does God force us to repent. God can send the Holy Spirit to persuade us, but it is up to us. God has chosen this way, otherwise Jesus is being completely disingenuous in his calls for all people to repent.

For more, read T.C. Moore’s “A Black Sun Has Not Risen On Japan: Challenging So-Called Answers for the Japanese Disaster.