MEN WHO THINK THEY ARE FOUR POINT CALVINISTS ARE ACTUALLY NO POINT CALVINISTS

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chain_gerstner_USE_ broekn pieces*

 

 

  • Jesus did not go to the cross with the hope that some people would be saved
  • Every person for whom Christ died will be saved
  • There are even some men who think they are Four Point Calvinists but are Five Point and don’t know it

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*You may listen to this entire teaching series online for free

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For further reading:

CALVINISM IS AN IRREDUCIBLY COMPLEX THEOLOGICAL SYSTEM – IT CANNOT BE DIVIDED INTO PARTS

CALVINISM LESS THAN FIVE POINTS IS NOT CALVINISM, BUT SOMETHING ELSE

C.H. Spurgeon Defends Calvinism

Southern Baptists still struggling with Calvinism

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8 Comments on “MEN WHO THINK THEY ARE FOUR POINT CALVINISTS ARE ACTUALLY NO POINT CALVINISTS”

  1. calvinandcalvinism June 7, 2012 at 11:34 AM #

    Hey there,

    This is actually unhelpful historical and theological analysis. Take folk like Martin Luther. Luther held to predestination, unconditional election, complete depravity, etc, and yet that Christ suffered and died for the sins of all mankind. There have been gobs of other Calvinists who have held to unconditional election and unlimited satisfaction for all human sin. If you wish to talk about the history ping me back a message or reply.

    Thanks,
    David

    • Nicholas Voss June 8, 2012 at 3:47 PM #

      I wish I could recommend your site, but you really have no idea what you are talking about …

  2. calvinandcalvinism June 13, 2012 at 8:48 AM #

    Hey there Nicolas,

    Okay, but then surely the question is simple as it comes to this, did Luther teach limited atonement or unlimited atonement? Right? And then we can ask further questions like, did any other Reformers teach limited atonement or unlimited atonement?

    The question should not be that hard to resolve as we have nearly all the extant works of men like Luther, Zwingli, Bullinger, Musculus, Calvin, Cranmer in English.

    Sorry if my first comment bothered you, but I dont think the history can be dismissed like that.

    Thanks for your time,
    David

    • Nicholas Voss June 13, 2012 at 10:34 AM #

      Good morning David-
      If I have time next week I will research quotes regarding the Limited Atonement from the men you listed. Meanwhile, the Westminster Confession (written 1646) and the Baptist Confession (written 1644 & 1689) teach it, and I consider this part of the Reformation era.
      As you know Calvinists believe the Bible explicitly teaches it, and henceforth we do as well.

      God knew from eternity past who the elect would be and He sent His Son to die for them. To deny the Limited Atonement is to reject God’s omniscience. To deny the Limited Atonement is to imply that God has no specific plan of salvation to redeem those He has chosen from the foundation of the world. God has a plan! A very specific plan.

      Off the top of my head here are some Bible verses teaching the Limited Atonement:
      Matt 1:21; John 15:16; Luke 18:7; John 15:16; Acts 13:48; Romans 11: 17; Eph 1: 4-5; Matt 24: 22, 24, 31; Mark 13: 20, 27; Rom 8:33; Col 3:12; 1 Tim 5:21; 2 Tim 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Pet 1:2; 1 Pet 5:13; 2 John 1:1; 2 John 1:13;

      https://nickvoss.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/and-as-many-as-were-appointed-to-eternal-life-believed/

      Warm regards,

      Nick Voss

  3. calvinandcalvinism June 13, 2012 at 11:26 AM #

    Hey Nicholas,

    I will make an effort to spell your name correct this around.

    Thanks for the reply.

    You say: Meanwhile, the Westminster Confession (written 1646) and the Baptist Confession (written 1644 & 1689) teach it, and I consider this part of the Reformation era. As you know Calvinists believe the Bible explicitly teaches it, and henceforth we do as well.

    David: Sure I understand what you say here. Please dont be offended if I point out tho that many of the delegates at Westminster held to an unlimited expiation or satisfaction along with election and so forth. These were the leaders of the English Presbyterian party, such as Calamy, Seaman, Marshall, Vines, Scudder and others. Historians are divided on the question of whether or not the WCF was written to preclude the theology of these men. Some like Warfield, Hetherington, Cunningham, etc, say it was. Others like Struthers, Mitchell, Schafff, Gatiss and Richard Muller say it was not. Muller says it was written to be “roomy” enough for them.

    For myself, I find it unlikely that so many of these English Presbyterians would have signed off on a statement that supposedly directly repudiates their position, so I think its a tricky historical question. And of course the 2nc London Baptist was based on the Savoy, which in turn was based on the WCF. I am not a baptist so the 2LB does not factor in for me. If there is room enough, as Muller says, for Predestinarian unlimited satisfaction views in the WCF, I don’t find myself wanting to enforce its excluding in the 2LB.

    You say: God knew from eternity past who the elect would be and He sent His Son to die for them. To deny the Limited Atonement is to reject God’s omniscience.

    David: How so exactly? God knew by decree and knowledge who would believe and who would not believe. God decreed that Christ sustain a penal satisfaction for all the sins of all men. Yet also, God decreed to effectually save the elect by means of this satisfaction. I don’t see how any of these propositions deny divine omniscience. Also in what I just said, I am not positing any ordering of decrees, merely setting forth three premises.

    You say: To deny the Limited Atonement is to imply that God has no specific plan of salvation to redeem those He has chosen from the foundation of the world. God has a plan! A very specific plan.

    David: Okay that I can understand. The Arminian says that Christ died for no one especially, but for all equally, and that the application of the satisfaction is suspended upon his or her personal belief. Against that, this second objection may have merit. I am not an Arminian so I don’t need to labour that. For the Classic-moderate Calvinist or classic Augustinian, however, Christ dies for all men with the intention of sustaining an all-sufficient satisfaction for all the sins of all men, yet he also dies for the elect, especially, with a special intention to effectually secure and save them. The classic-moderate position, therefore, is not subject to the objection.

    You say:
    Off the top of my head here are some Bible verses teaching the Limited Atonement:
    Matt 1:21; John 15:16; Luke 18:7; John 15:16; Acts 13:48; Romans 11: 17; Eph 1: 4-5; Matt 24: 22, 24, 31; Mark 13: 20, 27; Rom 8:33; Col 3:12; 1 Tim 5:21; 2 Tim 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Pet 1:2; 1 Pet 5:13; 2 John 1:1; 2 John 1:13;

    David: Sure. Here is the thing tho. A verse or statement which identifies specificity does not imply exclusivity.

    Like this: Joan says to Henry: I love you. Larry could not rightly infer from that, that Joan does not love Larry. I know this will sound strange to you, but its a point of logic. Like this, Jesus says he dies for his friends. We cannot infer that he only dies for his friends. Right? Paul says he dies for his enemies too. Its called the negative inference fallacy: one cannot infer a universal negative from a simple positive. Dabney explains: “In proof of the general correctness of this theory of the extent of the Atonement, we should attach but partial force to some of the arguments advanced by Symington and others, or even by Turrettin, e.g., That Christ says, He died “for His sheep,” for “His Church,” for “His friends,” is not of itself conclusive. The proof of a proposition does not disprove its converse. All the force which we could properly attach to this class of passages is the probability arising from the frequent and emphatic repetition of this affirmative statement as to a definite object. Dabney, Lectures, p., 521. [Bold mine]

    That second bolded comment is the key. To affirm whats called a positive does not imply a universal negation (its converse). It’s a rule of logic.

    Keep in mind that Sproul in the video is targeting what he calls 4-point Calvinists. I am saying his argument does not work. Your arguments here, while they may have force against an Arminian, still do not invalidate the case of the classic-moderate Calvinist (sometimes labeled 4-point Calvinists). Make sense?

    And the historical data stands against Sproul on this. Augustine, Prosper, to Luther, to the other first and second generation Reformers, and beyond.

    I am not trying to troll here. I do want to have a conversation of course, but I understand if this is something you do not want to pursue.

    Thanks for your time,
    David

    • Nicholas Voss July 7, 2012 at 4:11 PM #

      David-

      Please accept my apology for the delayed response. I’ve finally had an opportunity to read and re-read your comment. Thank you so much for taking time to write.

      Setting aside aberrant theories such as open-theism or William Lane Craig’s molinism, is it safe to say that generally speaking Arminians and Calvinists and those who call themselves Calvinists (but are in fact partial Arminians) all agree that God knows the future? And every minute detail of the future?

      Why does God know the future? Because he has the ability of a fortune teller? No, of course not. He knows the future because He ordains it.

      When Christ came to save His sheep (those who were chosen before the foundation of the world) He knew who they were. God knew who would believe the Gospel and who would not believe, and He knew this because He chose them before the creation of the world. Faith itself is a gift from God. Men believe because their eyes are open by God. Men are spiritually dead, but God makes them born-anew.

      You seem like a bright guy, someone who has read all the arguments on both sides; therefore I will not bore you by repeating them. I recommend you read the debate between Dave Hunt and James White.

      I believe that those who claim to be Calvinists are really not Calvinists at all. They are sincere brothers in the Lord but they are not Calvinists. It is impossible to divide the TULIP without the entire structure collapsing in on itself. Calvinism is an irreducibly complex theological system that is founded entirely on Scripture.

      The irreducibly complex doctrine of Calvinism can be compared to the irreducibly complex doctrine of Trinity. They both have five points, in fact. They are both founded 100% on the collective teachings of the Bible. Each component in either respective doctrine cannot be divided or separated from each other. For example you cannot claim to believe a Trinitarian if you believe in more than one God. You cannot be a Trinitarian if you deny the deity of the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit. You cannot be a Trinitarian if you deny the distinct personalities of the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit – These are the same One God, yet they are distinct Persons.

      Likewise, a man cannot be a Calvinist if he believes that God chose His people in Christ before the creation of the world, yet believes at the same time that He does not agree with the Limited Atonement component of this doctrine. This is a logical inconsistency of the first order. But as Dr. Sproul said in the video, “These folk are content and happy living a life of logically inconsistencies.”

      In summary there is no such thing as a partial Calvinist any more than there is a creature called a “partial Trinitarian.”

      Thanks for corresponding. I wish I had more time to debate but I’m unable to spend time interacting one-on-one. If you have more questions, please contact a pastor from an OPC church in your area. You can find one here: http://www.opc.org/locator.html

      Warm regards,

      NJV

  4. calvinandcalvinism July 9, 2012 at 8:00 AM #

    Hey there Nicholas

    You say: Please accept my apology for the delayed response. I’ve finally had an opportunity to read and re-read your comment. Thank you so much for taking time to write.

    David: No worries.

    Given the constraints you set out, let me lay out a reply. You don’t have to reply to it at all. If, you can tho, take the time to read it. I will try to show why Sproul’s response fails his own logic tests (which he applies in other areas, eg., Apologetics). This will be longer than I had intended, so please take your time to read it.

    cut

    You say: When Christ came to save His sheep (those who were chosen before the foundation of the world) He knew who they were. God knew who would believe the Gospel and who would not believe, and He knew this because He chose them before the creation of the world. Faith itself is a gift from God. Men believe because their eyes are open by God. Men are spiritually dead, but God makes them born-anew.

    David: Sure, so let us use that. We know that Arminian is wrong when he makes the statement that Christ died for all equally, such that he died for no man effectually with with special reference (over and against others). On the other hand, the Classic-Moderate Calvinist can affirm that these verses support the point that Christ does die for some men especially. The question is, can we obtain “exclusivity” from these verses? No.

    You say: You seem like a bright guy, someone who has read all the arguments on both sides; therefore I will not bore you by repeating them. I recommend you read the debate between Dave Hunt and James White.

    David: Yeah I looked at that years ago when it came out. Classic Calvinism disagrees with both them. If you have any particular argument from White in mind, feel free to reference it and I will respond.

    You say: I believe that those who claim to be Calvinists are really not Calvinists at all. They are sincere brothers in the Lord but they are not Calvinists. It is impossible to divide the TULIP without the entire structure collapsing in on itself. Calvinism is an irreducibly complex theological system that is founded entirely on Scripture.

    David: So read that from where I am sitting. Ken Stewart in his work on Ten Myths about Calvinism: recovering the breadth of the Reformed tradition , notes that TULIP was invented as a mnemonic about 1915ish. You dont see it in earlier literature. Before that it was the “Five Points of Calvinism.” Stewart points out that prior to TULIP there was greater flexibility in what folk did and did not consider the elements of the 5 points. (BTW, Stewart is a PCA prof at Covenant Seminary.) What I am trying to say, the logical construct you call TULIP has late origins. That construct now delimits for you what is and is not logically and theological possible. Others, however, working from different constructs, functioned along different lines of what is and is not possible, logically or theologically (See below for example). To me, your comment is a determination of TULIP, so for you, the parts of TULIP seem inseparable.

    But we can easily show why this is not so. For example, the common assumption is that innate depravity entails unconditional election, which in turn entails limited satisfaction (LS). Let’s grant for whatever reason the first entailment, but how does one sustain the second? We have plenty of counter-factuals in history where predestinarians did not believe depravity and/or predestination entailed LS. Martin Luther is a classic example, while affirming bondage of human sin and predestination, he equally affirmed that Christ suffered for every man, to the exclusion of none.

    You might say, he was inconsistent. He might reply, “On what basis do you make that claim?”

    You say: The irreducibly complex doctrine of Calvinism can be compared to the irreducibly complex doctrine of Trinity. They both have five points, in fact. They are both founded 100% on the collective teachings of the Bible. Each component in either respective doctrine cannot be divided or separated from each other. For example you cannot claim to believe a Trinitarian if you believe in more than one God. You cannot be a Trinitarian if you deny the deity of the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit. You cannot be a Trinitarian if you deny the distinct personalities of the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit – These are the same One God, yet they are distinct Persons.

    David: I sense a danger when TULIP is compared with the Trinity. TULIP’s origin is late, the Trinity’s is early. But the comparison is flawed. The internal logic of the argument for the Trinity works on the assumption of the impossibility of the contrary. Like this: Scripture says, there is ONE God (monotheism). Yet, the Father and the Son and the Spirit are all represented as being Divine (of being God). Because of the impossibility of the contrary (3 gods etc, Polytheism), we deduce the Trinity by way of strict deductive laws of logic (eg., A cannot be non-A in the same sense, etc, with the more intuitive doctrine, “Scripture cannot be Broken”) and good exegesis. That is, as Scripture precludes a plurality of divine natures, so it deductively entails a Trinitarian nature/persons view of God.

    The question then is, is TULIP grounded in that same hermeneutical-logical method? I think not.

    You say: Likewise, a man cannot be a Calvinist if he believes that God chose His people in Christ before the creation of the world, yet believes at the same time that He does not agree with the Limited Atonement component of this doctrine. This is a logical inconsistency of the first order. But as Dr. Sproul said in the video, “These folk are content and happy living a life of logically inconsistencies.”

    David: What is that logical inconsistency? Right now, Sproul just formally begs the questions. Can he demonstrate the logical inconsistency? What form of deductive logic would he enlist?

    You say: In summary there is no such thing as a partial Calvinist any more than there is a creature called a “partial Trinitarian.”

    David: But then what does that make of so many Reformers like Luther, like Calvin, like Musculus, and others, who affirmed that Christ suffered for the sins of all men?

    Right now, I think you “feel” that TULIP is a strictly deduced system of entailments, but I suspect you know this is not demonstratable.

    It seems to me you are working on a more inductive method, namely, “this is probable…” It seems to you that depravity and election entail limited satisfaction. The question is, what is the proper logical basis for that?

    Ive already cited examples where saying Christ lays his life down for his friends cannot entail “not for his enemies.” And so laying his life down for his sheep, cannot entail “not for his non-sheep.”

    If Sproul is right, this is what he needs to get to: Laying his life down for his sheep, properly and deductively entails: laying his life down only for his sheep. That is what Sproul wants, but mistakenly infers from the simple positive. Dabney is exactly right on this.

    Alternative, which is more intuitive to Scripture and logic. John loves Mary. Because of his love, he arranges a birthday party for Mary. He invites all the other children from her class to come, and he supplies presents, food, refreshment’s and entertainment for all, but especially for Mary. John’s love for Mary does not entail exclusivity of love or of gifts, only specialness. John may rightly be said to also love all the other children, and in many ways, wish them well, and wish to give them gifts. In this way, John can give generally, and yet specially to Mary. One can say, John “arranged the party for Mary” and this is perfectly true. But it would not be true to say “only for Mary” as John also arranged the party for all her friends in another sense.

    Christ died for his sheep, his friends, his church, especially, because they share an especial relationship with Jesus. But this cannot be the basis for simply excluding (rather a priorily) that Christ died for others in any other sense.

    So we can say, Christ “gave” himself up for her the Church (Eph 5:25)

    On the other hand, we can also affirm with Jesus:

    NAS John 6:32 Jesus therefore said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. John 6:33 “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

    David: We know from the context that these Pharisees were unrepentant, but yet, contextually, the sense is, they are part of the “world” to which God has given the bread of life to. The bread of life, or in short, life, was given to the world.

    Of course TULIP has no category for a non-effectual “giving,” so automatically, it has predetermined what is and is not logically and theologically possible for you and for itself.

    Thanks for your time,
    David
    http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?page_id=8466

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. CALVINISM IS AN IRREDUCIBLY COMPLEX THEOLOGICAL SYSTEM – IT CANNOT BE DIVIDED INTO PARTS | Nicholas Voss - June 4, 2012

    […] MEN WHO THINK THEY ARE FOUR POINT CALVINISTS ARE ACTUALLY NO POINT CALVINISTS […]

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