A Biblical Critique of Calvinism
Part 7: The Image of God Aspect of the Gospel Invitation

October 5, 2012

 

by Dr. Michael A. Cox, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Pryor, Oklahoma, and author of Not One Little Child: A Biblical Critique of Calvinism


This is the tenth of a series of articles by Dr. Cox, with a Biblical critique of Calvinism drawn in part from his book Not One Little Child. All Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.
————————————–

There are four basic views concerning mankind being created in the image of God: the substantive-structural view, the relational view, the functional view, and the composite or eclectic view. Let us briefly discuss these perspectives and their implications.

The substantive-structural view says that being created in God’s image means that humans possess an inherent characteristic, or characteristics, be they physical, psychological, or spiritual, within our nature which include reason, self-consciousness, or self-determination.1 The biblical passage used to support this view is Gen. 1:24-28.

The relational view says that being created in God’s image means the experiencing of relationships, either between oneself and God or between human beings.2 The relationship is itself the image of God. The biblical passage used to support this view is Gen. 1:26-27.

The functional view says that being created in God’s image is something humans do, not something we possess, and this functionality is most commonly suggested by “rulership” or “dominion” over creation.3 The biblical passage used to support this view is Gen. 1:26.

The composite, or what I call the eclectic, view is my favorite, and is probably the best, since it has the advantage of being a combination of the strengths of the previous three.4 It has the broadness to include reason, self-consciousness, and self-determination with the depth to include the capacity for relationships with God and others, for doing and rulership, as well as including the mental and spiritual elements. W. R. Estep, longtime Professor of Church History at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, believes that to say that God created some for damnation and others for salvation is to deny that all have been created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27).5 Additionally, The Baptist Faith and Message states, “The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore every man possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.”6 This confessional statement challenges the Calvinistic definition of total depravity, the doctrine of unconditional predestination for some while others are left without hope, and the belief in a limited atonement. John Newport argues that the biblical worldview teaches that Israel’s God is the Creator of all people from all nations and that the biblical worldview takes into account that all people in some sense start in the same place.7 Likewise, the Book of Amos suggests that God’s choosing of Israel did not diminish His concern for other peoples (Amos 9:7). To be created in God’s image includes the following assertions: (1) mankind is created for a special relationship to God; (2) mankind can make decisions; (3) mankind can respond to God’s claims; (4) mankind is created as a rational and creative creature; (5) all of mankind are created for fellowship with God, as evidenced by the “Our Father” phrase in the Lord’s prayer (Matt. 6:9); (6) mankind is created for eternal life with God; (7) mankind is created for dominion over the rest of creation; (8) mankind is created for social relations; (9) mankind is created as one human race; (10) there is only one human race; (11) and the human race is created as finite.8 We must acknowledge that all humans have been made in the same image by the same Creator, all humans are created equally, and, therefore, partiality relative to salvation is not of God, as is evidenced in the charge of Moses to the judges in Israel when he said, “You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not fear man, for the judgment is God’s. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it” (Deut. 1:17). God Himself is impartial regarding His created beings as shown when He says, “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe” (Deut. 10:17). Humankind is definitively presented as indivisible in terms of race or skin color.9

Regardless of the view you take, we can all agree that when we sin, we disgrace this image. Being created in God’s image undoubtedly includes being God’s representative on earth. Whether a believer or an unbeliever, all humans exist throughout life as “imagers” of God, for all humans are made in God’s image (Gen. 9:6). No other creature, including angels, can claim this wondrous distinction. Therefore, all humans are invaluable to God, being worth much more than birds, for whom He also cares (Matt. 6:26-30). All humans are said to be made in the likeness of God (James 3:9), and, as such, we are representatives of the king as His vice-regents on earth. I believe that being created in God’s image presupposes some capacity for self-awareness and self-direction. Moreover, the scriptural idea of man being created in the image of God also means that mankind is called upon by God to bear witness in his existence to God’s existence.10 It is likewise exciting to know that being created in God’s image means continuing to live beyond the grave, as Boyd Hunt so capably points out.11 This means that all humans are created for eternity. Everyone is going to live forever; the only question is where — heaven or hell. God loves all humans unconditionally (John 3:16). His love “wills” the perfection of the loved ones: for God so loved the world [all humanity]. But, being created in the image of God does not make salvation automatic, it simply invites all to share in divine suffering,12 for genuine saving faith necessitates dying to the self by being crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20). Calvinism has a severe weakness regarding the doctrine of the Imago Dei (image of God).

———————————————————————————-

The next article in this series will explore the evangelistic weakness of Calvinism.


1Robert V. Rakestraw, “The Persistent Vegetative State and the Withdrawal of Nutrition and Hydration,” in Readings in Christian Ethics, vol. 2, ed. David K. Clark and Robert V. Rakestraw (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1996), 125.

2Ibid.

3Ibid., 126.

4Ibid.

5William R. Estep, “Doctrines Lead to ‘Dunghill’ Prof Warns,” Texas Baptist Standard, 26 March 1997, 12.

6The Baptist Faith and Message (Nashville, TN: The Southern Baptist Convention, 2000; reprint, 2003), 10.

7John P. Newport, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998), 49.

8John P. Newport, What Is Christian Doctrine? (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1984), 88-90.

9Ibid., 90.

10Helmut Kuhn, “The Wisdom of the Greeks,” in Christianity and Reason, ed. Edward D. Myers (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1951), 153.

11Boyd Hunt, Redeemed! Eschatological Redemption and the Kingdom of God (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 253.

12Alister E. McGrath, The Mystery of the Cross (Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books by Zondervan Publishing House, 1988), 120.

 

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available

Dennis Lee Dabney

If we answer these two questions from the Holy Scripturals, we will have our answer whether God created any among mankind for damnation. First, Did the Lord God create Lucifer or Satan? Second, did He create the angels or demons? I submit God could not and would create the latter in each order of beings above. We were created in Adam and known by God before the world was framed. When He looked over all the work of Genesis 1, He saw everything, all things, even the make up and composites thereof, Behold, it was very good! There was an indefinite period when God knew us before formation in the womb, and prior to creation in Adam. Adam’s sin brought about our iniquity. Now, we can address the children of Belial, son of perdition and others but that conversation is an continuation of “By one man, sin entered into the world”. Remember, Lucifer was pefect, blameless in his ways from the day he was created. In others word he was created perfect, blameless. This coincide with his name, he was created light bearer, not Adversary. He was Lucifer until… something was found in him unlike God! God created angels clean spirits not unclean. Unclean speaks of their eternal condition and state after their rebellion. Unclean suggest at some undetermined period they were clean. I submit they were created perfect and free of sin void, of uncleaness by their Creator.

Shane Dodson

“God loves all humans unconditionally (John 3:16).”

God does not love everybody in exactly the same way. Is it a sin to love your neighbor’s wife differently than your own wife?

You don’t love your wife in the same way you love your neighbor’s wife. Why isn’t God allowed to love His creation with differing degrees?

    Robert

    Shane writes:

    “You don’t love your wife in the same way you love your neighbor’s wife.”

    That is true of most of us.

    “Why isn’t God allowed to love His creation with differing degrees?”

    Who says he isn’t?

    Who says that God is not allowed to love humans in a different way than he does animals, plants and rocks?

    Who says that God is not allowed to love His own, believers, in a different way than he does nonbelievers? God himself through Paul says that Romans 8:28 does not apply to everyone, but only to those who love God. Jesus said if you were obedient God would love you, does God love the disobedient in the exact same way that he loves the obedient?

    And what does any of this have to do with John 3:16?

    John 3:16 does not say that God loves everyone in exactly the same way. It does say that out of God’s love for the world (which is more than just those who end up believing, which includes all in rebellion to God whether they repent or not) that he gave Jesus for that whole world. So while God may love different people in different ways, just as we love different people in different ways: it is also true that in respect to the atonement, that God loves the entire world because he demonstrates this in that He gave His Jesus as an atonement for that whole world.

    I don’t see the problem that Shane is trying to create here.

    Why can’t God love different parts of the creation in different ways and SIMULTANEOUSLY love the world by giving Jesus as an atonement for that whole world?

    How does granting that God loves different people in different ways, just as we love different people in different ways, mitigage, or eliminate the fact that God demonstrates his love for the world, his desire for all to be saved in his giving of Jesus for that whole world?

    And where exactly in the verses of John 3 is it even discussing that God loves different people and things differently?

    Is that even a point in John 3?

    And where is the argument that God must treat everybody exactly the same in order for him to desire the salvation of all or provide Jesus as an atonement for all?

    And for that matter where in the bible are we ever told that God treats every single individual in exactly the same way?

    I don’t see that being taught anywhere in the bible. I see the opposite being taught, he does not treat everyone in exactly the same way. This idea that God treats everyone in exactly the same way (or that we should expect that) may fit the theology of unitarians, but it is not the view of the bible or of noncalvinists who believe that God is sovereign (i.e. He does as He pleases in any and all situations in line with his character, plans and promises).

    I do a lot of witnessing and I also do follow up on both those who convert as well as those who do not. Nobody has **exactly the same experience of God** or his grace. One person has ten Christians witness to him, another has no one witness to him directly but somebody gives him a bible and he starts reading. One person is interested in logic and philosophical thinking so they dialogue with someone who knows apologetics. Another person could care less about philosophy, but God helps them at a time of extreme need. I don’t see any uniform experience or that God is treating everybody in exactly the same way. And while that is all true, it is also true that God gave Jesus out of love for the whole world. So what exactly is the problem here Shane?

    Robert

      Shane Dodson

      “Why can’t God love different parts of the creation in different ways and SIMULTANEOUSLY love the world by giving Jesus as an atonement for that whole world?”

      That depends on how you are defining “atonement.”

      Did Christ make peace with God in the same way for all sinners on this earth?

      Calvin S.

      Who is to say that God cannot choose to save some and not to save others? “For indeed He does not give aid to angels” (Heb. 2:16)

      God does not save fallen angels. God does not show grace to fallen angels. And that is His right to do. He owes no one grace.

        Preach BlackMan Preach

        Absolutely, the place of eternal punishment was prepared exclusively for Satan and “his” angels. There was no mercy offered to them, no grace given to them, only the fiery white hot wrath of God awaits them in due time. These creatures were not created in the image of God and after His likeness as man on the earth. Man is of the dust of the ground, earthy. None of them were created to manifest God’s representation as man, observed in male and female, husband, wife having dominion and the “family”. Man is revealed as father, son. Made a little lower than the angels yet one day will judge them. There is no comparison to him in all of creation. So much so until the Eternal Word who created man will forever be the God man. Forever identified with “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. Yes, according to the Scriptures there is no place left for Satan and his angels but the place that was prepared for them. These creatures were in the very presence of the Majesty on High and rebelled for no reason at all. Excommunicated from the Heavenly host, some put in chains in the earth, others on a short leash in an around the earth. What man hath ascended into Heaven except He who came down from Heaven. What man has been excommunicated from the third Heaven. The answer is none. Anyone who has been with God in Eden on High, seen Him in all of His glory, majesty and splendor, could lead a rebellion, corrupt only God knows how many angels, devise a plan if given the opportunity to put their Creator to death there can be no mercy, there can be no grace. Listen, God had already granted these creatures mercy and grace when created them by placing them in His immediate presence. It’s like the bus driver assigning seats to the children. Some are permitted to sit farther away and others up close. For some of us that were assigned up front, that was all the mercy and grace we would receive. After that, any trouble we found ourselves in, we were on our own, receiving no absolutely no mercy, no grace.
        Well, I submit to you, their punishment will fit the crime forever. Remember sin and death did not originate with Adam, even though he introduced it into the world. Adam the son of God according to Luke 3:38, by one man sin entered into the whole world.

        Preach BlackMan Preach

        There was never any choice for God regarding His love, as it is with holiness, immutability, omniscience, justice and so on.. This is who He is. By the way, God is in debt to no one. On the other hand Adam is the one who made a choice he didn’t have to make. We are not saved by God making a choice to save some and not save others but we are saved by grace through faith alone. The doctrine of election without “foreknowledge” is as grace without “faith”. Why would Christ Jesus “cry” over the House of Israel when He came to them, commanded them to repent and believe the gospel, that He gather them together unto Himself, if many of them were already predestined by God, condemned before Adam’s offense even was occurred? It seems Christ should have been jumping up and down in a jubilant celebration, with tears of joy since this was the so-called plan all the time according the above logic. Why the holy tears? Who is He sobing for, the elect or the House of Israel? The Lord Jesus is reponding to the lack of faith of the unbelievers in the text. They will be judged by the words of Christ for not obeying the gospel.

    Daniel Wilcox

    Shane,

    You say,
    “God does not love everybody in exactly the same way. Is it a sin to love your neighbor’s wife differently than your own wife? You don’t love your wife in the same way you love your neighbor’s wife. Why isn’t God allowed to love His creation with differing degrees?”

    Your analogy doesn’t work at all. You don’t plan to torture your neighbor’s wife to eternal damnation. You don’t plan to torture her forever for ” the mere pleasure of your will” (Calvin’s words) and then try and say because you gave her a finite life which will end in eternal torment that this is any kind of love whatsoever.

    What a horrible analogy:-(

    Daniel

      volfan007

      Daniel,

      Amen.

      David

      Shane Dodson

      Do you not believe that your neighbor’s wife deserves to spend an eternity in hell, Daniel?

      What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

      Do you not believe that YOU deserve to spend an eternity in hell, Daniel?

      Calvin S.

      Daniel:

      God plans to torture fallen angels for all eternity. God has no plans to save them. He has no plans to give them a second chance. He has no plans to show mercy to them. He only has plans to torture them for ever and ever. God is love. God loves angels.

        Preach BlackMan Preach

        Were these creatures created for damnation, torture and eternal punishment?

      dr. james willingham

      But God did say, Ps.5:5,6, that He “hates all workers of iniquity,: that He “abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” He also declares that He “is angry with the wicked every day.”(Ps.7:11). Where is the image in such people as these? What happened to the image in the fall? Why doesn’t God act cognizant of that image instead of expressing such utter displeasure? Could it be that the blogger and his supporters are overlooking clearly stated facts in order to further their own agenda which lacks scriptural substance?

Preach BlackMan Preach

And God said,”Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. This statement speaks directly to the whole issue of some elected to life and others to damnation. As in all of His creation on the earth, the seed after kind was therein. Mankind is introduced in Adam, created in the image and likeness of God. There is no room to place damnation in God’s decree, purpose, will and plan for His glory in creating this order of creature a little lower than the angels in view of Gen 1:26. For it is written, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness. Those who do not obey the gospel are like King Agrippa who came to the place of extreme conviction by the Spirit of God and the word of God but resisted and hardened his heart some more. Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time not only you, but also “all” who “hear” me this day, might become such as I am, except these chains.”

Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “jugdement is the strange work of God”. For there were eternity’s piled upon eternity’s where He never revealed His anger, wrath or sore displeasure against creation because there was none. However we are well aquainted with His wrath revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. The Lord God created man with the expanse in his soul for judgement, sorrow, suffering, pain, disappointment and even the capacity to endure the death of his own kind. Understanding these things, perhaps not, enduring them from the wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures yes. Much like our Creator manifesting the “strange” work even where sin has been unleased in Heaven above and earth beneath, even the offense of the first man, of the earth, the formed son of God of the dust of the ground and all his kind.

Calvin S.

Holdon, AGAIN: Does “all” always mean “all”?
“the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world” (Col. 1:5-6)

Holdon: Does “whole world” always mean “whole world”?
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” (Rom. 1:8)

Holdon: Does “every” always mean “every”?
“the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven” (Col. 1:23)

Holdon writes: But what is the limitation of the “all in authority”. Who are we NOT supposed to be praying for?

Well, let’s see what limitations we can place on “all in authority” and what limits we should place on who in authority we should be praying for. How about Satan and his demons? Should we pray for them??? They have authority, right? Ephesians speaks of them as “principalities”, and “powers” and “rulers” of the darkness of this age. Satan has a “kingdom” according to Jesus (Lk. 11:18). There is “authorities” in the spiritual realm. So clearly we are not to pray for “all” in authority unless you are praying for the salvation of fallen angels!! Is that what you do, holdon?

All does not always mean all. And if you believe that, then you should also believe that “no one” should also always mean no one as in “no one seeks after God”.

    Calvin S.

    Holdon…a few more examples:

    “in all things He had to be made like His brethren” (Heb. 2:17) …yet Jesus did not have a sinful nature like his brethren so all does not mean all.

    “Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11) …yet even you, holdon, do not believe that God will’s the damnation of people, so all does not mean all.

    “and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven” (Col. 1:20) …yet fallen angels have not been reconciled to Himself so all does not mean all.

    They will make known to you all things which are happening here.” (Col. 4:9) … yet it is doubtful that Tychicus and Onesimus told of each occasion that Paul had a bowel movement, so all does not mean all.

    “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” (Col. 3:20) …yet if your parents tell you “Do not believe in nor follow Jesus” (as so many do!) we are to disobey our parents, so all does not mean all.

    Likewise “Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh” (Col. 3:22) …yet if your master tells you to steal, murder, sleep with his wife or to do any number of sins, we are not to do it, so all does not mean all.

    I’m sure I could find you a dozen or so more examples, holdon, of where all does not always mean all if you care to carry on this charade further.

    Thanks.

      holdon

      I see Calvin S. wants to continue the debate about ALL, where it is apparently his contention that God does not want to save all and that Christ Jesus did not gave His life a ransom for all. (1 Tim 2)

      He wants to prove that the word for ALL does not mean all, but a limited number so as to foist the theology of Limited Atonement upon the text. Of course he would need to demonstrate that ALL in these verses in 1 Tim 2 does mean a limited number and just citing supposed examples of other texts where he thinks ALL cannot mean “all” would fail to do that, even if the new verses he now gives would mean that ALL is not all. But I will show that he continues to be wrong even in these new verses. And one has to wonder what value the Inspired Scriptures still have, if the plain meaning of words has to be contorted into something different. Debating this reminds me of debating with Jehovah Witnesses and such like.
      If what “God hath said” (Gen 3:1) cannot be relied upon, but must interpreted according to the wimps and wishes of men, then why would I believe anything of what such “interpreters” say?

      Re. the texts:
      Col. 1:6 there the ‘all the world’ is the scene where the gospel bears out it’s characteristics of growth and fruit and therefore also among the Colossians. There is no part of the world where the gospel does not have this effect. All = ALL.

      Rom 1:8, has a different word

      Col 1:23 is about the gospel preached to all creation. This surely goes against “Limited Atonement”, because the entire creation should hear the gospel. Even Calvin (John Calvin) agrees that “all” in this verse means ALL as he says of this verse:

      “Go, preach the gospel to every creature; (Mr 16:15;) which commandment depends on so many predictions of the Prophets, foretelling that the kingdom of Christ would be spread over the whole world. What else then does Paul mean by these words than that the Colossians had also been watered by those living streams, which, springing forth from Jerusalem, were to flow out through the whole world? (Zec 14:8.)

      Calvin S. then comes with this strange reasoning:
      “Well, let’s see what limitations we can place on “all in authority” and what limits we should place on who in authority we should be praying for. How about Satan and his demons? Should we pray for them??? They have authority, right? Ephesians speaks of them as “principalities”, and “powers” and “rulers” of the darkness of this age. Satan has a “kingdom” according to Jesus (Lk. 11:18). There is “authorities” in the spiritual realm. So clearly we are not to pray for “all” in authority unless you are praying for the salvation of fallen angels!! Is that what you do, holdon?”
      Can Calvin S. not read how Paul started the exhortation in 1 Tim 2?

      “I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made for all MEN”

      So, we are explicitly exhorted to pray for MEN, humans; not devils.

      Heb. 2:17 is explained by the verse itself where He is the propitiation and therefore needed to be sinless Himself as also Heb 4:15 shows.

      Eph. 1:11 (“all things”) is of course preceded by v. 10 and explained there. It is about the purposes of God Christ is to head up all things. (so what is Christ not Head off if “all” is not ALL there?).

      “and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven” (Col. 1:20) …yet fallen angels have not been reconciled to Himself so all does not mean all.”
      Fallen angels don’t belong to these all things as it is specified: “things on earth or things in heaven”. See Philippians 2:10 where the infernal beings are mentioned (but not reconciled of course).

      They will make known to you all things which are happening here.” (Col. 4:9)
      “happening” is not in the text. But v. 9 goes back to the previous verses about Paul’s condition and the brothers would explain everything (“all” in v. 7) concerning Paul when they would come to Colosse.

      Col. 3:20 and Col. 3:22. The qualification clearly is “pleasing to the Lord”; “fearing the Lord”, “as for the Lord”. So, that settles that matter.

      What Calvin S. does not seem to understand that is that “all” = ALL without exception all the time. He charades on and implies my position would mean:
      “praying for devils”, when the text says pray for “all MEN”;
      “disobeying parents” when the text says “pleasing the Lord”
      “a Christ with sin” when the text says “He is a propitiation for sins”.
      It is clear Calvin S. is caught up in this erroneous theology.

        Calvin S.

        I’m not caught up in an erroneous theology. I just don’t believe that all always means all, all the time. That’s all. I disagree with you, holdon, and to disagree with holdon is equated with erroneous theology. But if that were true that everything has to agree with Holdon or it is false, that would merely mean that holdon is a Cult leader.

    Preach BlackMan Preach

    Paul knew the “all of the world” he had in mine when he wrote and so did the recipients of his letter. When I say World Series what naturally comes to mind? Yes, what I meant and what you know to be the World Series held each season since the first one (unless otherwise in history) here in this country. However 1900 years ago I’m sure some questions would have been raised concerning the WORLD SERIES but at no point did you think of the entire world. Where had the gospel spread is the “all the world” up to that point. It could be rendered the “leading” part of the world. All still means all, and every still means every. See Pliny’s letter to emperor Trajan’s in (B.X. ,Ep. 97) subsequently to the “every” in question.
    The “all” in authority comes after 1.)”all men”, 2.) after earthly kings. So the context directs the interpretation to all men, kings, ranks of men in authority. To impose the above upon the text is to press another meaning upon the text.

    Yes, no one still means no one in context by the way.

      dr. james willingham

      AMEN! PREACH BLACK MAN PREACH. From a Black Historian. I said long ago that the Black folks retained the original theology of the Baptists longer than did their White counterparts. You might enjoy learning about Dr. King and Arnold Tonybee’s view that Western Civilization could be renewed through the African Americans who become the template for the new Israel. And you might enjoy the message I preached on this issue. Cf. Berry’s Grove Baptist Church, Timberlake, NC. (bgbc.info/feed/) and click on sermon, The Ethiopian Proof, Zech.2:10-12.

        dr. james willingham

        Date of sermon: 7/1/12

        Preach BlackMan Preach

        Dr. Willingham,

        Thank you sincerely, I apreciate your observations and truly your life work speak for itself. I find if we travel the old path, the same old landmarks remain. Pray for me as I preach the gospel to my kinsmen in the flesh, while reaching “All” nations as He commanded us from the Holy Scriptures.

          dr. james willingham

          And pray for me, brother. I expect a Third Great Awakening….in this generation I hope, winning the whole earth and every soul in it and continuing for a thousand generations.

            Preach BlackMan Preach

            Amen, Amen.

Robert

CS writes:

“I’m not caught up in an erroneous theology.”

Actually you are, it is called ***calvinism***.

I don’t appreciate CS an anonymous calvinist poster, **bringing over** another discussion from another thread, forcing it to be discussed here as well.
Since CS wants to bring over subjects from another thread, perhaps we should do likewise, perhaps what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. David speaking directly to CS in another thread wrote:

“Calvin S.,
You…and those like you…are the poster boys of why so many of us have risen up against aggressive Calvinists, who are arrogant, … , and “in your face” like you. You, and those New Calvinists like you, are the very reason why so many of us are speaking out against the extreme of New Calvinism, which has permeated the SBC.
David”

David appears to be correct, it is just such behavior as CS is now engaging in (of attempting to force a discussion from another thread to be discussed here) that shows why:

“so many of us have risen up against aggresive Calvinists, who are arrogant, … , and ‘in your face’ like you.”

David is also correct in his comment that:

“You, and those New Calvinists like you, are the very reason why so many of us are speaking out against the extreme of New Calvinism, which has permeated the SBC.”

David is correct that it is the behavior of people like CS that partly motivates many of us to oppose him and his ilk.

Another motivation is that we are convinced that in fact CS’s calvinism ***is*** an erroneous theology.

Not only is it erroneous, if you track its history within church history, wherever it appears there is always confusion, division and error among God’s people. That is why I have said repeatedly in the past, that it functions like a Trojan Horse in the body of Christ. It is allowed in because they are orthodox regarding things like the Trinity, the deity of Christ, etc. Once allowed in, they then seek to convert all other Christians to their erroneous theology. And it is precisely in its aggressive and rude efforts to convert everyone else to its erroneous theology that the confusion, division and errors result.

Robert

dr. james willingham

Funny. People were dying for this theology before John Calvin was ever born, much less converted. One fellow in England, a Lollard, thought that the papacy and free will came out of the universities. Seems that they might have burned him for his belief in Predestination.

Robert

James wrote:
“Funny. People were dying for this theology before John Calvin was ever born, much less converted.”

First, are we sure that Calvin was even converted?
I know calvinists would like to believe that, and let’s assume that he was a saved person, judging by his character (or better put: lack of character and extreme hatred for those who disagreed with him or dare question his views, extreme intolerance and persecution of others). Calvin is no model of godly Christian character whatsoever. Judged by biblical standards of a Christian elder/leader he was a miserable failure. Judged by his contribution for systematizing and arguing for Calvinist ideology and theology he is a “saint” in the eyes of contemporary calvinists. We should never put a person in leadership who exhibited Calvin’s behavior. Now calvinists may want to put all of this under the rug, but the facts say otherwise, Calvin was an extremely arrogant and hateful person. And his hatred was indicative of worldliness not godliness. His lack of character and vicious actions are not to be emulated but avoided.

Second, Calvin systematized the **ideology** of calvinism, but that does not mean that no one prior to him entertained what we would call “calvinistic ideas”.

Dying for Christ is one thing, dying for calvinistic ideology/theology is quite another.

Muslims have died for their erroneous theology as well.

“One fellow in England, a Lollard, thought that the papacy and free will came out of the universities. Seems that they might have burned him for his belief in Predestination.”

You can perhaps bring up isolated instances of calvinists being persecuted. But if we were looking at the sheer numbers, the calvinists have been much more vicious and cruel in their persecutions of noncalvinists.

To take the Reformation for example, consider the treatment of anabaptists by calvinists. The anabaptists were literally tortured and killed for their belief in what we today would call “believer baptism” rather than infant baptism as promoted by the reformers. They were sometimes drowned and then revived and this was repeated in order to mock their belief in believer baptism and then they died after undergoing this torture (and who was doing this barbaric practice: it was calvinists). Contrast the way the noncalvinist Arminius dealt with Anabaptists (he was convinced they were in error but rather than persecuting them and killing them he attempted to reason with them about their beliefs which he considered to be mistaken).

Modern calvinists really have to put a lot of skeletons in the closet to promote this idea that Calvin was some sort of godly character who merely killed Servetus and opposed the anabaptists as a “child of his time.”

Robert

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available