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John Calvin Had It All Wrong

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My "fairly complicated theological argument" is less complicated than your post deeming it so, and your conclusion misrepresents me - I have never said a Calvinist can't be saved.


"But if you base your salvation on anything other than the blood of Christ, you are not saved. And the Calvinist bases his salvation on the choice of God not the blood of Christ."

I don't deny that topics can get complicated--people write books on theology don't they? My point was that while most folk believe that, despite being wrong about a lot of stuff, ultimately Calvinists really are putting their faith in Jesus Christ and his work on the cross when they say they are, and that therefore they are Christians in the same way we are, you and a select few others on here say that this isn't enough--that the Calvinist also has to delve deeper and make sure they've dotted the i's and crossed the t's regarding underlying theological points, lest they put a foot wrong and end up 'not really' basing their salvation on the blood on Christ. And although you don't say it directly and explicitly (and you are right--you do not) the takehome message for others like me is going to be, 'wow, if you can think you're believing one thing but in the eyes of God you're believing another, to that extent, then what hope do I have when I think I believe something?'.
 

I have also never said that people need to define doctrines before they can be saved. But it serves to add confusion to the subject for you to do so........


True, I've never seen you explicitly and directly say it, but I didn't say you had. What I said was that it was the OBvious conclusion of your reasoning for why Calvinists aren't saved.

I believe the same and John81 and Salyan--that the Gospel is very simple. And I think people can be wrong on all sorts of stuff and still be saved. For example, I believe someone can not have a clue about the trinity, or have a view of it that is skewed, say closer to modalism, and be saved.
 

And your whole argument is about what people have said about the argument - well some of the people who have commented here are just as wrong - using their argument to somehow invalidate my words is just plain silly.

 

Where I responded to a point made by another then I responded to a point made by another. If you make a point that someone else has made earlier on and at the time they also made related points, what's wrong with me bringing those in and discussing them all at the same time? It's all on the table for discussion. If you think my responses to yours or anyone else's points were wrong, missed the mark or were irrelevent, then you'll be furthering the discussion by showing me how and where.
 

Just as it is silly to try to invalidate the circular reasoning argument by showing where some else has used circular reasoning.

 

That would be true if the point I was making there was "don't worry about circular reasoning because everyone's at it!" But that wasn't the point I was making at all. The point I went on to make was that many Calvinists--or at least all the one's I've spoken to--don't justify their beliefs by using a tautology but rather "their testimony is that they've come to believe through evidence, like everyone claims."
 

The young man I spoke of had precisely this issue and it was entirely because of calvinism. I know this because we spoke at length about it.
It is he that pointed out this circular reasoning to me.


Yeah and I said I didn't doubt the conversation had happened. So where do we go from here? Is it a belief that just one Calvinist has held or is it a pretty standard Calvinist belief? The way you were arguing against it, using words like 'they' as if it's a common Calvinist belief, prompted me (and several others) to say that's not how we've been hearing Calvinists justify their beliefs. Is it ok to put that on the table, or is only one anecdote allowed?
 

So your misrepresenting my words does not invalidate them, and your introduction of side issues and accusations does not invalidate them.


Well to say that I've 'misrepresented' instead of misread or misunderstood is to accuse me of doing something deliberate, which I totally reject. If I've misunderstood some or all of your points then I'm sorry--show me where and I'll apologise. From my perspective, at the moment it looks like you've misunderstood my responses (and not responded to any of the main points).
 

People don't get saved because of calvinism - they get saved because of the Gospel.
People get saved in spite of calvinism.

 

I believe that folk get saved because of the Gospel too.

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But you have misrepresented me - you did it again in that post.
I have never said a Calvinist can not be saved.
I am talking about the teaching, which teaches another Gospel.

You twist the words, you add side arguments to cloud, you misrepresent, reject what is pointed out - what is the point when you seem to be deliberately misunderstanding me?

I have better things to do than be run around.

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I put this to Winman back near the beginning of this thread when he was arguing (as he maintains) that if God only died for an elect few then it is impossible to know that one is saved. At the time I argued that whether salvation is offered to all or a few is irrelevent to individual knowledge of salvation given that both Calvinists and non-Calvinists maintain that the evidence of salvation for the individual is what's seen 'at this end' as it were, i.e. what one sees and hears, what one confesses to, what they believe in, and what happens to them. Calvinists, like non-Calvinists, believe that true believers will show fruits of salvation.

(As far as I can see the only people who can say that the offer of salvation to all is in itself evidence that a given individual is saved are universalists, because they believe that Jesus dying on the cross means all will be saved.)

Winman responded to my argument by saying yes but Calvinists can't rely on the fruits of salvation because Calvin teaches 'evanescent grace', which is the idea that God engineers it so that the unsaved can appear to be saved, both to themselves and to others, meaning that according to Calvinism we can't tell the difference between real and fake salvation.

I didn't have time to respond to Winman at the time, but since this bit of the debate has popped up again I'll do it now.

I don't see how 'evanescent grace' supports the argument that Calvinists can't believe they are saved because of limited atonement, since it has nothing to do with limited atonement. It's actually a completely different argument for why Calvinists apparently can't know they are saved. This is demonstrated by the fact that if Calvinists didn't believe in limited atonement but did believe in evanescent grace, the argument that they couldn't know they were saved because of evanescent grace would be unaffected.

So what about 'evanescent grace' itself then? Well, if a Calvinist does believe in it then I can see how that would lead them to ask 'how do I know whether my salvation experience was real or fake'?

Thing is, non-Calvinists say pretty much the same thing. They don't attribute authorship of 'fake salvation' to God but they do maintain that you can think you're saved and appear to show fruit when actually you're not saved, so the effect on the individual is equivalent.

 

There are two reasons why Calvinists cannot know they are elect. First, if you believe in Limited Atonement, you cannot positively know Jesus died for you. 

 

If you asked a Calvinist, "Did Jesus die for you?", they will say YES. I would then ask, "How do you know?" The only answer they have is, "Because I believe"

 

That is not proof that Jesus died for you, folks believe false things all the time. Like I said, you can believe a gun is empty and put it to your head and pull the trigger, and you will kill yourself. This is in fact how the famous guitarist for the band Chicago died. He put a gun to his head, and a friend said, "Be careful". He said, "Don't worry, it's not loaded!". He then pulled the trigger and killed himself instantly. If Jesus did not die for everybody, you have no possible way to know he died for you, that is impossible. Just because you believe it does not make it true. 

 

And if Calvin was correct, you cannot even know if your faith is real. Calvinists are taught that unregenerated men cannot believe, and that they cannot even understand spritual matters. How in the world can they know what faith is? To complicate this, Calvin taught that God deceives many persons with an "evanescent faith" that seems so real that the person is deceived. Now how in the world can you know if your faith is real if this is true? 

 

Calvinism is designed to make people doubt, not believe. And it is a fact that Calvinists doubt their salvation more than any other Christian groups. That is a FACT. 

 

Here is what a well known Calvinist wrote on his blog concerning Calvinism and assurance of salvation:

 

 

 

It may surprise you to know that just about every contact I have had with people who are doubting their salvation are Calvinistic in their theology. In other words, they believe in unconditional election. These are the ones who believe in perseverance of the saints. These are the ones that believe that we cannot lose our salvation! Yet these are the ones who are doubting their faith the most.

 

Their issue has to do with their election. Are they truly among the elect?  If they are, they believe their faith will persevere until the end. But if they are not, there is no hope. But how are they to know for sure whether they are elect? Maybe their faith is a stated faith? Maybe it is false. The gentleman I talked to today was so riddled with doubt, he was having thoughts of suicide. “How do I know my faith is an elect faith?” He wanted assurance so badly, but felt that his Calvinistic theology prevented him from ever having such assurance.

 

http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2013/05/doubting-calvinists/

 

See for yourself, google "how can I know I am elect?" and you will see dozens of Calvinists who are not certain they are elect. And if Limited Atonement is true, they are correct, there is no way to know if Jesus really died for them, or if their faith is even real. 

 

It's tragic. 

Edited by Winman
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Anyone who believes one can lose their salvation finds themselves in the same boat. If one must "persevere" to be truly saved, then they can't know until the end whether or not they persevered or not. The same is true of those who believe they have to be "good enough" or they will lose their salvation. They can't know until the end whether or not they have achieved and/or kept that elusive status of "good enough".

 

Scripture has the antidote to such worrisome conundrums.

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This is a different matter altogether. First, most Baptists do not believe you can lose salvation. But most Baptists believe in Preservation of the Saints, not Perseverance. 

 

I don't know I am saved because I will always be faithful to Jesus or that I will persevere. If my salvation depends on my faithfulness, I am in serious trouble. 

 

No, I know I am saved because Jesus will always be faithful to me. Jesus promised that any person who came to him would in no wise be cast out (John 6:37). I know I am saved because I have Jesus's promise, and Jesus cannot lie. 

 

Arminians who believe they can lose salvation believe that only happens if they knowingly reject Jesus, if they quit believing the gospel on purpose. For them it is a willful decision. 

 

That is not the prOBlem Calvinists have, they aren't even sure what faith is. How can you know your faith is real when you have been taught you do not have the ability to believe or comprehend belief? Faith is a complete mystery to Calvinists, they have no idea what true faith is. 

 

Ask a Calvinist what faith is. Watch, they will describe works salvation. 

Edited by Winman
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I was taught in Methodist Sunday school that one had to be "good enough" to get into heaven. I've known many Methodist, and others, taught the same false teaching, which leaves them continually being on edge that little lie they told will keep them from heaven or that lustful thought they had will doom them to hell.

 

There is a lady in our church who spent most of her life in a church that taught it's impossible to know if one is saved or not. She was taught it's arrogant and prideful to declare oneself saved and heaven bound. Even today, after hearing the biblical truth of the matter preached and taught in our church for several years now those old teachings rear their ugly head and cause her concern.

 

Anyway, back to "Calvinism": while I understand how you see some of their beliefs conflicting with one another, I've not encountered "Calvinists" who don't know what biblical faith is, who don't believe they can't know if they are saved. The "Calvinists" I know best all believe if one is saved, they are eternally saved. While that might stand in contrast to some of the tenants of "Calvinism" you point out, that's their belief.

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But you have misrepresented me - you did it again in that post.
I have never said a Calvinist can not be saved.
I am talking about the teaching, which teaches another Gospel.

You twist the words, you add side arguments to cloud, you misrepresent, reject what is pointed out - what is the point when you seem to be deliberately misunderstanding me?

I have better things to do than be run around.

 

Dave, you've consistently defined a Calvinist as one who holds to Calvin's teachings, and you say that one who believes Calvin's teachings isn't saved:

 

"But if you base your salvation on anything other than the blood of Christ, you are not saved. And the Calvinist bases his salvation on the choice of God not the blood of Christ."

 

QED. And when I responded ages ago, offering my own view about how I thought that when Calvinists claim they believe in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, all things being equal they really do, and that I didn't see how this needed to be an either/or with their belief that God chose them (since we all believe that God chose to save), instead of responding to the actual points you just had a childish moan about something to do with me needing to explain your points to others or something, and then left it at that. And that's been about the level of all your responses to me, the last two included. What's surprised me about you--because I don't know anyone else on the forum who does it--is that you seem to carry on under the fixed belief that once you've proclaimed on a matter then that must be the correct view, as exemplified by your comment to me just now--apparently I "reject what is pointed out", as if once you've said it, it must be true, and if I disagree then I must be rejecting the truth. I got the feeling that's what you were about when you once responded to me by simply restating all your original points and not addressing a thing I'd said--I'm now further convinced of it.

 

Anyway, although I've been patient in the hopes of better dialogue, I'm not going to miss talking to you one bit and am perfectly happy to put you on block, which I will do, so that we don't accidentally cross paths in future.

 

The scurrilous accusations in the rest of your post dosn't merit a response, of course.

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I was taught in Methodist Sunday school that one had to be "good enough" to get into heaven. I've known many Methodist, and others, taught the same false teaching, which leaves them continually being on edge that little lie they told will keep them from heaven or that lustful thought they had will doom them to hell.

 

There is a lady in our church who spent most of her life in a church that taught it's impossible to know if one is saved or not. She was taught it's arrogant and prideful to declare oneself saved and heaven bound. Even today, after hearing the biblical truth of the matter preached and taught in our church for several years now those old teachings rear their ugly head and cause her concern.

 

Anyway, back to "Calvinism": while I understand how you see some of their beliefs conflicting with one another, I've not encountered "Calvinists" who don't know what biblical faith is, who don't believe they can't know if they are saved. The "Calvinists" I know best all believe if one is saved, they are eternally saved. While that might stand in contrast to some of the tenants of "Calvinism" you point out, that's their belief.

 

How can you know you are elect if Jesus did not die for everyone? Is your name on a list somewhere? 

 

You may not know of any Calvinists who lack assurance, but I promise you there are thousands of them. Even John Piper said he struggles with assurance. 

 

The most agonizing prOBlem about the assurance of salvation is not the prOBlem of whether the OBjective facts of Christianity are true (God exists, Christ is God, Christ died for sinners, Christ rose from the dead, Christ saves forever all who believe, etc.). Those facts are the utterly crucial bedrock of our faith. But the really agonizing prOBlem of assurance is whether I personally am saved by those facts.

 
This boils down to whether I have saving faith. What makes this agonizing - for many in the history of the church and today - is that there are people who think they have saving faith but don't. For example, in Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'"
 
So the agonizing question for some is: do I really have saving faith? Is my faith real? Am I self-deceived? Some well-intentioned people try to lessen the prOBlem by making faith a mere decision to affirm certain truths, like the truth: Jesus is God, and he died for my sins. Some also try to assist assurance by denying that any kind of life-change is really necessary to demonstrate the reality of faith. So they find a way to make James 2:17 mean something other than what is seems to mean: "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead." But these strategies to help assurance backfire. They deny some Scripture; and even the minimal faith they preserve can be agonized over and doubted by the tormented soul. They don't solve the prOBlem, and they lose truth. And, perhaps worst of all, they sometimes give assurance to people who should not have it.
 
This is one of Calvinism leaders, and he is not sure he has saving faith. This is the result of teaching people that they do not have the ability to believe. 
Edited by Winman
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As I said, I'm not defending "Calvinism" so much of this is beyond what I've been attempting to discuss.

 

I've no doubt, as I stated above, that there are many professing Christians, "Calvinists" and non-Calvinists alike, who have doubts regarding their salvation. Such doubt can come for many reasons.

 

The first few years after I was saved there would come times I wondered if I were really saved, if I had done what Scripture says I must. However, once I was finally discipled and sat under the teaching of a wonderful pastor, I learned what the Word says about these matters. I examined my faith by Scripture, I checked for that confirmation from the Holy Spirit, I looked at the evidence in my life, I took note that my being born again in Christ occurred in accord with Scripture. Now, just as Scripture says, I KNOW I'm saved, I KNOW I have eternal life.

 

I'm only slightly familiar with Piper. Some time back there were links posted here to Piper that I checked out. I didn't care for what he had to say or how he said it.

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As I said, I'm not defending "Calvinism" so much of this is beyond what I've been attempting to discuss.

 

I've no doubt, as I stated above, that there are many professing Christians, "Calvinists" and non-Calvinists alike, who have doubts regarding their salvation. Such doubt can come for many reasons.

 

The first few years after I was saved there would come times I wondered if I were really saved, if I had done what Scripture says I must. However, once I was finally discipled and sat under the teaching of a wonderful pastor, I learned what the Word says about these matters. I examined my faith by Scripture, I checked for that confirmation from the Holy Spirit, I looked at the evidence in my life, I took note that my being born again in Christ occurred in accord with Scripture. Now, just as Scripture says, I KNOW I'm saved, I KNOW I have eternal life.

 

I'm only slightly familiar with Piper. Some time back there were links posted here to Piper that I checked out. I didn't care for what he had to say or how he said it.

 

And what did the scriptures say you must do? 

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I've posted verses on this many times, including recently, and each time AVBB uses the opportunity to denounce the verses (including those others have posted regarding being born again) so he can promote his opinion that there are several different Gospels for different people and for different times.

 

The way of salvation is simple, as I know you understand. It's man that complicates the issue by trying to add traditions, false teachings, works and assorted hoops to jump through.

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Winman, John, that quote from Piper could apply to people with all sorts of theology -

How can I know I am elect?

How can I know my decision for Christ is sincere?

How can I be sure that the assurance I was given by the person who talked me through the sinners' prayer is real?

Adrian Rogers ("disgrace to grace" sermon on Lot) told me that having said the sinners prayer, I am saved forever, even if I live a filthy rotten life - but can I really trust him? [i heard that sermon on radio, & checked it on line.]

 

The answer must be: Build your relationship in love with CHrist & his people, read his Word, pray & meditate on his Word, hate sin & seek to live a life in the Spirit. Those aren't works for salvation, they are evidence of salvation. Our Chrstian life is a walk with God in faith & love.

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How can you know you are elect if Jesus did not die for everyone? Is your name on a list somewhere? 

 

You may not know of any Calvinists who lack assurance, but I promise you there are thousands of them. Even John Piper said he struggles with assurance. 

 

The most agonizing prOBlem about the assurance of salvation is not the prOBlem of whether the OBjective facts of Christianity are true (God exists, Christ is God, Christ died for sinners, Christ rose from the dead, Christ saves forever all who believe, etc.). Those facts are the utterly crucial bedrock of our faith. But the really agonizing prOBlem of assurance is whether I personally am saved by those facts.

 
This boils down to whether I have saving faith. What makes this agonizing - for many in the history of the church and today - is that there are people who think they have saving faith but don't. For example, in Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'"
 
So the agonizing question for some is: do I really have saving faith? Is my faith real? Am I self-deceived? Some well-intentioned people try to lessen the prOBlem by making faith a mere decision to affirm certain truths, like the truth: Jesus is God, and he died for my sins. Some also try to assist assurance by denying that any kind of life-change is really necessary to demonstrate the reality of faith. So they find a way to make James 2:17 mean something other than what is seems to mean: "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead." But these strategies to help assurance backfire. They deny some Scripture; and even the minimal faith they preserve can be agonized over and doubted by the tormented soul. They don't solve the prOBlem, and they lose truth. And, perhaps worst of all, they sometimes give assurance to people who should not have it.
 
This is one of Calvinism leaders, and he is not sure he has saving faith. This is the result of teaching people that they do not have the ability to believe. 

 

 

He is not my leader.

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I don't recall who, but I know some have put forth Piper links in the past.

 

I did - in this thread in fact. Piper is absolutely main stream thought - he is in fact a TULIP based theologian, reformed theology most definitely. I quoted him as winman to demostrate that main stream calvisinm does in fact teach that the souls salvation by limited atonement

Winman may not be my theology as far as his ideas about Christ go, but his conclusion on no one can know oif they are elect is in fact spot on.

 

John 81, you are a fence sitter brother - always riding along in the middle, not making any waves.

If you cannot speak conclusively to what calvinism teaches, in the main, then perhaps you should refrain from speaking about it all. Or educate your self and stand up and be counted on one side or the other. We are speaking to doctrine here. Not personal relations or experiences.

Calvinsim - is it Biblical or not? A plain yes or no should suffice, and then present your evidence.

I am convinced that this thread has demsotrated Calvinism in the main is a false and heretical teaching.

 

God bless,

calvary

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I'm not sitting on a fence, my position has been made clear time and again here for years.

 

It's not your posting of Piper I was thinking of, I was thinking of someone who posted Piper as a positive example of someone/something they agreed with.

 

As far as Piper is concerned, I can only go by what I've read of him. From what I've read, he makes a lot of "out there" statements so that even many Calvinists/Reformed don't care for him. He does seem to have a strong cult type following among a subset. You are correct, Piper is Calvinist/Reformed, and I didn't dispute that.

 

Just a guess, but thinking about the matter I would say R.C. Sproul is much more widely accepted among the Calvinist/Reformed "mainstream". Myself, I know very little of him either.

 

The only "Calvinist" I can think of I'm really familiar with their preaching/writing would be Spurgeon.

 

The many books I have from Sword of the Lord Publishers are of non-Calvinist IFBs. I don't listen to many sermons online but will occasionally listen to FBN. The book I'm currently reading is by non-Calvinist IFB Pastor Scott Markle. I was discipled by a non-Calvinist IFB pastor.

 

If this thread had been only a matter of doctrine, it's likely I would have read and studied the postings without comment; unless I had a question. However, this thread has also gone in the direction of making assumptions and assertions that are directly opposed to reality.

 

I've no prOBlem with sound anti-Calvinist postings but when postings are made that claim to be what Calvinists believe when in fact that's not their belief, such should be confronted. Those sort of postings only weaken any anti-Calvinist stance and open the door for confusion among onlookers and makes way for Calvinists to have a clear shot at an exposed weak point. (I'm speaking in general here and not directly at you)

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Has no one meditated on why Israel must be BORN AGAIN?

 

You consider yourselves to be students of God's word, yet this simple questions alludes you?

 

You would do well to stop arguing and bantering throughout this forum and just take time to ask God to reveal to you this simple truth.  And don't come back to the forum until he has revealed it.

 

Why must Israel be born again?

Edited by AVBibleBeliever
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