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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         14
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

John Calvin Had It All Wrong


Calvary

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What is the Gospel?
1Co 15:1-4
(1) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
(2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
(3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
(4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
 
What does the Gospel do?
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
 
How is salvation attained?
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
 
What saves under Calvin's system?
Unconditional Election:
God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21).
 
No mention of the blood of Christ, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
 
And you won't find these things mentioned in most outlines of the five points of Calvin.
They will often mention the death of Christ under “Limited atonement”, but only the fact that it isn't sufficient for all – some will say effective for all, but they twist that too.
 
Now John, I don't know about you, but my salvation is based on the free gift of salvation through the shed blood of Christ, and was attained by me by grace through faith.
 
Any other way of salvation is another Gospel, which is not another.
 
Therefore to do as the Calvinist does and base salvation, not on the blood of Christ, but upon the choice of God, is another Gospel which is not another.

 
Hi Dave
 
I don't really follow your argument here. You seem to be saying that Calvinists base their salvation on 'choice of God' instead of the atonement, and that therefore they believe in a different Gospel. You cite as the evidence for this the fact that Jesus' atoning sacrifice on the cross, and His burial and resurrection isn't given in 'most outlines of the five points of Calvin'.
 
Firstly, I don't see how these things not being mentioned in outlines of the five points is evidence that Calvinists don't believe in them. You say yourself that atonement is mentioned in the 'Limited atonement' point, so what does that reference to atonement mean if it doesn't mean the work of Jesus on the cross? Outlines of the five points may not go into detail about the atonement, but then there's lots of things they don't go into: one God, the Trinity, creation etc. You go on to say that when Calvinists refer to atonement they only do so to point out that it is 'limited'. However a limited atonement is not the same thing as no atonement.
 
Secondly, I don't understand how Calvinists believing God chose to save them therefore means that they don't believe their salvation is attained through the shed blood of Christ, as if the two are mutually exclusive and one must believe one or the other. Those who believe in free will believe that God made a choice to save them--God didn't have to sacrifice his son on the cross but chose to do so that we might be saved. So if everyone else can base their salvation on both God's choice to save and Jesus' atoning sacrifice for their sins, why does Calvinists believing in one necessarily mean they don't believe in the other?
 
It appears to me, though I admit I'm not well read on it, that both Calvinists and 'free will' adherents believe that God chose to save and that this salvation is 'done' through the blood of Jesus on the cross. The difference with Calvinists, with respect to these particular beliefs, is that they believe God chose to save just a few, and that the atonement only pays for the sins of a few. If that's so, then a Calvinist still bases his own salvation on the blood of Jesus even if at the same time he believes God chose to save only a few (and is wrong about that belief).
 
Now if the argument that Calvinists believe in a different Gospel is elsewhere, e.g. an argument that salvation being limited to a few in of itself means that Calvinists believe a different Gospel, then ok but I don't follow the argument that Calvinists don't believe their own salvation is based on the blood of Jesus.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Calvinists are saved without the blood of Christ.
This is what my regeneration and belief thread was about.

Calvinists are saved by God's choice - the blood becomes a procedural rubber stamp. In fact it is a non event for them.

look at the five points in pretty much any Calvinist statement and you won't find the blood of Christ making an appearance.
Look at "limited atonement" statements and the only reference to atonement is not what it does but how far it goes - and it still rarely mentions the blood of Christ.

The proof of this is that there are plenty of "Reformed churches" who don't preach the Gospel at all. They preach a Catholic style works salvation.
Calvinism is not all at odd with that form of works based salvation, because it doesn't need the blood of Christ.

That is not biblical.

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Hi Dave

I don't know if that post is a response to me since you don't refer to my post or any of the points I made in it, but in case you are...

 

Calvinists are saved without the blood of Christ.
This is what my regeneration and belief thread was about.

 

And I responded directly to this assertion in my post to you.
 

Calvinists are saved by God's choice - the blood becomes a procedural rubber stamp. In fact it is a non event for them.

 

And as far as I can tell you've given two lines of evidence to support this assertion. One is that Calvinists don't don't go into detail about what atonement means when they they write outlines of the five points, and two is that because they do believe in God's choosing them, that belief effectively replaces belief in the blood of Jesus. I responded to both those points in detail in my last post.
 

look at the five points in pretty much any Calvinist statement and you won't find the blood of Christ making an appearance. Look at "limited atonement" statements and the only reference to atonement is not what it does but how far it goes - and it still rarely mentions the blood of Christ.


From my last post:

I don't see how these things not being mentioned in outlines of the five points is evidence that Calvinists don't believe in them. You say yourself that atonement is mentioned in the 'Limited atonement' point, so what does that reference to atonement mean if it doesn't mean the work of Jesus on the cross? Outlines of the five points may not go into detail about the atonement, but then there's lots of things they don't go into: one God, the Trinity, creation etc. You go on to say that when Calvinists refer to atonement they only do so to point out that it is 'limited'. However a limited atonement is not the same thing as no atonement.
 

The proof of this is that there are plenty of "Reformed churches" who don't preach the Gospel at all. They preach a Catholic style works salvation.
Calvinism is not all at odd with that form of works based salvation, because it doesn't need the blood of Christ.

That is not biblical.

 

But whenever John or others have pointed out that they know loads of 'reformed' churches that do preach the Gospel, you've always responded with 'well they're not true Calvinists then'. If your definition of a reformed church is one that doesn't preach the Gospel, then you will find that reformed churches don't preach the gospel.

 

Moreover, when John just now started talking about Christians who called themselves Calvinist, you said, "...stop confusing the system, which teaches a false Gospel, with men who used the name." I agree, we should be able to nail whether or not the system of Calvinism includes atonement as a necessary part of salvation without looking to what folk on the ground believe/do.

 

As for the point about Calvinism not being at odds with works-based salvation because it doesn't need the blood of Christ, firstly it not needing the blood of Christ is exactly what is being discussed, secondly even it didn't rely on the blood of Christ that wouldn't necessarily make it a works-based system. In fact, if your argument that the Calvinist system of salvation only includes a single component--that of God's choosing them--is true, then your own argument says it isn't works based.

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Well I OBviously have an inability to correctly articulate my point since you clearly do not understand what I am trying to say, and you seem intent on clarifying for everyone else.
Not much point in my continuing in that light.

I will have to try to figure out how to better phrase it - until then.......

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It seems one of the prOBlems here is that in many cases Calvinists and non-Calvinists have different definitions of what a Calvinist is.

 

As pointed out above, a Reformed church that preaches the biblical Gospel, sends forth soul winners who use the same Romans Road approach many non-Calvinists do, and sees many come to Christ, even though they believe in election and predestination along the lines of what Spurgeon, Edwards and Whitefield did, there will be non-Calvinists who write them off as not really being Calvinists.

 

This is odd, especially since most of these folks don't actually consider themselves to be Calvinists, but as believing in the doctrine of grace (or however they word that term) which they see as being biblical. Their own teaching points to Scripture as being their source, they often cite Paul's writings as where God brought it all together. Then some point to Augustine as being among the first to take to writing about it. Then they point out that Calvin was the first to systematically put it together at a time when such could finally become widely available thanks to the printing press. The odd part being that non-Calvinists will say man Calvinists are not actually Calvinists but when "Calvinists" say they are not Calvinists because they are not following Calvin, the non-Calvinists demand they be called Calvinists. It's all rather circular and gets one nowhere.

 

From what I've seen, non-Calvinists know more about the life of Calvin than do "Calvinists" and this is because "Calvinists" don't follow Calvin. It's similar to the way non-dispensationalists often know more about Darby than do dispensationalists. Again, both sides argue over how to define one another while missing the actual points.

 

So, back to the point of the Gospel. If "Calvinists" or Reformed or whatever term we are using, do preach the biblical Gospel message, then how can that be called a false gospel? If there is evidence of hundreds of thousands being born again in Christ over the centuries through the preaching and ministry of particular Calvinists, then how could that be if they are presenting a false gospel?

 

It doesn't matter what Calvin himself did or said. The question is only about whether or not "Calvinists" are preaching the biblical Gospel or a false gospel. Wesley was vehemently opposed to "Calvinism" yet he teamed up with a staunch "Calvinist" (Whitefield) and freely acknowledged the working of the Lord through him and that many came to Christ through his preaching.

 

The evidence seems to suggest that outside of "hypers", Calvinist are preaching the biblical Gospel that leads folks to salvation.

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John 12:32
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Salvation is a very simple thing. I like it when we boil all the discussion down to the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "all men"

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Ok well sorry if I'm not getting it. I'm not trying to clarify anything for anyone else, btw, just for myself. And I don't think there's anything wrong with my doing that. Maybe speak to you later...

Here is a really simplified way of looking at it. The choice of which DaveW speaks is that which God made before the foundation of the world.  Die-hard calvinists believe that the word elect means a select group of people will get saved.  So, in effect, God sat in Heaven pre-creation and looked through the annals of time and chose: this one will get saved, this one will not; this one will, this one not.  I'll draw this one, won't draw that one.  Etc.

 

Now, as I said, that's a simplification - and that is not the verbiage 5-pointers use.  But many (again, die-hard calvinists) explain verses in scripture with that idea in mind.  When John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world..." it means, according to them, only those whom He elected before the foundation of the world.  "God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" means only those He elected before the foundation of the world.

 

When, in actual fact, they (the verses) mean what they say. Shocker, eh?  Christ died for the sins of everyone.  God does not want anyone to perish (all really does mean all, not just all in a select group...).  The invitation to salvation is open to everyone not just a certain number who will then comprise the church.

 

The Holy Spirit does draw all men...but each individual has the choice to accept or refuse it.  God wants all to accept.  But He made us with a free will. We can choose or reject and our choice determines our eternity. Not God's selection.

 

Hope that makes sense...it's early yet and I haven't finished my iced mocha.  :nuts:

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When I worked on the farm, and I went out with my shovel to irrigate a field of corn, I didn't need to know the theory of gravity.  All I needed to know is that water flows downhill and I got the jOB done.

Similarly I don't have to know all the detail about how the doctrine of free-will and the doctrine of grace work in order to know what God requires of me.  

When I irrigate all I need is a shovel and faith that God makes water run downhil to get the jOB done rightl. 

When I hear the gospel, irregardless of what the preacher's feelings about mister Calvin or whatever theologian he bases his philosophy of religion on, I know that God wants to save me.

I know that I am a sinner saved by grace.  It matters not-at-all what preacher preached the gospel to me.  I trusted in God to save me and he saved me just as he said he would. 

I don't how it all goes together but I know it works.

 

I have read several works on the freedom of the will, including Johnathan Edwards, and why our free will is not really free will because of our sin nature and I still don't understand it. 

I do understand that no matter what our will, God is sovereign and His will be done.

He says He will save me from my sin, He says He will keep me, He says he will take me into His kingdom and He will have me live eternally with Him.  What more do I need from Him but all that He has promised in His word.

 

He is all that I need.  I don't need any philosophers of religion, no matter what their name or system.  So much for Calvin, Arminius, Luther, or even evangelists like Billy Graham, or Tammy Fay Baker.  All I need is God and faith in His ability to come through.

 

If all this makes no sense, remember it is just one man's opinion and not the opinion of a learned philosopher of religion after all.

 

God bless,

Larry

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Here is a really simplified way of looking at it. The choice of which DaveW speaks is that which God made before the foundation of the world.  Die-hard calvinists believe that the word elect means a select group of people will get saved.  So, in effect, God sat in Heaven pre-creation and looked through the annals of time and chose: this one will get saved, this one will not; this one will, this one not.  I'll draw this one, won't draw that one.  Etc.
 
Now, as I said, that's a simplification - and that is not the verbiage 5-pointers use.  But many (again, die-hard calvinists) explain verses in scripture with that idea in mind.  When John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world..." it means, according to them, only those whom He elected before the foundation of the world.  "God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" means only those He elected before the foundation of the world.
 
When, in actual fact, they (the verses) mean what they say. Shocker, eh?  Christ died for the sins of everyone.  God does not want anyone to perish (all really does mean all, not just all in a select group...).  The invitation to salvation is open to everyone not just a certain number who will then comprise the church.
 
The Holy Spirit does draw all men...but each individual has the choice to accept or refuse it.  God wants all to accept.  But He made us with a free will. We can choose or reject and our choice determines our eternity. Not God's selection.
 
Hope that makes sense...it's early yet and I haven't finished my iced mocha.  :nuts:

 
That's ok in itself, HC, but it misses the actual question, which is whether those who believe what you've just outlined above therefore do not believe in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. To me it appears that Dave is arguing that no they don't ("the blood becomes a procedural rubber stamp") and therefore Calvinists are not saved. But he tells me I've misunderstood him, so maybe he's not saying that.

 

Of course, why an atoning sacrifice is necessary once God has chosen to offer forgiveness for sins is a good question and there are answers for it, but that question applies equally to both reformed and free-will systems, i.m.o.

 

By the way, since you brought it up, my opinion would be that the Calvinist 'system' posits free will and the ability to 'choose' in exactly the same way as 'free will' systems, the only difference being that whereas Calvinism attempts to come up with an explanation for why people make the choices they do (God gives some the desire to choose God and others the desire not to), the 'free will' system just has no explanation for it--why people chose differently is just written off as 'free will', which isn't an explanation at all.

 

For myself, I believe God wants all to be saved yet some choose not to be, but I acknowledge that I can't logically reconcile all the aspects of this belief--I just give it up as a paradox.

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I think first generation Calvinists - those 'converted' to Calvinism from other churches - are as likely to be saved as anyone. They have simply adopted a false teaching. It is perhaps the second generation Calvinists - their children, or children's children - that will be tempted to rely on their 'election' as a member of an 'elected' family or church instead of on the blood of Christ for salvation.

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Actually, Carl, it doesn't posit choice.  That's what "irresistible grace" is all about - the "elect" can't resist. Ergo, no choice.  Of course they believe in the atoning sacrifice of Christ - but they limit it to only the selected ones, i.e., as I mentioned, the "world" in John 3:16 doesn't mean everyone because Jesus only died for the elect (those who can't resist the draw of the Father...). I can't go so far as to say that no calvinist is saved.  But if it's someone whose been raised to believe in hardcore calvinism, then most likely they aren't saved.  Catholics teach the atoning sacrifice of Christ also, but add their own stuff to it...hardcore calvinists do the same when they claim only the elect will be saved.

 

salyan, you posted as I did and basically said what I was going to...

 

The Puritans are perfect examples of it.  

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I think first generation Calvinists - those 'converted' to Calvinism from other churches - are as likely to be saved as anyone. They have simply adopted a false teaching. It is perhaps the second generation Calvinists - their children, or children's children - that will be tempted to rely on their 'election' as a member of an 'elected' family or church instead of on the blood of Christ for salvation.

 

Sure, but you could just as easily say that this or that folk might be relying too much on God's forgiveness of sin, rather than on the atoning sacrifice of Christ, to be saved. Or they might be relying too much on their faith in the blood of Christ, rather than on the sacrifice itself (if there's even a difference in those two positions). And on and on it goes...

 

For me, the whole discussion leads to the question that ThePilgrim and IamChief have already given an answer to, and one which has come up before with STIC and his "different Jesus" doctrine, which is what nuances of belief is a person allowed to get wrong before God won't have mercy on them? If someone believes and repents, but for whatever reason they never heard that Jesus was born of a virgin, will they be rejected for relying on a "different Gospel" or a "different Jesus"? If someone gets the doctrine of the trinity a bit wrong and thinks Jesus was part God and part man instead of fully God and fully man, or if their view on examination is closer to modalism, though they don't realise this themselves, will they not be saved because they got their systematic theology wrong? And by the same token, if a 'Calvinist' thinks he is relying on the blood of Christ, but on examination it could be said that maybe technically he isn't, is he also relying on a different Gospel?

 

And if the answer to any of those questions is yes then we have a Gospel that isn't simple at all and relies on the sinner getting an A+ in systematic theology (the right one of course).

 

Your thoughts, Salyan?

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I can't go so far as to say that no calvinist is saved.  But if it's someone whose been raised to believe in hardcore calvinism, then most likely they aren't saved.  Catholics teach the atoning sacrifice of Christ also, but add their own stuff to it...hardcore calvinists do the same when they claim only the elect will be saved.

 

The huge difference between those two positions is that adding works changes what one relies on for their own salvation whereas believing in limited atonement/election doesn't--the individual Calvinist believes on the blood of Christ just like a 'free will' person does, as you've acknowledged yourself.

 

But what you've just said there (a Calvinist is not saved if they believe in Election) means that even if someone believes all the 'basics', such as the the need for the atoning sacrifice of Christ for their sins to be forgiven, they will still be unsaved if they are wrong in some other area not directly related to their own salvation. And if that's true for Election, then why not beliefs about eschatology, or anything about scripture really...

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Actually, Carl, it doesn't posit choice.  That's what "irresistible grace" is all about - the "elect" can't resist. Ergo, no choice. 

 

I forgot to respond to this bit, HC. Irresistible Grace, as I understand it, is a statement about desire not about the presence/absence of a choice that's made on the basis of that desire. Sure, a person could argue that by giving a person a desire that would make them choose Christ 100% of the time, God is effectively taking away their free will, but if the 'non-reformed' system is examined in the same way, exactly the same conundrum comes up. Under the 'free will' system, does our will/desire/constitution (whatever you want to call it) determine the choice we make to follow Christ? If the answer is no, that makes the decision pretty much random, or based on external events, and therefore surely not our responsibility? If the answer is yes, then our choice is effectively constrained by that will (as with Calvinism) and the responsibility for the choice falls to who or what put that will in us created beings.

 

The simplest way I can think to put this point is, what is the difference between a Calvinist saying 'that unelect person is totally depraved and will not ever choose Christ' and a non-Calvinist saying 'that alcoholic/atheist/homosexual there could choose Christ but we all know they are way too in love with their sin to ever do it.'?

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It seems one of the prOBlems here is that in many cases Calvinists and non-Calvinists have different definitions of what a Calvinist is.

 

As pointed out above, a Reformed church that preaches the biblical Gospel, sends forth soul winners who use the same Romans Road approach many non-Calvinists do, and sees many come to Christ, even though they believe in election and predestination along the lines of what Spurgeon, Edwards and Whitefield did, there will be non-Calvinists who write them off as not really being Calvinists.

 

This is odd, especially since most of these folks don't actually consider themselves to be Calvinists, but as believing in the doctrine of grace (or however they word that term) which they see as being biblical. Their own teaching points to Scripture as being their source, they often cite Paul's writings as where God brought it all together. Then some point to Augustine as being among the first to take to writing about it. Then they point out that Calvin was the first to systematically put it together at a time when such could finally become widely available thanks to the printing press. The odd part being that non-Calvinists will say man Calvinists are not actually Calvinists but when "Calvinists" say they are not Calvinists because they are not following Calvin, the non-Calvinists demand they be called Calvinists. It's all rather circular and gets one nowhere.

 

From what I've seen, non-Calvinists know more about the life of Calvin than do "Calvinists" and this is because "Calvinists" don't follow Calvin. It's similar to the way non-dispensationalists often know more about Darby than do dispensationalists. Again, both sides argue over how to define one another while missing the actual points.

 

So, back to the point of the Gospel. If "Calvinists" or Reformed or whatever term we are using, do preach the biblical Gospel message, then how can that be called a false gospel? If there is evidence of hundreds of thousands being born again in Christ over the centuries through the preaching and ministry of particular Calvinists, then how could that be if they are presenting a false gospel?

 

It doesn't matter what Calvin himself did or said. The question is only about whether or not "Calvinists" are preaching the biblical Gospel or a false gospel. Wesley was vehemently opposed to "Calvinism" yet he teamed up with a staunch "Calvinist" (Whitefield) and freely acknowledged the working of the Lord through him and that many came to Christ through his preaching.

 

The evidence seems to suggest that outside of "hypers", Calvinist are preaching the biblical Gospel that leads folks to salvation.

John,

 

What do you think of Harold Camping's version of Calvinism where he advised others that you can do nothing to be saved and to simply wait on the Lord for salvation? Do you consider his version to be an example of hyper Calvinism? I first was exposed to the false theology of Calvinism from him.

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Sure, but you could just as easily say that this or that folk might be relying too much on God's forgiveness of sin, rather than on the atoning sacrifice of Christ, to be saved. Or they might be relying too much on their faith in the blood of Christ, rather than on the sacrifice itself (if there's even a difference in those two positions). And on and on it goes...

 

For me, the whole discussion leads to the question that ThePilgrim and IamChief have already given an answer to, and one which has come up before with STIC and his "different Jesus" doctrine, which is what nuances of belief is a person allowed to get wrong before God won't have mercy on them? If someone believes and repents, but for whatever reason they never heard that Jesus was born of a virgin, will they be rejected for relying on a "different Gospel" or a "different Jesus"? If someone gets the doctrine of the trinity a bit wrong and thinks Jesus was part God and part man instead of fully God and fully man, or if their view on examination is closer to modalism, though they don't realise this themselves, will they not be saved because they got their systematic theology wrong? And by the same token, if a 'Calvinist' thinks he is relying on the blood of Christ, but on examination it could be said that maybe technically he isn't, is he also relying on a different Gospel?

 

And if the answer to any of those questions is yes then we have a Gospel that isn't simple at all and relies on the sinner getting an A+ in systematic theology (the right one of course).

 

Your thoughts, Salyan?

 

Whoa! And here I was trying to avoid a deep theological conversation! :wink:frog:

 

I think what I was trying to say in regards to second-generation Calvinists, is that when kids grow up in a church that tells them that they are elect because their parents are, they are likely to think they don't have to do anything to be saved. That is false, because there is one thing they have to do. Choose to repent & believe/trust (that's all essentially one action, so I'm counting it one thing.) So because they don't ever repent & believe, they don't get saved.
 

What can or can't people believe before they are or aren't saved? That's a pretty deep question, and one I honestly haven't the time to think through and reply to properly right now (sorry - I'm going on two weeks of holidays on Saturday and life is kinda crazy right now). And a quick answer really doesn't do it justice. But... what did Paul say about the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15?

 

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time."

 

Maybe the theological understanding that is necessary for salvation is that described here?  A) Christ (Messiah - son of God) died B) for our sins (we are sinners) (substitutionary atonement) c. according to the Scriptures (Bible as word of God) d) buried and rose again. That seems awfully simplistic, but then isn't that the same thing we would teach a child? We would tell them that they are a sinner, and there is a punishment for sin, but Jesus died to pay that punishment, and rose from the dead because He is God, and He will forgive us and take away our sin if we trust that He did that for us. 

 

I'm not so sure that Calvinism prevents Biblical salvation. I think it OBscures it, confuses it, and adds works to it. It certainly blasphemes the character of God. Thus it is possible that those converted to Christianity through Calvinism may not be Biblically saved. Calvinism is not huge on reaching the lost though, so the greater danger would seem to be to those who grow up through it. But... since I am a Biblicist that believes that 'no man may pluck us out of His hand'... I do not believe that a Christian ceases to be saved upon adopting Calvinism - for the simple fact that he cannot lose his salvation. I do think that Calvinism burdens a believer so that his Christian growth will be hindered, for he will be trying to 'endure to the end' instead of trusting Christ to work 'both to will and to do'.

 

Edited to add: Man, that was an awfully long quick answer! :coverlaugh:

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We believe the Scriptures, and the Gospel proclaimed in the Scriptures. Reformed doctrine in no way corrupts the Gospel.

 

We preach that all are sinners, dead in sin, & needing salvation;

we preach Christ as Lord & Saviour, who accomplished our salvation by his life, atoning death, & resurrection;

we command repentance, & turning to Christ in faith, as Saviour & Lord;

we teach baptism as symbolizing cleansing from sin, union with Christ, application of his blood, & filling with the Holy Spirit, but with no saving merit;

we teach godly living, as those who will face a holy Judge at death, & at the resurrection.

 

The contention with anti-calvinists is that they impose their own logic on Calvinism, based on their own (mis)understanding of Reformed doctrine:

e.g.

Calvinists believe only & all the elect will be saved, regardless of what they do;

NO! God has ordained the way of savation - repentance & faith in Christ;

 

Calvinists believe the elect are saved against their will;

NO! The work of the Holy Spirit is to show us our sin & need of a Saviour, so that we willingly, eagerly come to Christ;

 

Calvinism teaches antinomianism (rejection of the Law);

NO! The preaching of the Law convinces us of our sin & need of a Saviour. The Holy Spirit then writes the Law in our hearts, so that we live godly lives according to our renewed nature.

 

Calvinism destroys the Gospel, so that sinners know that their salvation depends on God's election, so there is nothing they can do about their salvation - they might as well continue in sin, so that grace can abound - if God wills to save them, or, if God intends to damn them they might as well enjoy sin in this life:

NO! God is not mocked. There is a Gospel imperative - God COMMANDS all men everywhere to repent. God-defying sinners are only proving their depravity.

 

etc.

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is a really simplified way of looking at it. The choice of which DaveW speaks is that which God made before the foundation of the world.  Die-hard calvinists believe that the word elect means a select group of people will get saved.  So, in effect, God sat in Heaven pre-creation and looked through the annals of time and chose: this one will get saved, this one will not; this one will, this one not.  I'll draw this one, won't draw that one.  Etc.

 

 

 

 

Well LuAnne, I don't know anyone who teaches that.

 

The most Calvinist Baptist I know, says Salvation is like going in a door marked 'Free Salvation' and when we get inside we look back and see a sign 'Saved by Grace.'

 

God chose JacOB over Esau, "The elder will serve the younger" "JacOB I have loved, Esau I hated"  JacOB still had to take matters into his own hand.

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