9/25/2009

Calvinism Explained

Follow the conversation between Charles Simeon and John Wesley here.

12 comments:

Steve said...

That's part of Calvinism explained.

A part that I would have no qualms with.

Thanks for sharing, J.K.

J. K. Jones said...

I'd like to hear your understanding of your disagreement with Calvinism, please.

theoldadam said...

J.K.,

Just briefly:

I don't believe in limited atonement (the Bible doesn't say that).

I believe in the true presence of Christ in the Sacraments.

The majority of Calvinists preach a legalistic Christianity, because how are you supposed to know if you're one of the elect if you aren't doing x, y and z?

I believe that Christ commanded the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion just for that purpose...assurance.

That we might know that He really IS with us, that He really did die for us (the whole world).

Since we all need some sort of assurance, Calvinists tend to place the onus back on 'what we do' again.

I know I'm painting with a big brush, and I also know some Lutherans who fall into those traps. But it is a lot harder to do when you have a proper understanding of the atonement and of the Sacraments.

My 2 cents.

J. K. Jones said...

Interesting.

What is your definition of limited atonement?

Did Luther ever say anything about good works flowing forth as a necessary consequence of true faith? I seem to recall he did.

theoldadam said...

With faith, nothing else is necessary, no matter if Luther said they were necessary (I don't believe he did say that, but I may be wrong).

There will be works, but no one will be able to say that this is a Christian work and this is not.

We do not know the heart and the motives of those works.

We walk by faith and not by sight.

When the onus is on works, the focus shifts from what Christ has done, to what we do (naturally). it's like a drop of poison in a glass of pure, clean water. The whole thing is despoiled.

That's why we put the emphasis on Christ. That's why we believe He commanded us to baptize and to eat His body and drink His blood. In these places He acts for us. he carries us along in faith. He gives us assurance that we don't have to start climbing a "religious ladder" of works, or fruits, or proofs.



Limited atonement (in my estimation) means that Christ's death was not for all. It was only for the elect.

That is not what the Bible says. The Bible clearly says that His death was for the WHOLE WORLD.

He loves all. He died for all. All are forgiven.

These truths are accessed by faith (or not).

When we come to faith, God gets all the credit. When we reject Him, we get all the blame.

theoldadam said...

One last thought J.K..

If anything at all (anything) is necessary for salvation in addition to the cross, then that cross was in vain.

The works that flow from faith are a DESCRIPTION...NOT a PRESCRIPTION.

(sorry for the added emphasis - but this point is critical)

J. K. Jones said...

Our good works are not meritorious. They do not earn anything. They can’t because they are imperfect, and hence not deserving. Good works are not PRESCRIBED as a requirement for justification. Salvation is by faith alone.

Our good works are necessary. Good works will flow from a heart that has been born again.

A heart God changes is a heart that works. Good works must be part of the DESCRIPTION of the Christian’s life. We are not saved by a faith that is alone.

I think the phrase Luther used was “fides viva.” That is, a living faith, a vital faith, a faith that issues forth in good works.

As to limited atonement: Will anyone go to hell? If so, why?

theoldadam said...

I guess my problem with Calvinism is the good works language and emphasis.

I'm not saying this does not happen in some Lutheran churches too, because I know that it does.

I'm fortunate that it does not happen in the Lutheran church where I worship.

Works WILL flow from the life of a believer. So why then do they have to be goaded out of them? Why an emphasis on works language, even from time to time?

We emphasize the forgiveness of sins in Christ and the new life and salvation that come from that.

To emphasize the necessity of good works puts the hearer right back into the slavery which is religion.

We say you are free now. (Gal. 5:1). Free to do as you see fit in the world. Free to live outward, for the other. That is Christian encouragement without the goading of the law.

A preacher can wreck a great sermon by telling them what they ought be doing now that they are a Christian. It's just more law.

They give the gospel with one hand and take it back with the other. But since the law is written upon our hearts, and since we are inveterate 'doers', we are suckers for this stuff.

Hell.

People will go there because THEY choose to go there.

God desires that all men come to Himself. But men do not desire such.

J. K. Jones said...

I agree that looking to Christ and not our works in times of doubt is the right approach. I think that is basically what you are saving.

I agree that people will go to hell because thye want to. I also agree that in some sense God desires all men to come to Him

I agree most of all that emn do not desire to come to God. That is the issue. None of us is ever willing to come to God on our own. He must convince us to come. It's called total depravity, and all of the rest hinges on that idea.

You might want to loom through the posts in the search label "election" from the sidebar. Look for one in particular titles "Whosoever Will.". Calvinism emphasizes free will more thanost people think.

Steve said...

J.K.,

"I agree most of all that men do not desire to come to God."

Not most...but 'NONE'.

"No one seeks for God."

That Calvinism emphasizes "free will" more than people think, is not something to be admired, but rather it is a wrongheaded belief to be corrected.

I try and read that post, 'Whosoever will' in a little bit.

Thanks, J.K.

J. K. Jones said...

Steve,

I didn't write that part clearly. What I should have said was something like, "I agree very much that no man desires to come to God." Was in too big a hurry.

Calvinism, the way John Gerstner and R. C. Sproul explained it to me, certianly emphasizes "free will" in the sense that we always choose to do what we want to do.

"Whosoever Will" was not correct. I had the post name wrong. The one I wanted to refer to is at:

http://jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com/2008/02/whosoever-meaneth-me.html

Good to hear from you, Steve.

JK

Steve said...

J.K.,

I appreciate you clearing that up.

Thanks much!

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