I read the blog of James White’s sister, Patty Bonds, quite frequently. Through it, I discovered this video. It’s amusing.
Patty feels that it accurately represents Calvinism. She writes:
I was probably one of the most radical Calvinists of all. I would and did stand flat footed and state unwaveringly that all five points of the TULIP were infallible and that those who were not elect were going to glorify God simply by their depraved lives and their eternal damnation. I had also come to the conclusion that even unborn babies that perished were subject to God’s capricious picking and choosing. I had been taught that since it was Tradition that taught us that children were not guilty of actual sin until after an age of accountability that we should reject that idea along with the whole of Catholic Tradition. So if a child was still born, it was entirely up to God whether that child would die with his sinful human nature and suffer damnation for it or if he would somehow become “regenerate” and be saved. If your head is spinning right now, don’t feel alone. I can’t believe I once believed this rubbish either.
So, while Jim’s folks have a cow about this video and bluster about bearing false witness and all, I have to say I found the video not only funny, but also an accurate representation of my own former Calvinist beliefs. I’d say they were also Jim’s but he would just tell me I’m wrong like everyone else is wrong when they find fault in him. Whatever. (source)
Of course, the video does not accurately represent Calvinism. I was toying with the idea of picking through this video and showing how badly it misrepresents Calvinism, but TurretinFan has done that for me. He said everything that I would have said, so enjoy his short but excellent refutation of the video.
Mike from the blog Finding Bliss has objected to Calvinism. He says, “I find it spiritually abusive,” calls it “reckless [sic] doctrine”
In my previous post, I showed that Mike isn’t objecting to Calvinism proper. In that vein, I will answer some of the objections he then comes up with in the latter section of his post, most of which can be defused by appealing to what Calvinism actually teaches, not what Mike thinks it teaches. First objection:
How many nights have people laid awake at night questioning whether or not God chose them first? Or if like me you first believed and then you fell then that could very well mean that I was never truly saved in the first place. Read the rest of this entry
Vjack of Atheist Revolution asked his Twitter followers whether they thought atheism was a choice. Most responded that it wasn’t; rather, it was a conclusion reached after the analysis of the available data. They didn’t consciously choose atheism; they arrived at it naturally.
So atheism is part of their ontology. To that, Vjack says:
Suppose we decide that one’s initial discarding of theism and one’s continued lack of belief in gods are not conscious decisions and instead reflect one’s appraisal of the available data. This has a number of important implications. For starters, it would make anti-atheist bigotry even less tenable. If atheism was not something one chose, bigotry directed at atheists would indeed resemble anti-gay bigotry or even racism and would be equally difficult to justify. (source)
This presupposes that ontology is inherently good, and that something considered a part of one’s basic nature can’t be bad or harmful by definition. That’s faulty reasoning.
Addictive patterns of behavior are known to be inherent to one’s ontology. Heart disease is often caused internally. Certain folks are predisposed to types of cancer. These things are all hardwired into DNA; i.e., they are inherent to the nature of the person. Is anyone going to try to argue that those things are good, despite their origins?
Of course not. So why would we just automatically assume that homosexuality or atheism is good just because it is in the person’s nature to be that way? No one would try to argue that alcoholism, compulsive gambling, cancer, or heart disease are good things even though they are also part of a person’s nature.
Why, then, is atheism good just because it is in someone’s nature?
As an aside, my previous post took a look at the errors of Mike from Finding Bliss in regard to Calvinism. Experential evidence, though typically disregarded by atheists as proof of God, can be helpful in worldview debates. What we see here is an example of predestination at work: the unbelievers have convinced themselves that there is no evidence for God, and are therefore justifying their lack of belief by crying, “It’s my nature!”
Of course it is! First and foremost, humans are bonded to sin. It’s inescapable, and Vjack has perfectly illustrated it right there. Though this blog post points it out, it will not be regarded as evidence validating my Reformed worldview by any atheist.
Mike of the Finding Bliss blog demonstrates why some people hate Calvinism. They hate a strawman caricature of it, and they don’t understand what the five points really teach. This is why I plan to make my musings on the topics of the five points of Calvinism available as an e-book.
Let’s look at what Mike got right, and what he got wrong. Mike writes, “I’ve attempted to present the 5 points as a Calvinist might present them which is not easy to do, I don’t agree with it and what’s worse I find it spiritually abusive.” It’s important to note that Mike is attempting to present these points accurately. He failed in a few places. Read the rest of this entry
John W. Loftus is all about error. It’s sad and funny at the same time. This time, he’s on about a typical atheist talking point: the fact that religion is inherited from the culture.
Of course, this does nothing to impugn the credibility of a particular religion. Truth is still truth. The argument isn’t an attack on the truth claims of Christianity. Instead, it seeks to use human nature against religion. It is not in dispute that we inherit beliefs unquestioningly from our parents and culture. Likewise, there is no dispute that we like to feel special and good. But how does this argue against any particular religion?
Loftus has this to say:
Why do they [Christians] think they are privileged to be born in the right time and place when others are not? If there is a God why would he privilege them like this? Why? It’s the natural tendency we humans have for thinking we’re special, that’s why. All ancient societies built temples to their gods which they thought were located directly on the center of the world. This thinking is still being embraced by Christians in many ways for they claim their geographical religion is where God has revealed himself and can be known. (source)
People tend to inherit the religion of their parents. Big whop. Does that mean we are privileged? Let’s see what the Bible has to say about it:
- All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. But there are some of you who do not believe. This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father. (Jn 6:37, 44, 64-65)
- And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)
- And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Rom 8:28-29, the so-called Golden Chain of Redemption)
- So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (Rom 9:16)
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Eph 1:3-6)
- In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. (Eph 1:11-12)
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
So, since God can determine everything about us (he foreknows us, Rom 8:29, see also Ps 139), it stands to reason that the place and time of our birth is under his control as well. That would mean geographically inherited religion is nothing less than a mechanism by which God can predestine his elect.
James White just posted this video, thinking that he may have seen it somewhere before. I agree; I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it before, but I thought I’d repost it anyway.
When they show the scales that illustrate John 3:16 allegedly trumping everything else in the Bible, I like how John 6 appears twice on the opposite dish.
I also like the devil horns on Calvin and the cool nickname: “John ‘Lucifer’ Calvin.”
I should just create a category for comment spam. This just in:
I found your site from bing and it is magnificent. Thankx for supplying such an amazing blog post…
Thanks! This was attached to the post that attempted to answer if God was the author of sin in Calvinism, to which I recently added a retraction. Good, careful reading!
I’m getting numerous hits from search engines that indicate people are looking to see if John Piper said that God is the author of sin. I can’t find the source of this controversy, or who made the charge, or why people seem to be looking for this topic right now. As near as I can figure, it comes from this article, dated January 1, 1993. Nothing like dealing with current events, right? Read the rest of this entry
Eternal security, also called “perseverence of the saints” and better known as “once saved, always saved (OSAS)” has drawn the attention of Ben, who goes by kangaroodort on the blog Arminian Perspectives. Ben has noted an item from Jeff Paton on the August of 2009 George Sodini debacle. Ben and Paton both believe that the Sodini is the textbook problem with eternal security.
Sodini, prior to his killing spree, wrote the following on his blog (December 31, 2008):
“Be Ye Holy, even as I have been Ye holy! Thus saith the lord thy God!”, as pastor R— K—- [redacted by raincoaster] would proclaim. Holy shit, religion is a waste. But this guy teaches (and convinced me) you can commit mass murder then still go to heaven. Ask him. Call him at [redacted by raincoaster]. If no answer there, he should still live at [redacted by raincoaster]. In any case, guilt and fear kept me there 13 long years until Nov 2006. I think his crap did the most damage. (cited here)
Note that Sodini states “you can commit mass murder then still go to heaven.” The pastor convinced him of this. A quick scan of his church’s website (the doctrinal statement wasn’t available when I went there, but they did have a table of contents) appears to confirm that it teaches OSAS. So, it is very possible that Sodini believes that his ticket is punched and he will go to heaven regardless of his beliefs and practices leading up to his death.
Paton appears to be blaming the mass murder itself on Sodini’s complete misunderstanding of the OSAS doctrine. Witness: Read the rest of this entry
Over at his blog, Rey has posted that God hates the non-elect. Twice.
Rey thinks this because he denies that the default human condition is sinful and thus opposed to God by its very nature. It is not necessary for God to hate us first so that we may hate him; hating God and denying the Creator is only natural to the creation because of the Fall.
Natural man, in his natural state, is opposed to God. That is why he hates God. It is not the converse of 1 John 4:19.
But, when God enlightens us and makes us a new creation, we are then able to love God because he first loved us.
Rey is attacking the hyper-Calvinistic notion that God hates the non-elect. There is much Scriptural evidence that he does, in fact, love all of his creation (Jn 3:16–“For God so loved the world. . .”). The elect he loves more deeply (Rom 8:29–“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed . . .”). God commands us to love our enemies. Why would he command us to do something that he himself doesn’t already do? Do the wicked not receive blessings from God?
In order to substantiate his position, Rey must show us, either from Scripture or Reformed writings, that God loves only his elect. Scripture shows he takes care of his elect, but both Scripture and natural theology indicate that he loves both the elect and the non-elect.
Why does God elect some and not others? Well, that is a mystery, but it is not random (as Rey repeatedly suggests by comparing election to a lottery).