Two Quotes on Calvinism

Here are two quotes about Calvinism I share just for the sake of stirring things up again and then moving on as if I said nothing, because I said nothing, I merely quoted, although I wish I had said them because I heartily agree with the sentiment in both quotes.

1) Calvinists are the only people proud of total depravity.

2) “They who believe most in total depravity seem to think it has influenced their [theological] system the least.”

21 thoughts on “Two Quotes on Calvinism”

  1. Okay I’ll bite.
    #2 I had to laugh a little when I read that one… pretty good zinger.

    But… In John 6 Jesus said that, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him… This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” Apart from Christ, man is foolish, dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1–3), enslaved to sin (Romans 6:17), and following the spirit of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:14). His wisdom is demonic and earthly (James 3:15). He cannot hear the word of Christ and God (John 8:43, 47). He is not able to subject his flesh to the law of God (Romans 8:7–8). Just as people cannot change the color of their skin, those who are accustomed to doing evil cannot do good (Jeremiah 13:23). Every intention of the thoughts of man’s heart are only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). The intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth (Genesis 8:21). Surely we were brought forth in iniquity, and in sin were we conceived (Psalms 51:5)!

    Not proud of total depravity, only confirming God’s word about it.

  2. The point of the quote is not to deny that we are born in sin, the point is that Calvinists are often proud in their use of depravity. Such notions as “I’m just a horrible sinner that God has chosen for no apparent reason, thank God for His grace!”

    I know Calvinists think this is humble but it sure sounds arrogant. It tells other sinners they have no hope unless the arbitrary will of God has chosen them. But thank God for His grace that save us cool kids! Too bad you aren’t one of us!

  3. I think these verses go way past “just” being born in sin, they confirm without God’s intervention we will not come to Him. Not cool, only chosen due to no merit of my own, only His good grace.

  4. Could be! All I know is his tact and approach is far less arrogant than most Calvinist rhetoric I and many others have heard! Mind you, Calvinists have no monopoly on pride!

  5. Very good point Spherical! If you look at the people of the Bible that were followers of God they truly say their sinfulness and realized how glorious God’s grace is. Anything can become prideful to man but when we realize we have done nothing to deserve grace our pride should be destroyed.

  6. “It tells other sinners they have no hope unless the arbitrary will of God has chosen them.”

    Jeff I have never heard an unbeliever use this for an excuse for not coming to Christ. The main reason I encounter when sharing the gospel with people as to why they are not interested in coming to Christ is that religion is for “weak” people who can’t cut it in life without a crutch. It’s not that they feel that God has not chosen them, and even if He did (in their mind) they wouldn’t come, they just don’t want Him. If we are honest we all were there at some point, we all want to be our own god, only when God opens our heart like he did to Lydia in the book of Acts will we “hear” the truth and be set free.
    “One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.”-Acts 16:14

    And those who did feel as if they were “chosen” because of their heritage were told by Christ that indeed they were not of His father’s flock, God decides who comes and who doesn’t without ever violating a man’s free-will.
    Example: Isaiah prophesied hundreds of years prior to Christ’s coming what type of Savior, God would send to save His people. And he also prophesied that Christ would be rejected by His people because there would be nothing about Him that would appealing to the Israelites. So that is the exact type of Savior that God indeed sent to them. Those who rejected Christ are guilty of unbelief even though God sent them a Messiah that He knew they would reject. We all will be held responsible for the choices we make, God didn’t make them to choose to reject His Christ, He only sent them the One whom He knew they would reject.

  7. Paul,
    >God didn’t make them to choose to reject His Christ,
    >He only sent them the One whom He knew they would reject.

    I find this a very strange way to describe God’s actions. The gift of Christ was not given to trip up the Jews, but to save them. You describe it as if Jesus was like a rope that God placed at the top of the stairs knowing full well that the Jews would stumble over it and go rolling down…it makes God into some kind of prankster.

    I can’t imagine that such a God would be appealing to people, unless they somehow thought they were the favored ones, and the others were the damned. But what comfort would that really bring, and what kind of character would that develop in those “favored ones”?

    Would you, as a father, be well pleased to “trip up” some of your children, while favoring and saving some of the others? What father could choose between his children that way? Such interpretations and descriptions of God’s actions run perilously close to making God less than men.

    Even the apostle Paul, whose writings are often quoted to support these odd ideas, longed for the Jews to be saved:

    “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy….and might save some of them.” Rom. 11:11,14.

    Or here him cry out in Romans 9:1-3:

    “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”

    God loved the people so much that He gave them the best gift that could be found in all heaven, nay, in all the universe. He wanted to save them all, so He held nothing back. Don’t diminish the love of God!

  8. Frank,
    God loves His flock, more than He loves the world, He does love the world but not in the same measure as His chosen bride. A husband has a jealous love for his bride, not that he doesn’t love other women, but in his love for his bride he will do anything to protect her.

    “What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written,

    “God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that would not see
    and ears that would not hear,
    down to this very day.”

    9 And David says,

    “Let their table become a snare and a trap,
    a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
    10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
    and bend their backs forever.” Romans 11: 7-10

  9. Frank,
    How would you interpret these verses, if God loves everyone with the same type of love?
    “Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partialhardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Romans 11:25

    “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” John 17:9

  10. Frank,

    God ordained that His Son should be rejected, suffer, and give up His life. And if God has ordained His Son’s death, He has certainly ordain the means to that end, and it required that Jesus be made a stumbling block to the Jews. And the means to that end was to send a Savior that He knew would be rejected by those whom He meant to save. God ordains all things even the hardening of people’s hearts to fulfill His will, don’t diminish God’s sovereignty!

  11. Paul,

    God is love, and He is not a respecter of persons, “but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10:35). The qualification of acceptance with God is “faith and obedience”, not flesh, inheritance, special prayers, ceremonies, theological beliefs, etc.

    There is a cornerstone in the building of God’s sovereignty which is almost always overlooked, and that cornerstone is the Law of God. This is the cornerstone that is being set aside by most of the Protestant denominations, as they follow the example of the great original apostasy of the Roman Catholic church.

    The Catholic church sought to change “times and laws” (Dan. 7:25); she made void the law of God through her own decrees and laws, and the Protestants make void the law through a supposed “faith,” which is no faith at all but just presumption.

    “Do we make void the law through faith? God forbid, we establish the law!” Rom. 3:31.

    Didn’t you state, in a recent comment, that you tried to witness to a Buddhist fellow by stating that “my security was in the fact that Jesus died for my sins, rose from the dead, and I was accepted by the Father because I was trusting in Jesus, and not because I tried to lived a perfect life.” Does your faith “make void the law?” Why does faith have to be presented in such a way as to downgrade a “perfect life”? This is the dilemma of modern Protestantism: it makes the gospel an excuse for sin, in the same way as the Catholic indulgences.

    The Law of God, with it’s curses and blessings, defines whom God accepts and who he rejects. “Judgment, mercy, and faith” are the “weightier matters of the law” (Matt. 23:23), so they are also included in a proper and full understanding of that holy Law.

    Esau was “hated” even before he was born because God foreknew that Esau would refuse to exercise faith and obedience. The argument in Romans 9 is to show that Esau’s fleshly inheritance could not save him, nor guarantee him God’s favor. Romans 9 goes on to ask, “why did Israel not attain righteousness?” “Because they sought it not by faith” (Rom. 9:31). God sent them faith in the gift of Jesus…they refused it.

    God foresaw that Israel would reject their Messiah, but He sent just what they needed. Christ was the cure for the Jewish legalism. But the cure was refused. God could do nothing more. The result of rejecting the cure is that a person becomes even more sick and eventually dies. God did not send Jesus to make them die, but to cure them. They killed themselves by rejecting the cure.

    This is always the way God works. “I am not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” God is a Saviour. It is rejection of the Saviour that destroys men. “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.” (Hos. 13:9).

    God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in the same way…by trying to save him. The more Pharaoh resisted these saving efforts, the harder he became. God destroys by trying to save. The Lord “slew Saul” by trying to save him through Samuel’s warnings. God uses righteousness to battle evil. He does not fight evil with evil.

    Our predestination is always accomplished by how we relate to the Law of God, to obedience, mercy, and faith. Blessed are those who obey, cursed are those who disobey. Those who obey are ordained to eternal life, because the law of God is the way of life.

    The vessel is marred in the hands of the potter (Rom. 9:21-23) by it’s unbelief and refusal to accept the potter’s molding (compare with Jeremiah 18, which Romans 9 refers to).

    …a few more points to follow…

  12. Paul,

    As a professing Calvinist, you should be aware that the better part of Calvin’s ministry are not the points that have been crystallized into this system of theology that goes by his name. Calvin was a self-denying man, who followed a very unpopular path to support truth. If modern Christians had lived in his day, they would have called him a “cult leader”. (in those days, the word of derision was “heretic”).

    He lived a very simple, abstemious life. In one instance, he even requested having his meager wages reduced to satisfy his greedier fellow ministers. He devoted his whole effort to building up the message of God for that time. It was a cutting message which went straight against the common religion of the day.

    If this type of life was emulated by those who claim to be Calvinists in our day, it would be an honorable thing, although they would experience a lot more persecution and hatred. But instead, a few of his more radical views are made prominent, and exaggerated to extremes, and this is called “Calvinism”. This is quite pleasing to the flesh as it’s much easier to profess a bunch of doctrines, and get proud about their uniqueness, than it is to live a self-denying life that is scorned by the world and religious crowd of the day.

    Sin, in our day, comes in a different dress than at the time of Calvin. We don’t have images, the Bible is not restricted from the common people, the Catholic church does not have political power to persecute. Nevertheless, human nature has not changed. The flesh still has it’s pleasures, and men still want a religion that lets them have the world and God at the same time. Therefore, a slightly different message is required today. It is still righteousness by faith, and the word of God supreme, but it will come in different vessels that address the particular shortcomings and blindnesses of our modern society.

    And it will be just as tasteless to the modern world (and modern religion) as Jesus was to the Jewish people of his time. Will you be able to receive such a message if it does not come in the vessel of predestination?

    I think the Lord already showed (a few hundred years ago) in the Methodist movement that He did not consider this particular interpretation of predestination to have the importance that men think it has, for the larger and more vigorous branch of Methodists were Arminian (even though there was a Calvinist branch under Whitfield). By this historical example the Lord was saying to us that He has a message to give to the world, and these theological differences of the past should not be made prominent.

  13. Paul,

    One more thing, since I didn’t answer your last few questions.

    Yes, I agree with you, God has a special love to His people. If you think about the love of God as a stream of life flowing from Him to the receivers, you can understand this better (in Daniel it is called a “fiery stream”, Dan. 7:10). So the love (or life) of God is flowing out, but to where is it flowing? To a certain degree it flows to all men, because all receive the blessings of sun, rain, harvest, some divine protection, etc. So there is a common love that all receive.

    But those who open their hearts to this love receive more of it. In this sense, God loves them more, because they are open to receiving more. They are special to Him because they cooperate with Him in His divine purposes of mercy. In the same way, the apostle John was the one whom “Jesus loved” (which John, in humility, mentions in the third person, John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20). It was not that Jesus had an unfair regard for him over the other apostles, but he was more open to Jesus’ love. He leaned on Jesus breast at the Lord’s Supper, was one of the close group of three, and was the only one there at the cross.

    So God also had a special love to his people Israel when they were in Egypt, because they were more open to Him than the heathen with their false religion.

    But now, what is the purpose of this special love? Why simply so we can give an example to the world of what God wants to do for each of them as well, and so we can be agents in that ministry. Sin works by deception. Men believe that God’s way is restrictive and harmful, so they avoid it. We are to be letters written by God to show them that it is not so.

    This is the same purpose as God had with the nation of Israel: they were to be a light to the world, and to show forth the goodness of God and of His laws. This is how rebellion is broken. So we predestined ones, are to be the means of bringing others into this fold of predestination!

    This is exactly the purpose of the bringing in of the Gentiles, which the apostle mentions in Rom. 11:11, “to provoke them [natural Jews] to jealousy.” And why? To save some of them! God is always a Saviour.

    As regarding the ability to exercise faith, I believe that Christ “is the light which lights every man that comes into the world.” Every man receives some divine illumination…a sense of right and wrong…a drawing towards the truth. How he reacts to that light will determine his case in the judgment. Naturally God wants men to have every advantage, so He asks those of us who have more light to share it with those who have less, so that all may have as much opportunity as possible to receive salvation. To this end the gospel is to be preached “into all the world.”

  14. Frank,
    I was just reading your last post and wanted to ask you why do some men come to know Christ and others don’t? You made a comment, “God loves them more, because they are open to receiving more. They are special to Him because they cooperate with Him in His divine purposes of mercy.” If this is true some people are better than others right? We are smarter than unbelievers because we cooperated with Christ and they didn’t? Either all men are dead in their sin and in the same situation or some are born by chance, by their own merit , to receive Christ.
    Another comment you made, “How he reacts to that light will determine his
    case in the judgment. Naturally God wants men to have every advantage, so He asks those of us who have more light to share it with those who have less, so that all may have as much opportunity as possible to receive salvation. To this end the gospel is to be preached “into all the world.”
    Really? Please show me scripture on how some have more light than others. We either walk in complete darkness or in the light of Christ, there is no in between.
    As far a Calvin goes,I never see anyone on this site glorifying Calvin. He was a sinful man ,as we all are, that believed in the doctrine of grace. The doctrine of grace is the subject that we are discussing, not the history of one man. He did not even come up with the doctrine of grace but he gets all the credit from Armenians. Free will believers do this often and it is proven on this site. They start attacking John Calvins life history every time this subject comes up , why? We are discussing grace, not a man. What about Augustine and Pelagius, that is where the debate truly started or was it back in Romans 9 when Paul is telling the God can harden whomever he wants to and have mercy on who he wants to?
    We can’t pick and choose what we want God to be sovereign over, it is either all or nothing. To deny this is to deny the whole Bible.
    If man has free will how can we believe the Bible? If man has free will he could have written anything that he wanted in scripture. I guess God just sat back hoping they got it right! Sounds silly doesn’t it but isn’t it just as silly to think God would send His one and only Son to die on a cross and hope that some people would come to repentance and faith?

  15. Frank,
    Christ not only died for the remission of sins for all people, but for His elect He did more, He also purchased the faith to enable access God’s grace.

    “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2

    If Christ did this for all people, this purchase of saving faith, it would stand to reason then, that all would come.

    So why do some come to Christ and others don’t, if indeed Christ purchased the saving faith to come to Him for all men? The reason why not all men come to Christ is because Christ did more for His elect, He purchased the faith of those He predestined 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.

    “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8

    Both theological views have a limitation to the atoning work of Christ, the Arminian view puts the limit upon man, and a man’s free-will, only those who choose to come will be saved. While the Calvinist sees the limitation is from God’s side that only those whom He chose by grace to give the gift of saving faith will come, and all that He chose will come.

    “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:37

    When our will is truly freed by the grace of God we will come, and in fact I would agree then, with the Arminian view, with a truly free-will a man will come to Christ.

  16. Dustin,
    >We are smarter than unbelievers because we
    >cooperated with Christ and they didn’t?

    That’s phrased in a tricky way. If a bunch of people are drowning in an ocean, and someone throws out life buoys, and one person takes hold of it but the others don’t…is the one who takes hold “smarter” than the others? I’d say he made a wiser choice, but that the cause of his rescue was the life buoy.

    Peter got proud about his zeal for Christ and then denied Him. He learned to be humble. I don’t think you can learn humility simply by clinging to a theological doctrine…it needs to be lived out and trained into you. Certainly a careful and prayerful study of the Word could make you avoid the pitfalls, but otherwise, failures will teach us. A Calvinist could be just as proud of the fact that he’s one of the elect, and others aren’t. Simply holding to a doctrine does not necessarily lead to humility.

    Do you really think that you can discern when your will is being worked on by God, and when it is just your own self-will or pride? I’d like to know how you discern this, because religious folk have done every sin imaginable and used the word of God to justify it. It would be helpful in this discussion if we got really practical and don’t hide behind the doctrines.

    >Please show me scripture on how
    >some have more light than others.

    Gen. 42:8 – “And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.”

    :-) No, but more seriously now!….

    Matt. 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

    >As far a Calvin goes,I never see anyone
    >on this site glorifying Calvin.

    Actually you seem to have misunderstood me. I admire him quite a bit, there was very little criticism in what I wrote. My only complaint was that people follow a few of his more unusual interpretations and call that “Calvinism” instead of following his living example.

    I didn’t follow the reasoning on your last few points, so I won’t try to answer them. But I will re-iterate that God has shown that His Law is the foundation of His government. It is both stated, and pictured out in the Sanctuary, where the Ten Commandments were put inside the Ark, above which was the Mercy Seat where the Presence of the Lord abode. In this picture the throne of God was literally built on the Law. The Law is Love, and “love works no ill to his neighbor”. Therefore, God works no ill to any of His creatures.

    In these days, when rebellion against God’s law is taught openly in churches, I can’t see the importance of dissecting the exact ways in which God works to draw us, and where we exercise our choice. If nobody is choosing the right, does it really matter to argue about how we choose the right?

  17. Paul,

    I’m finished talking about the theory.

    Yes, I agree with you that God is the one who draws us, who inspires us with thoughts and desires for the good, for faith, etc. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” They are already blessed when they hunger and thirst, so that must come from God.

    The important question for us is, are we being drawn by God, or not? What kind of works, beliefs, attitudes, actions should we be seeing in ourselves in these terrible times in order to assure us that we are indeed among the elect? Or does a Calvinist test himself, and search his heart? I don’t know, as I’m not trained in your theology.

    But this much I know. The times are very serious. The world is on the brink of disaster from many different avenues now. We still live in relative comfort, but this will cease. And when it does, will we know what God wants us to do?

    It’s easy to imagine ourselves as quite spiritual people, when we sit in our comfortable churches. It’s easy to talk about the many blessings of God when we consume a giant share of the world’s resources, leaving other parts to suffer want. Well it’s not our children that are dying of hunger, so it doesn’t touch us. But those cries are ascending to God, and how will we stand clear of being implicated in the guilt that is piling up because of our greedy systems? Will Christ have to say to us “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.”?

    “God’s last call will be “Come out from her and be separate, that you partake not of her plagues.” Do we know what it is we are to come out of?

    When God sends another Calvin, will we be able to stand with him against the tide of the world and modern apostate religion, or will we blame him (as the Kings and Catholics did in Calvin’s day) for all the problems, and say like Ahab said to Elijah, “are you the one who troubles Israel?”

  18. Frank,
    I appreciate your thoughts, I can see by your words that you spend a good deal of time in God’s word. Your answers are well thought out with deep scriptural insight. I agree with you completely in the fact that how we live is of much more importance, than in what we say with our mouths.

    But I believe a strong foundation for a solid understanding of God’s word is crucial. I originally began my Christian walk in the Word of Faith circle, to put it bluntly I was being taught a load of crap. I grew increasingly bothered by what I was being taught, in view of what I was reading in God’s word.

    As I began to study Reformed Theology it became quite clear that I needed to depart from my old church. As I look back on it now, the teaching there actually destroyed some impressionable folks, thinking they could create their future simply by the words they spoke.

    So this is why I am very passionate about our view of scripture, I have seen the damage that unbiblical teaching can produce in one’s life.
    Be blessed.
    Paul

  19. Paul,
    Well forgive me if I have not taken into account your background. There was a time some years ago when I discovered the Puritan writings and were greatly blessed by them. It was a golden age of Christian literature, when trained intellect was combined with fervent faith. We need more of that today in this superficial age.
    Frank.

  20. The only reason anyone believes is because God predestined them in Christ before the foundation of the world. Jesus died only for those predestined in Him, and only they believe, not because they were “cool kids” but only by God’s grace, a free gift, which He ordained and for them to walk in. Ephesians 2:10

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