Sunday, June 16, 2013

Calvinism, Objections, Questions and Answers

Calvinism, Objections, Questions and Answers

1. A person cannot rightly claim that Christ died for him, unless he knows he's elect.

This objection is answered when we understand that a person can know he/she is elect by repenting and trusting in Christ for salvation. It is true that Calvinism teaches that Christ did not died for every single individual. However, Calvinism asserts that Christ died for all those that repent and trust in Him. Thus people can know they’re elect by obeying God—repenting and trusting in Jesus Christ.

2. Doesn’t God have to “force” a person to believe the gospel?

It depends on what is meant by ‘force.’ If one means that God does everything, including believe for a person, then no. That would be hyper-Calvinism. If by it one means that God makes a person believe, like a person is forced to give money to a gunman, then no.  But if force is understood as changing a person’s heart, and desires to willingly want salvation, then yes.

3. If God makes a person trust in Christ, then a person does not have to do anything.

This objection is confusing Biblical Calvinism with Hyper-Calvinism. Calvinism teaches that God changes a person’s heart giving him/her the ability to trust in Christ (Eph 2:1-5). Thus a person does something, namely believes in Christ, but behind this action is God’s enablement. In modern terms, a person commits him/herself to the person of Christ. But this commitment is only possible by God’s grace. Everyone is obligated to commit one’s self to Christ. Have you attempted to do so? If not why? 

4. If Calvinism is true people do not need to preach the gospel.

This objection is a repackage of the previous Hyper-Calvinist idea that God does not need or require means to accomplish his will. Again, this is against what scripture teaches. God does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115). It is true that God does not need anything, but if God requires means to accomplish His will then we cannot object to it. God has commanded Christians to preach the gospel as a means to draw people to Himself.
Furthermore, if God commands something, it is sufficient to obligate us to obey. So if God says preach, we should preach. If God says believe, we should believe. If He says repent, we should repent.

5. It doesn’t matter what your motive is for believing in Christ.

This is not true. The very reason why there is a distinction between pure and impure motives testifies to the fact. A pure desire for salvation is one that is Scriptural. For example, in Luke 13 Christ commanded people to repent or perish, indicating that fear of hell is a proper motivation to obey God. A more broad definition could be that pure motives are ones that consider God as the primary one offended by our sins. Thus we should seek to please and make right, the wrong done by our sins the way God has commanded through his Son. The offended party should be our primary concern, which is God. In summary, pure desires/motives are Scriptural and Theo-centric (God-centered). Motives, although maybe noble, cannot be based on a desire to please man but God. For example, a person should not desire salvation merely to be a part of a Christian community. Nor should a person trust in Christ in order to please their Christian friends or family. A person should want to please God and have a right relationship with Him, regardless of anything else. Thus a person, individually, trusts Christ for salvation because of awareness of sin and the only remedy Christ.



James Jordan said...

"This is not true. The very reason why there is a distinction between pure and impure motives testifies to the fact. A pure desire for salvation is one that is Scriptural. For example, in Luke 13 Christ commanded people to repent or perish, indicating that fear of hell is a proper motivation to obey God."

Am I mistaken or is this the passage about the tower that fell on some people? "Do you think that these were more sinful than others? I tell you nay, but unless you repent you shall all likewise perish." How do you get "hell" out of that? He says a tower fell on them; he doesn't say they went to hell. Your whole interpretive framework is riddled with interpretive leaps of this kind. A tower falling on someone = going to hell. This is why Calvinism is so screwed up. All of the objections listed here are only the cherry on top of the milkshake! The chocolate syrup making up the chocolate milkshake is that you make words mean things other than what they mean. Sovereignty which means being an Emperor or king who has no king above you to mean "micromanager" but a micromanager is always on bottom below a stack of bosses worried about losing his job; that's why he micromanages! Emperors don't micromanage; they delegate! You make grace mean magic enabling power rather than mercy. You make love = a coin toss. You make world in John 3:16 mean the elect. You make elect mean lottery winners. You make death mean hell. And you make righteous mean 100% perfect. You make love mean a lottery. When you are done with it hardly a word still retains its real meaning. Say whatever you like but nobody understands a word of it because you're no longer speaking English; you're not speaking any language at all, you're speaking in tongues, the tongues of lunatics.

R.C. Dozier said...

I get hell out of Luke 13 by allowing scripture to interpret scripture. It is commonly called in Christian circles the analogy of faith. By reading the previous chapter Luke 12:4-5, and its reference text Matthew 10:28-29; it plainly refers of hell.

Luke 12:4-5 "But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him."

Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

I think your comments suggest you misunderstand Calvinism. I would direct you to these links so you can at least make your criticisms accurately representing Calvinism:

I'd also recommend you read a thought provoking book grounded in Calvinism, like Timothy Keller's book entitled The Reason for God.

R.C. Dozier said...

But even if I misinterpret a verse like Luke 13 it doesn't mean all Christians wrongly interpret the Bible nor does it disprove the truthfulness of the Christian faith.

James Jordan said...

Please toke note of this:

Matthew 10:28 "...Rather fear him who can DESTROY both soul and body in hell."

I know instantly the denial of annihilationism must be shouted from the rooftops, right? Because later Christian tradition rejects it. AH BUT WAIT ONE MINUTE!!!!!!

PSALM 37:20 "But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away."

Combining the two passages, the traditional Christian hell is impossible. The Psalmist speaks of the wicked consuming away into smoke--Jesus speaks of the body and soul being destroyed in hell. Clearly both passages teach annihilationism.