Monday, April 16, 2007

Why I am not a Calvinist PT 1

Why I am not a Calvinist. Pt 1

Before I start this critique of Phil Johnson’s "Why I am a Calvinist" I want to say I do not consider Calvinists as heretics or anything that would imply that to be one is not to be saved by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ.

I will say I do not agree with certain assertions made by Calvinist to “prove” their doctrine… in fact I see many things taught in Calvinism that run contrary to the teachings of scripture.

Phil Johnson did a series on Calvinism and I thought I might do a response to each part of the series… yet it seems that it is just another shallow overview of a “modernize” version of Calvinism. So I almost view it a waste of time to go over it point by point.

I will go over certain teaching within Calvinism that are of its foundation and I think one will see that it is not base entirely on proper scriptural teachings.

Again, I have many friends who I respect greatly that are Calvinist… yet I have had the most vicious attacks against me from the Calvinist camp….

So the first reason I am not a Calvinist is that I see that systematic theology was not taught by Paul as many assert. In fact if you read Paul faithfully, Paul is a “task theologian”… which meant he met with a task and sought how to deal with it through the Revelation he received from Jesus.

To say that God’s Gospel is Calvinism as Spurgeon stated is really a huge claim… and if Calvinism errored in any fashion then that claim would be false and that gospel would not be the true Gospel. So, humbly must be met as we look at our own theological bent.

For years I tried to take what I saw in Scripture and see which view I best fit into… that is really a mistake as if scripture differs at one’s theological points then there must be an issue in that theology.

To say that God has a tight system and that it must fit perfectly together is a bit of a stretch. In fact I hold that as suspect as it seems that one must pull out of the Bible theology and in that interpret it… and then to fit it into a theological system… means that if something does not fit…one must bend and twist it until it does. And if it does not ignore it or deny it.

I see this at a few points in Calvinism as I see that God is bigger than a “system”. I have heard and read many, many sermons and teachings about God’s sovereignty…l in which I agree He is… how it works is a manner of opinion and speculation as we mere men’s ways are not God’s ways. (Isaiah 55:8)

If the system is as the Calvinist states perfect and then God must submit to the system of Calvinism. So, then we have a God that is submissive and not Sovereign.
Also I see that if God made such a system that saves it would in its nature be that one must meet the conditions of the system and then at that we have a works oriented system of salvation. For it becomes the very thing that saves us is our belief in the system. The system then demands that its Legal qualities be done perfectly. For you see God did have a system in place and Moses gave it to the Israelites. And that system we already had forgiveness of sins… and most people miss that… in fact that is what most people see the Gospel entirely is… which it is much more… in fact that idea forgets the Resurrection by which we are saved.

In Calvinism we see that without realizing it… denies that one is saved by Grace as it says it teaches. It is a return to works in the sense IF one sees God’s works his own and not Gods alone. Many teach this in Calvinism, yet miss that if one denies one point, then they will be considered out of the system… then out of the will of God and at best suspect of not being Elect… or worse be labeled a heretic. So, as with the Law, one must tow the company line in order to be saved… and in that we negate the Blood of Jesus and replace it with the system that is supposed to support it in its very teachings.

9 comments:

nathanielmacrae said...
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nathanielmacrae said...
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iggy said...

Nathaniel,

I agree with the first statement only with a big IF...

IF Calvin was merely declaring the obvious and that his statements were just a mere observation then it would of course be as you say...

Yet, I will be going much more in depth in the next few post on this topic and will explain how some take scripture and read it through their doctrinal position as opposed to taking it at what is merely states.

hehe

Now saying that I do not think I can do any more than some much greater minds could not accomplish... in fact I have read so many on both sides that miss the point as they are both fighting not for what is stated... but for their doctrinal statements...I too have fallen in that trap... so that is why I am not calling anyone a heretic.

As far as John Piper... many have said I need to read him... and it sounds like he is very knowledgeable, yet I have not read anything by him. I might in the future, but I have studied out my position pretty much in depth so I am not that interested in the Calvinist position... I will add I am I too thrilled with the Arninian position also as that is my background.

In fact I have been a bit ostracized by both sides... one loves me when I speak of grace and eternal security the other loves me when I speak of free will and the human being a moral agent that can choose good and evil but is not able to sustain or have tools to do what is perfect as God is able to.

In that we try to be a god and not depend on God in His perfect knowledge of good and evil...

Blessings,
iggy

iggy said...

IF there is a concerned Calvinist who thinks I should read John Piper's book feel free to send me a copy... I have limited resources so I must choose as to what I can buy... and mostly I read free books sent by publishers or from the library... if you desire me to be more knowledgeable then email me and I will send my address that you can mail a book to me...

Blessings,
iggy

iggy said...

Nathaniel,

I read the Piper article and he falls prey to the classic mistake as he acknowledges we must read chapter 8... yet stops and verse 18 in Chapter 9 of Romans... one must read the entire chapter 9 and the first few of 10 to get all what Paul is stating or we get only half the idea Paul is setting out... and Piper misses that point by a mile.

I will cover this in greater detail in my next post...

So stay tuned!
be blessed,
iggy

nathanielmacrae said...
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iggy said...

LOL!

Nathaniel, you crack me up... I needed that today.

I am up to part three... i am open to comments... not hard core debates as i am doing that on my other blog right now...

blessings,
iggy

MICHAEL said...

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace Be With You
Micky

iggy said...

Micky,

Thanks for sharing... what a powerful testimony of the power of Jesus Christ.

When we get hold of the Person...

I have found "systems of theology" to sometimes actually keep people trapped in a shame based faith... never "feeling" good enough to please God... and you know what we never can or will... it is as you said what Jesus did on the Cross that makes us "good enough"... it is Jesus Christ's' "goodness" that we walk in.

In the debates I have with people over doctrine it all comes down to this... Jesus is to be our very Life... and that is not in our doing but in resting in what He has already done. In that we rest in Him and we dwell in Him and He in us... and the Doctrines of Christ Jesus are written on our hearts.

Thanks for blessing me with you testimony...

Blessings,
iggy