Sunday, March 18, 2007

“Calvinism 101”

The natural, ordinary, commonsense meaning of words is not sufficient for sustaining the doctrines of Calvinism. Words of key verses must be defined in partisan fashion or the doctrine crumbles. In the following verses (allegedly purporting the tenet of Limited Atonement), Calvinism defines the word ‘many’ to mean the elect only. However, in the immediate or even broader context of Scripture, Calvinism is taking an unjustified liberty:

Isaiah 53:12 “… and he bare the sin of many….”
Matthew 20:28: “… the Son of man came… to give his life a ransom for many.”
Matthew 26:28: “…For this is my blood… which is shed for many….”
Hebrews 9:28: “… Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many…”

By defining many to mean the elect only, Calvinism offers a classic example of eisegesis (forcing the text to fit a preconceived system of theology).

Calvinists affirm: “Christ died for the elect only.” However, this has no biblical basis! Scripture consistently asserts the contrary, and unlike the Calvinist rendition, states it EXPLICITLY: He died NOT for ours sins only, “but also for the sins of the whole world.” And there are many other explicit verses:

Isaiah 53:6: “… and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
John 1:29: “… Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
1 Timothy 2:6: “Who gave himself a ransom for all....”
1 Timothy 4:10: “… we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all….”
Hebrews 2:9: “…that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
1 John 4:14: “… the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”?
1 John 2:2: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Calvinism 101:
If the word is 'many,' then the meaning is few;
If the word is 'whosoever,' then it must mean only the elect;
If the word is 'world,' then it can’t mean everyone;
And if the word is 'all', then 'all' doesn't mean all at all!

During his Grand Jury testimony, regarding the Lewinsky affair, President Bill Clinton, attempting to reconcile the irreconcilable, reasoned: "… It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is.” However, as children of light, we must be gravely aware of the consequence of twisting Scripture as the “… unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).

Calvin in his later years appeared to suffer that malady so common to Calvinists: doubts concerning salvation. And for good reason: Calvinism teaches a salvation not based on belief or confession or repentance or faith or calling on the Lord, but rather “the luck of the draw.” So how is one to know if he was one of the elect? Calvinist R. T. Kendall writes: “nearly all of the Puritan ‘divines’ went through great doubt and despair on their deathbeds as they realized their lives did not give perfect evidence that they were elect.” Works are a Calvinist’s only assurance of personal salvation.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will Iprofess unto them I never knew you… (Matthew 7:21-23).

But whosoever believes that 'whosoever' means whosoever is at peace; perfect love casteth out fear.
John 3:15: “… whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Acts 10:43: “… whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
Romans 10:13: “… whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Calvin in his later years appears to have relinquished his doctrine of Limited Atonement: “And He said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many” (Mark 14:24). Although Calvinists, contest that 'many' refers to the elect, John Calvin in contrary commentary affirms:

… by the word 'many' he means not a part of the world only, BUT THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE… (John Calvin, Rev. William Pringle, English Translation, Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Vol. 3, emphasis added).

And Calvin's "LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, April 25, 1564" affirms that the Sovereign Redeemer’s blood was shed for the entire human race:

… that I suppliantly beg of Him, that He may be pleased so to wash and purify me in the blood which my Sovereign Redeemer has shed for THE SINS OF THE HUMAN RACE… (John Calvin, as cited in: Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, Volume VIII: Modern Christianity, The Swiss Reformation; emphasis added).

1 comment:

J. Wendell said...

I like your blog.

Not all Calvinists hold to particular redemption. Nor do we make such leaps from the Word, distilling it till only to those who have the right decoder ring can make sense of it. This is grievous and far too common.