Monday, September 29, 2008

John Calvin on 1John 2:2 - Kendall's "Out Of Context" Quotation

Back to my defense of R. T. Kendall

It is time to return to my critique of Roger Nicole’s criticism of R. T. Kendall. For the sake of reference, one may find Nicole’s critique at this link: John Calvin's View of the Extent of the Atonement. (The essay was originally published in Westminster Theological Journal 47 (1985) 197-225.)

Having made arguments from logic (which I have answered in previous posts) Nicole now takes aim at Kendall’s use of material from Calvin:

Kendall devotes two pages to discussing Calvin’s view of the extent of the atonement. Here he quotes largely the same passages of Calvin we have encountered earlier, [footnote 35] one of which is so wrested from its context as to appear to have a meaning opposite to that which Calvin explicitly delineated.” [footnote 36]

WTJ 47, at page 205. First, as to the question what Calvin said on the subject of the universality of the atonement, I trust that the material available at Calvin and Calvinism has put that question beyond controversy. At this point, only an academic would continue to insist that Calvin taught limited atonement.

As to Nicole’s allegation that Kendall “so wrested” a quote from Calvin “from its context” as to make it mean the opposite of Calvin’s explicit intent, I propose to examine that briefly.

The dispute involves this sentence from Calvin’s Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God,, 148: “It is also a fact, without controversy, that Christ came to atone for the sins of the whole world.” Kendall cites this sentence as evidence of Calvin’s universalism. Nicole, on the other hand, criticizes Kendall, as “wresting” the quote from its context. Here’s Nicole’s footnote:

Calvin, Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, 148. This passage refutes Georgius’ interpretation of 1 John 2:2. “John does indeed extend the benefits of the atonement of Christ, which was completed by His death, to all the elect of God throughout what climes of the world soever they may be scattered. But though the case be so, it by no means alters the fact that the reprobate are mingled with the elect in the world. It is also a fact, without controversy, that Christ came to atone for the sins of the whole world. But the solution of all difficulty is immediately at hand in the truth and fact that it is whosoever believeth in Him that shall not perish, but shall have eternal life. For our present question is, not what the power or virtue of Christ is, nor what efficacy it has in itself, but who those are to whom He gives Himself to be enjoyed. Now if the possession of Christ stands in faith, and if faith flows from the spirit of adoption, it follows that he alone is numbered of God among His children who is designed of God to be a partaker of Christ. Indeed, the evangelist John sets forth the office of Christ to be none other than that of gathering together all the children of God in one by His death. From all which we conclude that although reconciliation is offered unto all men through HIm, yet, that the great benefit belongs peculiarly to the elect, that they might be gathered together and be made together partakers of eternal life.” Calvin’s Calvinism 165-66 (OC 8.336). By quoting only the sentence in italics, Kendall violated Calvin’s intent.

“Out of context”?

The “out of context” allegation occurs routinely in debate. But having made the allegation, Nicole is obligated to follow up with something to prove the point. Nicole completely fails.

Nicole does provide a section of Calvin’s context; but what does it show? There is nothing in the context to mitigate the force of Calvin’s statement. And Nicole doesn’t provide any argument ... just the quote from Calvin.

In fact, the quote from Calvin clearly substantiates Kendall’s view of the matter. It is perfectly clear that Calvin did in fact believe that Christ had died for the sins of the whole world, in part because he goes to some length to explain how this could be. His explanation provides a solution to that “difficulty.” And having attempted a solution, it shows that he really believed the statement that creates the difficulty.

A look at the solution that Calvin provides further proof to support Kendall. Calvin says that though Christ has died for the whole world, not all believe in him and it is they alone who shall have eternal life. The question, says Calvin, is not the power or efficacy of Christ’s work in and of itself, but the application of the “great benefit” of the atonement, which “belongs peculiarly to the elect.” Calvin distinguished between the intrinsic value of Christ’s work and those who should benefit from it.

This, of course, is exactly what most four-point Calvinists would say: Christ died for all, but only the elect enjoy the benefits of Christ’s work.

Universal intent v. particular intent

This analysis of the situation does not do full justice to either the problem or Calvin’s treatment of it. The question -- this often comes up as one of the preliminary issues in the discussion of limited atonement -- is not the value of Christ’s atonement considered in itself (cf. Calvin’s statement of the “present question” in the quote above). The question is, rather, what is the intent of God in the sacrifice of Christ. The limitation, it is held, is in the intention, not in the value of Christ’s work.

Yes. But the distinction between intrinsic value and intent does not touch the critical distinction some of us would make. Specifically we would point to a distinction between God’s universal intention on the one hand and God’s particular intention on the other. Calvin speaks to this:

From all which we conclude that although reconciliation is offered unto all men through Him, yet, that the great benefit belongs peculiarly to the elect, that they might be gathered together and be made together partakers of eternal life.

Calvin, supra.

Notice the universal intent -- reconciliation “offered unto all men” -- contrasted with the particular intent -- the great benefit which “belongs peculiarly to the elect.” If one would understand Calvin’s universalism, one must at least understand and acknowledge this diverging of divine intentions for the expiation.

81 comments:

Charlie J. Ray said...

You are not a Calvinist if you are arguing that Calvin taught universal atonement. The Canons of Dordt clearly espouse what Calvinists understood to be Calvin's position, including particular atonement. Furthermore, the London Baptist Confession teaches particular atonement. Your claim to be a "Reformed Baptist" is therefore a misnomer and incorrect. You are an Amyraldian if you reject particular atonement.

Charlie J. Ray said...

London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689.

Of Christ the Mediator 8.6

Although the price of redemption was not actually paid by Christ until after His incarnation yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefit arising from His payment were communicated to the elect in all ages from the beginning of the world through those promises, types, and sacrifices in which He was revealed and signified as the seed which should bruise the serpent's head, and also the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, for He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

AND

8.8

To all those for whom Christ has obtained eternal redemption, He certainly and effectually applies and communicates this redemption, making intercession for them, uniting them to Himself by His Spirit, revealing to them in the Word and by the Word the mystery of salvation. He persuades them to believe and obey, governing their hearts by His Word and Spirit, and overcome all their enemies by His almighty power and wisdom. This is achieved in such a manner and by such ways as are most consonant to His wonderful and unsearchable dispensation, and it is all by free and absolute grace, without any condition foreseen in them to procure it.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christ’s Limited Atonement by Charles Spurgeon

Some persons love the doctrine of universal atonement because they say, 'It is so beautiful. It is a lovely idea that Christ should have died for all men; it commends itself,' they say, 'to the instincts of humanity; there is something in it full of joy and beauty.' I admit there is, but beauty may be often associated with falsehood. There is much which I might admire in the theory of universal redemption, but I will just show what the supposition necessarily involves. If Christ on His cross intended to save every man, then He intended to save those who were lost before He died. If the doctrine be true, that He died for all men, then He died for some who were in hell before He came into this world, for doubtless there were even then myriads there who had been cast away because of their sins.

Once again, if it was Christ’s intention to save all men, how deplorably has He been disappointed, for we have His own testimony that there is a lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, and into that pit of woe have been cast some of the very persons who, according to the theory of universal redemption, were bought with His blood. That seems to me a conception a thousand times more repulsive than any of those consequences which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of special and particular redemption. To think that my Savior died for men who were or are in hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain. To imagine for a moment that He was the Substitute for all the sons of men, and that God, having first punished the Substitute, afterwards punished the sinners themselves, seems to conflict with all my ideas of divine justice. That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of all men, and that afterwards some of those very men should be punished for the sins for which Christ had already atoned, appears to me to be the most monstrous iniquity that could ever have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, to the goddess of the Thugs, or to the most diabolical heathen deities. God forbid that we should ever think thus of Jehovah, the just and wise and good!

http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/articles/full.asp?id=1|3|402

Steve said...

Hi Charlie. First, thanks for reading and commenting.

I know what you mean when you say I'm not a Calvinist. One could quibble about "what is a Calvinist" and "do you hold to the London Confession," etc. If you follow the link to the Calvin and Calvinism blog, which is in the main post above, you will find lots of material that challenges your conception of "what is a Calvinist."

But I'm really more concerned with fidelity to the scriptures than otherwise; and besides, I believe I'm following Calvin. It is Calvin, believe it or not, who convinced me to give up my strict particularism.

Now lest you get the wrong idea, I do not reject particular atonement. I just think there is both a universal and a particular intention in the atonement.

As for the quotations from the LBC, I admit that one or two parts there give me some trouble. If one must be faithful to the strictest interpretation (meaning the high/hyper interpretation) of every jot and tittle of the LBC in order to be a Reformed Baptist, then I suppose I'm not one. You can take that up with my pastor. But I can in good faith say that I hold to it. Specifically, the LBC refers, in the parts you question me on, to God's particular intention in the atonement, which I agree with.

But there is a universal intention in the atonement as well, which is taught in the Bible if not the LBC. You might look at the historical material regarding the Westminster divines in the Calvin and Calvinism blog I mentioned above. Besides, you should know that it is standard among reformed theologians to admit that there are universal benefits from the atonement ... check out Hodge, Dabney, and Shedd, ... or even Roger Nicole, who admits as much in the article I'm critiquing.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Thanks for your response, Steve. However, you're deliberately equivocating as far as I'm concerned. Do you or do you not reject the Canons of Dordt? Clearly all Reformed Baptists do accept the Canons of Dordt. If you reject particular atonement as defined in the Canons of Dordt, then you're some other kind of Baptist and not a "Reformed" Baptist.

Secondly, the Canons of Dordt are biblical and therefore authoritative insomuch as they adhere to Scripture. If your position is Amyraldian, then you should call yourself an Amyraldian rather than trying to deceive Reformed folks into thinking that you are what you are not.

Thirdly, it is disingenuous to appeal to the idea that Hodge and other Reformed scholars saw the benefits of common grace as a benefit of the atonement. That in now way, however, means that the atonement is universal. Rather, the atonement is particular and only the elect receive particular grace. To say that Christ died for the reprobate while they are in hell is illogical as Spurgeon said.

I have read Calvin's commentaries and Calvin never teaches universal atonement in the Institutes or in the Commentaries. Rather, the implication of Calvin's theology can only be particular atonement, which is why there was a controversy with the Remonstrandts in the first place. If Calvin did not teach particular atonement, why would the Reformed churches bother defending that view?

No, it is tendentious and begging the question to try to misread Calvin or any other Reformed scholar into saying that the atonement is general. The atonement is efficacious precisely because it is applied to the elect only and only the elect are actually saved. Any "theoretical" redemption through an atonement that is powerless and ineffectual to save is a moot point and a useless argument.

If you're going to reject the particular atonement, you might as well go the whole nine yards and join the Arminians. Heck, why not become an open theist?

Charlie

David said...

Hey Charlie,

I dont know what Steve can say to your comments. You dont leave a lot of room to respond.

All I could suggest is that you take a look at the following:

Classic and Moderate Forms of “Calvinism” Documented Thus Far

Take a stab and read some of the men posted there.

Richard Muller on Non-Amyraldian Precedents to Hypothetical Universalism

As to Dort, Dort does not condemn Amyraldianism. It condemns Arminianism. Perhaps you could point Steve to the critical line in Dort which you believe refutes him?

Have a good day,
David

Charlie J. Ray said...

He can't say anything to what I said because he isn't a Calvinist. He is an Amyraldian. It is dishonest to call oneself a Calvinist when the fact is that Calvinists hold to the Canons of Dordt. Calvin did not teach a universal atonement and anyone who says so is just plain lying.

While you might try to prove that Calvin didn't teach particular atonement, that is a completely different issue. Basically, you are arguing from silence. Furthermore, if you wish to take the Amyraldian position and you believe that is what Calvin taught, then you should say so openly instead of lying to people and claiming to be a "Calvinist" as if pre-empting the traditional and classical understanding of Calvinism lends credence to your position.

Your position is no better than that of an Anglo-Catholic who claims to be a Protestant or "Reformed." In fact, your claim to be "Calvinist" is a out and out lie.

Calvinism and Calvinists are 5 pointers as history shows.

David said...

Hey Charlie

Well its clear that you are not interested in discussion. For the record and for the reader, I will, after all, adduce Calvin for reading here:

However, St. Paul speaks here expressly of the saints and the faithful, but this does not imply that we should not pray generally for all men. For wretched unbelievers and the ignorant have a great need to be pleaded for with God; behold them on the way to perdition. If we saw a beast at the point of perishing, we would have pity on it. And what shall we do when we see souls in peril, which are so precious before God, as he has shown in that he has ransomed them with the blood of his own Son? If we see then a poor soul going thus to perdition, ought we not to be moved with compassion and kindness, and should we not desire God to apply the remedy. John Calvin, Sermons on Ephesians, Sermon 47, 6:18-19, pp., 684-5.


And that speaks not only to those who are charged with the responsibility of teaching God’s word, but to everyone in general. For on this point the Holy Spirit, who must be our guide, is not disparaging the right way to teach. If we wish to serve our Master, that is the way we must go about it. We must make every effort to draw everybody to the knowledge of the gospel. For when we see people going to hell who have been created in the image of God and redeemed by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, that must indeed stir us to do our duty and instruct them and treat them with all gentleness and kindness as we try to bear fruit this way.

But still Stephen had a special reason. He. was speaking to the Jews, who professed to be God’s people. ‘That then has to do with the ‘brothers’ Stephen was talking about at the outset. ‘That is the relationship we now have with the papists, although they differ from us. ‘They confess that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world and then destroy his power while still retaining some sign of the gospel. They confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that what the Evangelists wrote about him must be adhered to as God’s truth, even though they do not believe it. So if we have that in common with the papists, there is some appearance of brotherhood. John Calvin, Sermons on Acts 1-7, Sermon 41, Acts 7:51, pp., 587-588.

Now Charlie, if you deny that what it looks like Calvin is saying here is not what Calvin is saying here, nothing can be done. But, if you admit that it may be that Calvin is saying what it looks like he is saying, then perhaps you might want to go and read the whole file.

Thanks Steve for your time.

Have a good day, Charlie.

David

Seth McBee said...

Charlie.
Great points...:)

You are like a third grader on the playground saying "nuh uh"

How about you show from proof how Steve and David are wrong, instead of calling them liars.

I hope this isn't how you handle the Scriptures. But, keep name calling it is very helpful in the discussion.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I don't deny what Calvin said. I deny that what you are implying he said is correct. I know of no Reformed theologian who would deny that Calvin acknowledged a general call to all mankind. However, to say that Calvin taught a general atonement overlooks what Calvin had to say about election in the passages dealing with the general call:

Not willing that any should perish. So wonderful is his love towards mankind, that he would have them all to be saved, and is of his own self prepared to bestow salvation on the lost. But the order is to be noticed, that God is ready to receive all to repentance, so that none may perish; for in these words the way and manner of obtaining salvation is pointed out. Every one of us, therefore, who is desirous of salvation, must learn to enter in by this way.

But it may be asked, If God wishes none to perish, why is it that so many do perish? To this my answer is, that no mention is here made of the hidden purpose of God, according to which the reprobate are doomed to their own ruin, but only of his will as made known to us in the gospel. For God there stretches forth his hand without a difference to all, but lays hold only of those, to lead them to himself, whom he has chosen before the foundation of the world. 179179 A similar view was taken by Estius, Piscator, and Beza. — Ed.
But as the verb χωρὢσαι is often taken passively by the Greeks, no less suitable to this passage is the verb which I have put in the margin, that God would have all, who had been before wandering and scattered, to be gathered or come together to repentance.
Commentary on 2 Peter 3:9 http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom45.vii.iv.iii.html

And 1 Timothy 2:4

4 Who wishes that all men may be saved. Here follows a confirmation of the second argument; and what is more reasonable than that all our prayers should be in conformity with this decree of God?

And may come to the acknowledgment of the truth. Lastly, he demonstrates that God has at heart the salvation of all, because he invites all to the acknowledgment of his truth. This belongs to that kind of argument in which the cause is proved from the effect; for, if

“the gospel is the power of God for salvation to every one that believeth,” (Romans 1:16,)

it is certain that all those to whom the gospel is addressed are invited to the hope of eternal life. In short, as the calling is a proof of the secret election, so they whom God makes partakers of his gospel are admitted by him to possess salvation; because the gospel reveals to us the righteousness of God, which is a sure entrance into life.

Hence we see the childish folly of those who represent this passage to be opposed to predestination. “If God” say they, “wishes all men indiscriminately to be saved, it is false that some are predestined by his eternal purpose to salvation, and others to perdition.” They might have had some ground for saying this, if Paul were speaking here about individual men; although even then we should not have wanted the means of replying to their argument; for, although the will of God ought not to be judged from his secret decrees, when he reveals them to us by outward signs, yet it does not therefore follow that he has not determined with himself what he intends to do as to every individual man.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom43.iii.iv.i.html

Hence, your quote does not prove that Calvin taught universal redemption at all since Calvin CLEARLY says that God does NOT will for every individual to be saved: "although the will of God ought not to be judged from his secret decrees, when he reveals them to us by outward signs, yet it does not therefore follow that he has not determined with himself what he intends to do as to every individual man."

Your view fails to distinguish between God's secret decree to election and God's outward call to salvation. Your quote: "And what shall we do when we see souls in peril, which are so precious before God, as he has shown in that he has ransomed them with the blood of his own Son?" Can therefore ONLY be understood with election in mind. So when we preach to all, only the elect will be effectually called and it is thus ONLY the elect who are "ransomed with the blood of his own Son."

And how are the reprobate "precious before God" when He has clearly decreed them to reprobation? What logical or Scriptural sense does that make?

Again Calvin says, "But I say nothing on that subject, because it has nothing to do with this passage; for the Apostle simply means, that there is no people and no rank in the world that is excluded from salvation; because God wishes that the gospel should be proclaimed to all without exception. Now the preaching of the gospel gives life; and hence he justly concludes that God invites all equally to partake salvation. But the present discourse relates to classes of men, and not to individual persons; for his sole object is, to include in this number princes and foreign nations." http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom43.iii.iv.i.html

If we take your quote about the ransom of all men at face value, reading Calvin in context, we would also have to conclude that Calvin did not believe in the doctrine of predestination and election, which is obviously FALSE.

Your quotes from Calvin's sermons are not only out of context but are tendentious and beg the question. However, since I don't have access to Calvin's sermons I would be more than happy to read those two sermons in their entirety if you would be so kind as to send them to me. Unless and until then I can only judge on the basis of what is available online and NOTHING I have seen there would refute particular redemption unless you come to the material with an agenda.

The Canons of Dordt pretty much bear this out. I hardly think the Reformed theologians of the day misunderstood Calvin. The Remonstrandts were debating supra and infra lapsarianism which led them to deny Calvinism. The Amyraldian position is just another misreading of Reformed theology.

Charlie J. Ray said...

You're like a 3rd grader pulling a few quotes from Calvin out of context. It is obvious in the quotations that Calvin is speaking about the elect. From the revealed will of God we are to preach a general call of salvation to all for we do not know who are elect. Thus, Calvin's comment about God's concern for sinners is directed to the elect. How can the reprobate be "precious" to God since He has predetermined to damn them? And they do not receive any benefits of redemption. While the atonement is sufficient for the whole world, this can only mean individuals who are elect in the whole world. Otherwise, your view is Arminian. I suppose you're going to deny predestination and particular election as well as denying particular atonement? As if Calvin were an Arminian? Good grief!

Seth McBee said...

Charlie.

Great argument:

It is obvious that Calvin is speaking about the elect

Good understanding of the overall context of Calvin. You should keep using that kind of argument, it really serves everyone well.

Let me ask you, do you preach or teach?

Just wondering. Because if you do, you probably understand that if you ever say, "it is obvious" then you aren't really pulling out exegesis, but you have no reasoning exegetically, only eisegetically, so you have to state that it is obvious so you can move on.

It really isn't that easy, even though it looks like you wish it were.

Steve said...

LOL ... I would close this thread and ban Charlie from my blog. But I love the length of the comment thread. So ... keep it going, Charlie! I will answer your points next Monday (if you have any by then). Until then ... fill up my blog! :-)

Just explain (explain away, rather) this quote from Calvin's Commentary on Ephesians 5:18: "He makes this favor common to all, because it is propounded to all, and not because it is in reality extended to all; for though Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and is offered through God’s benignity indiscriminately to all, yet all do not receive him."

Seth McBee said...

Steve.

That was a different John Calvin from Geneva

:)

Charlie J. Ray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie J. Ray said...

Calvin's commentary on Acts 7:51 clearly shows that your out of context quote from the sermon on that same passage cannot mean what you say it means:

"Ye have always resisted. At the first Stephen vouchsafed to call these men fathers and brethren, against whom he inveigheth thus sharply, Therefore, so long as there remained any hope that they might be made more gentle, he dealt not only friendly with them, but he spake honorably unto them. Now, so soon as he espieth their desperate stubbornness, he doth not only take from them all honor, but lest he should have any fellowship with them, he speaketh unto them as unto men of another kindred. You, saith he, are like to your fathers, who have always rebelled against the Spirit of God. But he himself came of the same fathers; and yet that he may couple himself to Christ, he forgetteth his kindred, inasmuch as it was wicked. And yet for all this, he bindeth them not all in one bundle, as they say, but he speaketh unto the multitude."

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom36.xiv.xi.html

Now if these men are so precious and so worthy of salvation, why does Calvin say that Stephen now rebukes them as possible reprobates??? Only the elect are "precious" to God. The rest are reprobates and worthy of God's justice. Clearly Calvin is making a distinction between the elect and the reprobate in this passage!

Your own quote from the sermon says as much: "St. Paul speaks here expressly of the saints and the faithful," and thus we don't know who is elect but we pray for all men. Calvin knows that we do not know God's secret will but only His revealed will and thus he remarks, "should we not desire God to apply the remedy." Is God's "remedy" applied to all men???? NO!!! And let me ask you a question at this point? HOW could Christ DIE FOR PRECIOUS SINNERS AND FOR WHOM THERE IS NO REMEDY THEN APPLIED???? What is the point of Christ providing the remedy and then NOT applying it???

Are you really so naive that you would think a man as brilliant as Calvin didn't get this???

Charlie

David said...

Charlie says:
I don't deny what Calvin said. I deny that what you are implying he said is correct. I know of no Reformed theologian who would deny that Calvin acknowledged a general call to all mankind. However, to say that Calvin taught a general atonement overlooks what Calvin had to say about election in the passages dealing with the general call:

David says: But look again, Calvin says these unbelievers need to be 1) prayed for, 2) evangelised, because they are 1) Created in the Image of God and 2) Redeemed by Christ. As much as they are image bearers, they are redeemed. There are others like that in the Calvin file.


Charlie cites Calvin:
Not willing that any should perish. So wonderful is his love towards mankind, that he would have them all to be saved, and is of his own self prepared to bestow salvation on the lost. But the order is to be noticed, that God is ready to receive all to repentance, so that none may perish; for in these words the way and manner of obtaining salvation is pointed out. Every one of us, therefore, who is desirous of salvation, must learn to enter in by this way.


David: But he says nothing about them being redeemed. He makes no mention here of how the gospel call somehow explains how it is that they are redeemed?


Charlie: But it may be asked, If God wishes none to perish, why is it that so many do perish? To this my answer is, that no mention is here made of the hidden purpose of God, according to which the reprobate are doomed to their own ruin, but only of his will as made known to us in the gospel. For God there stretches forth his hand without a difference to all, but lays hold only of those, to lead them to himself, whom he has chosen before the foundation of the world.

David: Calvin is clear, unbelievers are to be prayed for, and evangelized because they have been redeemed. Please explain how Calvin could say that?

Charlie: 179179 A similar view was taken by Estius, Piscator, and Beza. — Ed.

David: I pass over the editor's footnote.

David: edit:

Charlie citing Calvin:

Hence we see the childish folly of those who represent this passage to be opposed to predestination. “If God” say they, “wishes all men indiscriminately to be saved, it is false that some are predestined by his eternal purpose to salvation, and others to perdition.” They might have had some ground for saying this, if Paul were speaking here about individual men; although even then we should not have wanted the means of replying to their argument; for, although the will of God ought not to be judged from his secret decrees, when he reveals them to us by outward signs, yet it does not therefore follow that he has not determined with himself what he intends to do as to every individual man.


David: There are two issues here, two layers. There is the layer that you think, so it appears, that predestination precludes unlimited redemption, and then there is the layer of what Calvin actually thought. From what Calvin actually said, there are some predestined to life, which he set out side by side with a doctrine of unlimited redemption. You think, so it seems, that by citing Calvin affirming predestination (and reprobation?) this somehow proves that he did not believe in unlimited redemption. We are saying you are wrong. The evidence is all there.

Charlie: Hence, your quote does not prove that Calvin taught universal redemption at all since Calvin CLEARLY says that God does NOT will for every individual to be saved: "although the will of God ought not to be judged from his secret decrees, when he reveals them to us by outward signs, yet it does not therefore follow that he has not determined with himself what he intends to do as to every individual man."


David: exactly my point. The proof is in the file. Read it and you will see.

Charlie: Your view fails to distinguish between God's secret decree to election and God's outward call to salvation. Your quote: "And what shall we do when we see souls in peril, which are so precious before God, as he has shown in that he has ransomed them with the blood of his own Son?" Can therefore ONLY be understood with election in mind. So when we preach to all, only the elect will be effectually called and it is thus ONLY the elect who are "ransomed with the blood of his own Son."

And how are the reprobate "precious before God" when He has clearly decreed them to reprobation? What logical or Scriptural sense does that make?

[bold David's]

David: What I think is beside the point. Calvin did think that the reprobate, as men are loved with a divine fatherly love. See here: Calvin on General Love

David: Again, Calvin sets out a logic, we are to pray and to evangelize all men because 1) they are image bearers, and 2) they have been redeemed. There are many others like this, Charlie.


Charlie: Again Calvin says, "But I say nothing on that subject, because it has nothing to do with this passage; for the Apostle simply means, that there is no people and no rank in the world that is excluded from salvation; because God wishes that the gospel should be proclaimed to all without exception. Now the preaching of the gospel gives life; and hence he justly concludes that God invites all equally to partake salvation. But the present discourse relates to classes of men, and not to individual persons; for his sole object is, to include in this number princes and foreign nations." http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom43.iii.iv.i.html


David: Again, there is nothing in his comments there that speaks to unlimited redemption.


Charlie says: If we take your quote about the ransom of all men at face value, reading Calvin in context, we would also have to conclude that Calvin did not believe in the doctrine of predestination and election, which is obviously FALSE.

David: thats called a false entailment fallacy. If he denied A, he would have had to deny B. Well why should that follow? Calvin believed in both.


Charlie: Your quotes from Calvin's sermons are not only out of context but are tendentious and beg the question. However, since I don't have access to Calvin's sermons I would be more than happy to read those two sermons in their entirety if you would be so kind as to send them to me. Unless and until then I can only judge on the basis of what is available online and NOTHING I have seen there would refute particular redemption unless you come to the material with an agenda.


David: Show me where they beg the question? So far you have asserted that you believe Calvin could not have held to both predestination and unlimited redemption. You have not established this. If we take the parallel we will see the problem underlined. For Calvin, God not only reprobated some men, and yet says God loves the reprobate with a fatherly love. Calvin:

But this passage ought to be understood otherwise; namely, that nothing is more unworthy than that God should be accused of tyrannizing over men, when he rather defends them, as being his own workmanship. When, therefore, God pronounces that all souls are his own, he does not merely claim sovereignty and power, but he rather shows that he is affected with fatherly love towards the whole human race since he created and formed it; for, if a workman loves his work because he recognizes in it the fruits of his industry, so, when God has manifested his power and goodness in the formation of men, he must certainly embrace them with affection. True, indeed, we are abominable in God’s sight, through being corrupted by original sin, as it is elsewhere said, (Psalm 14:1, 2;) but inasmuch as we are men, we must be dear to God, and our salvation must be precious in his sight. We now see what kind of refutation this is: all souls are mine, says he: I have formed all, and am the creator of all, and so I am affected with fatherly love towards all, and they shall rather feel my clemency, from the least to the greatest, than experience too much rigor and severity. Calvin, Ezekiel 18:1-4.

David: Do you have a problem with this doctrine from Calvin?



Charlie: The Canons of Dordt pretty much bear this out. I hardly think the Reformed theologians of the day misunderstood Calvin. The Remonstrandts were debating supra and infra lapsarianism which led them to deny Calvinism. The Amyraldian position is just another misreading of Reformed theology.


David: Well can you show me the critical line from Dort which you think refutes our reading of Calvin?

Thanks for positing an argument. The problem is you have a gap between what you think is precluded by the doctrine of Predestination to the argument that Calvin also thought it was precluded by the said doctrine? Can you do that?

On the other side, we have a lot of Calvin's friends and contemporaries affirming both, Musculus, Bullinger, Vermigli, Luther, et al.

David

Charlie J. Ray said...

Seth, your favorite book is The Potter's Freedom? This speaks volumes about your position.

Seth McBee said...

I like most of the book, my profile is old and so I probably should change that...although I did enjoy it.

Charlie J. Ray said...

What part of general call do you not understand? Offered to all? All do not receive Him? You guys are freakin' idiots.

It's a wonder anyone pays you any attention at all. Other than Arminians, that is. Most Arminians are pushed to the Open Theism view because they realize that Armininianism is logically inconsistent with God's omnipotence and omniscience.

Likewise, Amyraldianism is logically inconsistent and unbiblical.

Charlie J. Ray said...

It really is that easy. The 5 points of Calvinism are airtight and each point flows logically and naturally from the others. Deny total depravity and the others fall. Deny particular redemption and the doctrine of unconditional election falls.

Why don't you at least be consistent? Move to the Arminian or Open Theism side of things.

Seth McBee said...

Charlie.

Wow. Showing some serious grace in your words and love for your brothers in Christ.

You should really debate people..you would be really good at it.

Because the argument that people are idiots really wins people to your side. So, I am guessing next you will say we aren't saved? Go ahead...let's hear it. You teach us since you were cum laude...

Still laughing

Charlie J. Ray said...

The fact is no matter how many answers are given to prove that the historical and classical view of Calvin's theology is correct you will not accept it because your minds are made up and only God Himself can intervene in such spiritual darkness and inability.

Seth McBee said...

Spiritual darkness?

:)

Oh boy.

What else do you have for us oh great one?

What other great words of encouragement do you have?

You should really be a preacher, you would be good at shepherding people...snicker snicker...

Just because you keep saying that something is true doesn't make it so. You should really do some reading, it would serve you well.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience and sacrifice of Himself which He, through the eternal Spirit, once offered up to God, has fully satisfied the justice of God, has procured reconciliation, and has purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of Heaven for all those whom the Father has given to Him.

London Baptist Confession of Faith
Of Christ the Mediator
8.5

Seth McBee said...

Charlie.

Post their thoughts on Baptism...I bet that lines up with Calvin too...right?

Seth McBee said...

Plus...Charlie...that doesn't say anything against what we believe...soooo...notice it only says what Christ did for the elect...never speaks of the fact of whether Christ did any of that for the reprobate...so, your argument, if it was one, is terrible.

Charlie J. Ray said...

David said: "David says: But look again, Calvin says these unbelievers need to be 1) prayed for, 2) evangelised, because they are 1) Created in the Image of God and 2) Redeemed by Christ. As much as they are image bearers, they are redeemed. There are others like that in the Calvin file."

Wow, didn't you know that the human race is composed of both the elect AND the reprobate? Thus, the doctrine of the general call is that they are ALL to be evangelized. But only those who respond and believe have redemption applied to them. And only the elect are predestined to election, redemption, regeneration and effectual call. You seem to be making an Arminian argument now. You don't even believe in unconditional election.

Refusing to read Calvin's comment in the context of unconditional election, as his comments on 1 Tim 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 demonstrate, only shows that you're disingenuous and insincere.

If you're truly a 4 pointer, you would at least acknowledge unconditional election in those passages, which is something you apparently refuse to do because it might put a ding in your argument.

Seth McBee said...

Charlie...

Good job...now you make no sense at all.

But just keep calling names...I think you are winning the debate by doing it.

I like how you say we now don't believe in unconditional election...what is next...that we don't believe in God?

Waiting with bated breath.

Charlie J. Ray said...

"David: Calvin is clear, unbelievers are to be prayed for, and evangelized because they have been redeemed. Please explain how Calvin could say that?"

The easiest explanation is the distinction between God's secret will (election) and God's revealed will (general call). ONLY the elect will be effectually called. Again, any Reformed person knows the answer to that question. If you would just read Calvin at face value you would know that he is talking about election!

Calvin on 2 Peter 3:9
"Not willing that any should perish. So wonderful is his love towards mankind, that he would have them all to be saved, and is of his own self prepared to bestow salvation on the lost. But the order is to be noticed, that God is ready to receive all to repentance, so that none may perish; for in these words the way and manner of obtaining salvation is pointed out. Every one of us, therefore, who is desirous of salvation, must learn to enter in by this way.

But it may be asked, If God wishes none to perish, why is it that so many do perish? To this my answer is, that no mention is here made of the hidden purpose of God, according to which the reprobate are doomed to their own ruin, but only of his will as made known to us in the gospel. For God there stretches forth his hand without a difference to all, but lays hold only of those, to lead them to himself, whom he has chosen before the foundation of the world." http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom45.vii.iv.iii.html

Steve said...

Your "freakin' idiot" accusation cuts to the quick. It really does.

sniff, sniff :'(

Steve said...

By the way, Charlie ... you complain that we will not see the truth, no matter how many "answers" are given to our objections.

Truth is, you have not demonstrated enough clear thought (not to mention Christian virtue) to warrant an answer. Don't complain of "no answer" until you have thought enough to understand a percentage point or two of the issues in dispute.

Charlie J. Ray said...

"David: There are two issues here, two layers. There is the layer that you think, so it appears, that predestination precludes unlimited redemption, and then there is the layer of what Calvin actually thought. From what Calvin actually said, there are some predestined to life, which he set out side by side with a doctrine of unlimited redemption. You think, so it seems, that by citing Calvin affirming predestination (and reprobation?) this somehow proves that he did not believe in unlimited redemption. We are saying you are wrong. The evidence is all there."

We do not know who the elect are. So if we preach to all as if they are elect and have been redeemed, that in no way entails that ALL actually ARE redeemed. I am saying that you have an agenda and you are deliberately misreading Calvin because of your agenda. It is more rational to take it as a reference to the elect who are redeemed. Even if we allowed for your view, a so-called universal atonement is not applied to the reprobate. Thus, it is no atonement at all for the reprobate. Essentially, your argument for universal redemption is a confusion between God's general call and God's effectual call. The general call treats all men the same and the effectual call is only for the elect. Thus, that we proclaim the cross to all in no way entails that all have been redeemed! It is merely assuming that ANYONE in the whole world MIGHT be saved since WE do not know whom God has elected. It is more rational and fits with the total ordo salutis this way rather than to read Amyraldianism and universal atonement back into what Calvin said when he in fact said no such thing.

In Calvin's comment on John 11:52 he says, "52. And not for that nation only. The Evangelist means that the reconciliation effected by Christ is also extended to the Gentiles. But how comes it that they who, in consequence of being wretchedly scattered and wandering, became the enemies of God, are here called the children of God? I answer, as has been already said, God had in his breast children, who in themselves were wandering and lost sheep, or rather who were the farthest possible from being sheep, but, on the contrary, were wolves and wild beasts. It is therefore by election that he reckons as the children of God, even before they are called, those who at length begin to be manifested by faith both to themselves and to others."

And in verse 51 he clearly says that Christ died that nation and for the gentiles scattered abroad:

"That Jesus would die. First, the Evangelist shows that the whole of our salvation consists in this, that Christ should assemble us into one; for in this way he reconciles us to the Father, in whom is the fountain of life, (Psalm 36:9.) Hence, also, we infer, that the human race is scattered and estranged from God, until the children of God are assembled under Christ their Head. Thus, the communion of saints is a preparation for eternal life, because all whom Christ does not gather to the Father remain in death, as we shall see again under the seventeenth chapter. For the same reason Paul also teaches that Christ was sent, in order

that he might gather together all things which are in heaven and in earth,
(Ephesians 1:10.)

Wherefore, that we may enjoy the salvation brought by Christ, discord must be removed, and we must be made one with God and with angels, and among ourselves. The cause and pledge of this unity was the death of Christ, by which he drew all things to himself; but we are daily gathered by the Gospel into the fold of Christ."


Christ will assemble the elect into one communion and Christ died for that one communion. The cause and pledge for that unity is the death of Christ and this pledge is for God's elect, not for every single individual. Calvin says this many times over in his commentaries dealing with election.

While you may refuse to see particular atonement because of your agenda, the passages you quote in way prove the Amyraldian position but in fact refutes it.

Christ came "to save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21). Why would Christ die for the reprobate if they are not His people and if He will not save them from their sins?

David said...

Steve,

Not only are you an Amyraldian, you are a freakin' Amyraldian!

Cry in your corn flakes now.

:-)

David

Charlie J. Ray said...

I can assure you that I can read and understand Calvin. And NOT one of your quotes even remotely proves the Amyraldian view is the one taken by Calvin. You're reading Amyraldianism into the text.

Calvin's doctrine of election and the general call taken together are more than enough to explain your alleged "prooftexts" for universal atonement. The fact that Amyraldianism is such a minority view is proof enough of this.

Mostly, the Protestant world is composed of Reformed, Lutheran, or Arminian views. And I might mention that both Arminianism and Amyraldianism are late comers.

Furthermore, Amyraldianism was unheard of until after the Arminian heresy came along. No, Calvin wasn't an Amyraldian, no matter how much you might wish it were true.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I don't particularly care what you believe. What I object to is your claim to be a Calvinist. This is just a dishonest attempt to lend credibility to your position. By definition you are an Amyraldian. Thus, you should say that you believe Calvin was an Amyraldian. But calling yourself a Calvinist is just a lie meant to deceive those who are less informed.

You haven't proved your case either. Every prooftext you have offered is better explained by the general call and by particular redemption/election. Your attacks on particular redemption are the same attacks used by Arminians to deny unconditional election. The distinction between the general Gospel call to all men and the effectual call of the elect is there to draw the elect from among them. Thus, the doctrine of particular atonement is established since Christ died for the church, for His people, and for those elect scattered throughout the whole world. God wishes to save the elect from among every class, nation, and tribe.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Calvin's commentary on 1 John 2:2 is the clincher, really. Calvin says:

"2 And not for ours only He added this for the sake of amplifying, in order that the faithful might be assured that the expiation made by Christ, extends to all who by faith embrace the gospel.

Here a question may be raised, how have the sins of the whole world been expiated? I pass by the dotages of the fanatics, who under this pretense extend salvation to all the reprobate, and therefore to Satan himself. Such a monstrous thing deserves no refutation. They who seek to avoid this absurdity, have said that Christ 63
suffered sufficiently for the whole world, but efficiently only for the elect. This solution has commonly prevailed in the schools. Though then I allow that what has been said is true, yet I deny that it is suitable to this passage; for the design of John was no other than to make this benefit common to the whole Church. Then under the word all or whole, he does not include the reprobate, but designates those who should believe as well as those who were then scattered through various parts of the world. For then is really made evident, as it is meet, the grace of Christ, when it is declared to be the only true salvation of the world."


63 “It seems to me that the Apostle is to be understood as speaking only of all those who believe, whether Jews or Gentiles, over the whole world.” — Doddridge. — Ed.

The propitiation/atonement is then ONLY for those who believe around the whole world. This is Calvin. Take it or leave it. Thus, if we understand your misquote from the sermons on Ephesians and Acts in light of Calvin's comment here, then we can see that Calvin in essence agrees with the school that teaches redemption is sufficient for all the elect in the whole and in fact applied only to those who believe.

David said...

And that speaks not only to those who are charged with the responsibility of teaching God’s word, but to everyone in general. For on this point the Holy Spirit, who must be our guide, is not disparaging the right way to teach. If we wish to serve our Master, that is the way we must go about it. We must make every effort to draw everybody to the knowledge of the gospel. For when we see people going to hell who have been created in the image of God and redeemed by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, that must indeed stir us to do our duty and instruct them and treat them with all gentleness and kindness as we try to bear fruit this way.

John Calvin, Sermons on Acts 1-7, Sermon 41, Acts 7:51, pp., 587-588.

I will try this one more time.

No one could seriously propose that because we do not know who the elect and non-elect are, that we would question their status as image-bearers. We would not need to merely assume it. We would have no reason to doubt it. Our lack of knowledge has no bearing on truth of the matter that everybody is an image-bearer. So likewise, says Calvin, should we doubt their redemptive status. Calvin extends both image-bearing and redemption to everybody: as image-bearing is a concrete reality, so is their redemption. And these two ideas form the objective reason why we should evangelize.

Looked at from another way, there are no grounds here for thinking that Calvin meant to say that of the generality of unbelievers we are to assume that they are redeemed, because we do not know who the elect and non-elect. We know this is unreasonable as much as we know he is not also suggesting that because we do not know who among the generality of unbelievers are elect or non-elect that we should just assume they are created in God's image.

The problem is, there are lots of like statements from Calvin. Like this:

Hence it ought to be observed, that whenever the Church is afflicted, the example of the Prophet ought to move us to be touched (sumpatheia) with compassion, if we are not harder than iron; for we are altogether unworthy of being reckoned in the number of the children of God, and added to the holy Church, if we do not dedicate ourselves, and all that we have, to the Church, in such a manner that we are not separate from it in any respect. Thus, when in the present day the Church is afflicted by so many and so various calamities, and innumerable souls are perishing, which Christ redeemed with his own blood, we must be barbarous and savage if we are not touched with any grief. And especially the ministers of the word ought to be moved by this feeling of grief, because, being appointed to keep watch and to look at a distance, they ought also to groan when they perceive the tokens of approaching ruin. John Calvin, Isaiah 22:4.

That is the last from me.

David

Charlie J. Ray said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlie J. Ray said...

Romans 5:10

"10. This is an explanation of the former verse, amplified by introducing a comparison between life and death. We were enemies, he says, when Christ interposed for the purpose of propitiating the Father: through this reconciliation we are now friends; since this was effected by his death; much more influential and efficacious will be his life. 162 We hence have ample proofs to strengthen our hearts with confidence respecting our salvation. By saying that we were reconciled to God by the death of Christ, he means, that it was the sacrifice of expiation, by which God was pacified towards the world, as I have showed in the fourth chapter.

But the Apostle seems here to be inconsistent with himself; for if the death of Christ was a pledge of the divine love towards us, it follows that we were already acceptable to him; but he says now, that we were enemies. To this answer, that as God hates sin, we are also hated by him his far as we are sinners; but as in his secret counsel he chooses us into the body of Christ, he ceases to hate us: but restoration to favor is unknown to us, until we attain it by faith. Hence with regard to us, we are always enemies, until the death of Christ interposes in order to propitiate God. And this twofold aspect of things ought to be noticed; for we do not know the gratuitous mercy of God otherwise than as it appears from this — that he spared not his only-begotten Son; for he loved us at a time when there was discord between him and us: nor can we sufficiently understand the benefit brought to us by the death of Christ, except this be the beginning of our reconciliation with God, that we are persuaded that it is by the expiation that has been made, that he, who was before justly angry with us, is now propitious to us. Since then our reception into favor is ascribed to the death of Christ, the meaning is, that guilt is thereby taken away, to which we should be otherwise exposed."
Calvin's Commentary on Romans 5:10.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/calvin/cc38/cc38008.htm

So I ask you one more time, if God is propitious towards the elect PRIOR to our conversion, then HOW can Calvin say this:

"it is by the expiation that has been made, that he, who was before justly angry with us, is now propitious to us." and have it refer to all men in general BOTH elect AND reprobate???? Answer: He DOES NOT. WHY? The answer is obvious, God is NOT propitious toward the reprobate because they remain guilty before God and God is NEVER propitious toward them at ANY time. If we follow your logic, then we would have to conclude that God is propitious toward the reprobate because they are redeemed. Such is NOT the case. Romans 5 is clearly written to believers, NOT unbelievers. So your view is not only condemned by Scripture but also by Calvin himself! Anyone who is familiar with Scripture can see this.

David said...

hey Charlie,

Nothing in what you add here speaks to the redemption as taught by Calvin. You have a few questions there that depend upon your framework, not necessarily Calvin's. We know from Calvin's contemporaries that unconditional election was never seen as incompatible with unlimited redemption. You can easily see this in Luther, Zwingli, Musculus and Bullinger. This shows that at this time, the two doctrines were never seen as in opposition. You can go back as far as Augustine and Prosper on this.

On the question on God being propitious to all men, try this:
“That whosoever believeth on him may not perish…” And he has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the import of the term World, which he formerly used; for though nothing will be found in the world that is worthy of the favor of God, yet he shows himself to be reconciled [Latin, propitium: propitious, merciful, favourable] to the whole world, when he invites all men without exception to the faith of Christ, which is nothing else than an entrance into life, Calvin, John 3:16.

Also check out his comments on 2 Peter 2:1 and Jude 4.

Go here: the sins of the many, scroll down until you get to that sub-header.

So far, all you have Charlie are arguments that amount to the fact that because you think the two doctrines are mutually exclusive, Calvin must have thought likewise.

And to all your other questions, all I can say is, go and spend some time reading Calvin. Then spend some more time reading Musculus, Calvin's friend and mentor.

Once you properly appreciate that Calvin said what he did in fact say, then one can begin to ask what did he mean, etc.

The documentation is clear enough.

David

Charlie J. Ray said...

Calvin on Acts 20:28
"Which he hath purchased. The four reasons, whereby Paul doth carefully prick forward the pastors to do their duty diligently, because the Lord hath given no small pledge of his love toward the Church in shedding his own blood for it. Whereby it appeareth how precious it is to him; and surely there is nothing which ought more vehemently to urge pastors to do their duty joyfully, than if they consider that the price of the blood of Christ is committed to them. For hereupon it followeth, that unless they take pains in the Church, the lost souls are not only imputed to them, but they be also guilty of sacrilege, because they have profaned the holy blood of the Son of God, and have made the redemption gotten by him to be of none effect, so much as in them lieth. And this is a most cruel offense, if, through our sluggishness, the death of Christ do not only become vile or base, but the fruit thereof be also abolished and perish; and it is said that God hath purchased the Church, to the end we may know that he would have it remain wholly to himself, because it is meet and right that he possess those whom he hath redeemed.

Notwithstanding, we must also remember, that all mankind are the bond-slaves of Satan until Christ set us free from his tyranny, gathering us into the inheritance of his Father."

Christ purchased the church with His own blood. And the church is presumed to be constituted of the elect, except for those who go out from us. There is nothing here that would suggest that those who are not true believers are "redeemed."

Charlie J. Ray said...

Once you understand that Calvin said what he said in the context of election, then you will repent of your misreading of Calvin as teaching universal atonement. The clearest rebuttal to this is 1 John 2:2.

Secondly, it is a red herring to appeal to the Lutherans and the Swiss Reformation to refute Calvin's doctrine of particular atonement. I haven't read enough of Zwingi or Bullinger to know their view of the atonement, though it is obvious the Lutherans were adherents of universal atonement. However, even if all the Protestants you mention adhered to universal atonement it would not entail that Calvin accepted that view. Clearly, the works as a whole refute that position.

Charlie J. Ray said...

OK, another bluff on your part. Bullinger was one of the authors of the Second Helvetic Confession, which clearly says that Christ redeemed and reconciled only believers:

"THE FRUIT OF CHRIST'S DEATH AND RESURRECTION. Further by his passion and death and everything which he did and endured for our sake by his coming in the flesh, our Lord reconciled all the faithful to the heavenly Father, made expiation for sins, disarmed death, overcame damnation and hell, and by his resurrection from the dead brought again and restored life and immortality. For he is our righteousness, life and resurrection, in a word, the fulness and perfection of all the faithful, salvation and all sufficiency. For the apostle says: "In him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell," and, "You have come to fulness of life in him" (Col., chs. 1 and 2)."

Your spin is getting ridiculous. Bullinger could not have written that if he adhered to univeral atonement. Looks like your assertion is questionable. I'll have to check on Zwingli as well.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Zwingli also teaches particular atonement in his 67 articles, article 18:

"Christ, who offered himself one-time on the cross, is the sacrifice and victim making eternal satisfaction for the sins of all the faithful. From this it follows the Mass is not a sacrifice, but a remembrance of the one-time sacrifice offered on the cross and, as it were, a seal of the redemption which Christ produced (effected)."

http://www.lgmarshall.org/Creeds/zwingli_articuli.html

Charlie J. Ray said...

If you have decided beforehand how you're going to read Calvin, Zwingli and Bullinger, what can the facts do to change your mind?

Clearly, the quotes you gave me are better understood to be speaking of the general call and not an endorsement of universal atonement. The "world" in Reformed theology almost never means every single individual but rather the elect who are in the world. Until the elect are converted they are perishing and on their way to hell like the rest of mankind.

David said...

Charlie,

You are just embarrassing yourself.

Bullinger on Unlimited Expiation and Unlimited Redemption

Zwingli on the Unlimited Expiation and Unlimited Redemption

Wolfgang Musculus on the Redemption of Mankind

David

David said...

Re: Zwingli,

We all agree that Christ died for the faithful. Believe it or not, I am sure that Zwingli did as well. :-)

And of course, by "faithful" we would not infer 'only the faithful,' because that would exclude gobs us unbelieving elect. That as a an obvious given, Zwingli is not saying Christ only died for the elect.

You would have a stronger case if you could show that Zwingli, and Calvin, held that Christ only died for the elect (or some valid cognate term).

David

Charlie J. Ray said...

I rejoice in embarassing myself along with such other imminent Reformed scholars as the two Hodges, Berkhof, Bavinck, Owens, RC Sproul, John Frame, Reymond, Grudem, Piper, Hoeksema, Kyper, et. al.

:) Face it. Yours is a minority view held only by a few. The reason being it cannot be proved. Especially in light of the body of works of Calvin and Bullinger and Zwingli. Sorry, but your agenda has blinded you to the facts.

It is you who is embarassing himself. The mountain of evidence is overwhelming. You're being deluged by a tsunami of gigantic proportions yet you refuse to repent of your dishonesty.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Ok, David. I'm changing my mind. You are correct. Not only did Calvin, Bullinger, and Zwingli teach universal atonement, but the Canons of Dordt teach universal atonement, too:

"Article 3: The Infinite Value of Christ's Death

This death of God's Son is the only and entirely complete sacrifice and satisfaction for sins; it is of infinite value and worth, more than sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world.

Article 4: Reasons for This Infinite Value

This death is of such great value and worth for the reason that the person who suffered it is--as was necessary to be our Savior--not only a true and perfectly holy man, but also the only begotten Son of God, of the same eternal and infinite essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Another reason is that this death was accompanied by the experience of God's anger and curse, which we by our sins had fully deserved.

Article 5: The Mandate to Proclaim the Gospel to All

Moreover, it is the promise of the gospel that whoever believes in Christ crucified shall not perish but have eternal life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be announced and declared without differentiation or discrimination to all nations and people, to whom God in his good pleasure sends the gospel."

Yes, Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. Read it and weep:)

Steve said...

All I can say is ... I LOVE having a blog post with 50 comments. I feel like a pyromaniac!

Charlie ... I will leave you for now. Figure out how to answer Calvin on Ephesians 5:18 and maybe I'll answer you next Monday. If you have no answer (which I already know you don't and any answer you give will be tendentious, question-begging, and equivocal) I will note your failure on the record.

Steve said...

Sorry ... in the previous comment, I meant Romans 5:18, not Ephesians.

Charlie J. Ray said...

You would have a stronger case if you could demonstrate consistently that your interpretation of your "prooftexts" were the ONLY legitimate interpretation. I have demonstrated several times over that it is NOT the only explanation in fact MY explanation is MORE consistent with Calvin's overall theology, especially in light of his comments on 1 John 2:2, Romans 5, Romans 8, and Romans 9!

The fact that Calvin views the lost as redeemed merely says that he sees all of mankind as being offered redemption and salvation without discrimination. The Canons of Dordt say the same thing. So obviously your misreading of Calvin's comments out of context begs the question.

You can ignore the facts all day long but even the Canons of Dordt read Calvin's comments on evangelism the same way I do. And I wonder why? Surely they were much closer in time and historical and cultural setting to know what Calvin thought on the issue?

Calvin even says pretty much the same thing in 1 John 2:2 where he says that the sacrifice is sufficient for the whole world and efficient only for the elect. Though he says he thinks this is true, he leans more to the view that all who believe are redeemed, meaning only the elect as well, since only the elect will believe.

I noticed that you keep ignoring the passages that refute your view while you keep quoting your out of context comments over and over like a mantra.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Romans 5:17 "The first is, that by Adam’s sin we are not condemned through imputation alone, as though we were punished only for the sin of another; but we suffer his punishment, because we also ourselves are guilty; for as our nature is vitiated in him, it is regarded by God as having committed sin. But through the righteousness of Christ we are restored in a different way to salvation; for it is not said to be accepted for us, because it is in us, but because we possess Christ himself with all his blessings, as given to us through the bountiful kindness of the Father. Hence the gift of righteousness is not a quality with which God endows us, as some absurdly explain it, but a gratuitous imputation of righteousness; for the Apostle plainly declares what he understood by the word grace. The other difference is, that the benefit of Christ does not come to all men, while Adam has involved his whole race in condemnation; and the reason of this is indeed evident; for as the curse we derive from Adam is conveyed to us by nature, it is no wonder that it includes the whole mass; but that we may come to a participation of the grace of Christ, we must be ingrafted in whim by faith. Hence, in order to partake of the miserable inheritance of sin, it is enough for thee to be man, for it dwells in flesh and blood; but in order to enjoy the righteousness of Christ it is necessary for thee to be a believer; for a participation of him is attained only by faith."

>>It is pointless to say that Christ died for all if in fact Calvin clearly says they cannot benefit from such a sacrifice except by faith.

Charlie J. Ray said...

As by the offense of one we were made (constitute) sinners; so the righteousness of Christ is efficacious to justify us. He does not say the righteousness — δικαιοσύνην, but the justification — δικαίωμα, of Christ, in order to remind us that he was not as an individual just for himself, but that the righteousness with which he was endued reached farther, in order that, by conferring this gift, he might enrich the faithful. He makes this favor common to all, because it is propounded to all, and not because it is in reality extended to all; for though Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and is offered through God’s benignity indiscriminately to all, yet all do not receive him.

Calvin is saying the same thing here that the Canons of Dordt say:

"Article 8: The Saving Effectiveness of Christ's Death

For it was the entirely free plan and very gracious will and intention of God the Father that the enlivening and saving effectiveness of his Son's costly death should work itself out in all his chosen ones, in order that he might grant justifying faith to them only and thereby lead them without fail to salvation. In other words, it was God's will that Christ through the blood of the cross (by which he confirmed the new covenant) should effectively redeem from every people, tribe, nation, and language all those and only those who were chosen from eternity to salvation and given to him by the Father; that he should grant them faith (which, like the Holy Spirit's other saving gifts, he acquired for them by his death); that he should cleanse them by his blood from all their sins, both original and actual, whether committed before or after their coming to faith; that he should faithfully preserve them to the very end; and that he should finally present them to himself, a glorious people, without spot or wrinkle."

Just because the atonement is offered to all does not mean that it is in "reality extended to all", as Calvin puts it. It is more natural to see there is no hypothetical atonement. There is only the offer of salvation and favor to all who will believe. Confusing the atonement with the general call is just a misreading of Calvin and the other Reformers.


Again, the Canons of Dordt speak for the Reformed tradition and give the accurate view of Calvin and the other Reformers:

Who teach that God the Father appointed his Son to death on the cross without a fixed and definite plan to save anyone by name, so that the necessity, usefulness, and worth of what Christ's death obtained could have stood intact and altogether perfect, complete and whole, even if the redemption that was obtained had never in actual fact been applied to any individual.

"For this assertion is an insult to the wisdom of God the Father and to the merit of Jesus Christ, and it is contrary to Scripture. For the Savior speaks as follows: I lay down my life for the sheep, and I know them (John 10:15, 27). And Isaiah the prophet says concerning the Savior: When he shall make himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days, and the will of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand (Isa. 53:10). Finally, this undermines the article of the creed in which we confess what we believe concerning the Church."

It is serious to go against what the Reformers and the church had to say without "overwhelming" evidence to the contrary from Scripture AND from the Reformers themselves. Since you have not done so, I can only conclude that you do not think confessions of faith are based in Scripture or binding. Which means you're siding with liberalism and Anabaptists who think creeds and confessions are worthless. Obviously, the Reformers thought otherwise.

David said...

Hey Charlie,

I wont labor this. I will just address a few points. I will address, every so briefly, your Dort claims and one on your "my interpretation is bigger than your interpretation" claim.

Firstly to Dort. I am referring to your comment which starts out with, "Okay David..." The problem is, even Amyraut totally affirmed all that you cite there.

What is more, we can take the words of the English Delegates at Dort, who were co-authors. You are going to have to just accuse the English delegates of either being totally confused or just liars as well. My bet is you will call them liars before you call them fools. :-)


1) Object 4. Christ came to take away the sin of the world; God either did or might have satisfied his wronged justice in the blood of the Covenant for all mankind, and have opened the way of salvation unto every man.

Answer. Christ by shedding his blood redeemed the world of mankind, satisfied God’s justice, and obtained a way of salvation for every man: But God never intended that the outward act should presently put every man in possession of pardon or of a state of justification and salvation. But the way which he opened for everyone of us to partake the fruit of our redemption and of his plenary satisfaction, is by repentance and faith to come and lay hold of the Redeemer. The decrees of Election and Non-election are not obstacles unto the doing of this, or exception against any man which shall do this, and therefore they may stand in their full force though this last consideration of his [that is, the objector] be admitted. John Davenant, Animadversions Written By the Right Reverend Father in God, John, Lord Bishop of Sarisbury, upon a Treatise intitled “God’s love to Mankind,” (London: Printed for Iohn Partridge, 1641), 233. [Some spelling modernized.]

2) The Remonstrants dare not promise salvation unto any persons reprobated, according to their decree founded upon prevision of their final infidelity and impenitency, but under these conditions, si crediderint & paexituerint: We assure them of salvation under the same conditions, notwithstanding the absolute decree of their Non-election. The Remonstrants cannot assign any grace or gracious operation of the Spirit of God which may stand truly with that decree of eternal Reprobation which they admit, and will not stand with that which we admit. It is therefore as true that Christ died for all men according to our doctrine of Predestination and Reprobation as according unto theirs. John Davenant, Animadversions Written By the Right Reverend Father in God, John, Lord Bishop of Sarisbury, upon a Treatise intitled “God’s love to Mankind,” (London: Printed for Iohn Partridge, 1641), 259-260. [Some spelling modernized.]

3) Christ therefore so dyed for all, that all and every one by the meanes of faith might obtaine remission of sins, and eternall life by vertue of that ransome paid once for all mankinde. But Christ so dyed for the elect, that by the merit of his death in speciall manner destinated unto them according to the eternall good pleasure of God, they might infallibly obtaine both faith and eternall life. Source: George Carleton, The Suffrage of the Divines of Great Britaine, Concerning the Five Articles Controverted in the Law Countries, (London: Robert Milbounre, 1629), 47-48.


David: To your next argument by way of Dort. Article 8 is the critical positive statement. We affirm that Christ died so as to effectively redeem, purchase and secure salvation for all the elect, chosen by unconditional election. No Arminian can affirm that. We affirm that Christ died to effectively and infallibly secure the salvation of all the elect.

To the critical negative statement from the rejection of errors: "Who teach: That God the Father has ordained His Son to the death of the cross without a certain and definite decree to save any..." We agree with that.

We totally agree that Christ died by specific plan and appointment to save the elect. We reject any denial of this.

Can you define Ayraldianism for us?

You also cite Dort as saying that the satisfaction is sufficient for the sins of the world. Here is where things will get fun. You will have to say that, that term means all the sins of all the world; else the whole point is defeated, as there would be some sins for which the atonement was not sufficient.

If we take a look at the phrase "sins of the world" we see things like this:

Whenever, therefore, we hear this designation applied to the devil, let us be ashamed of our miserable condition; for, whatever may be the pride of men, they are the slaves of the devil, till they are regenerated by the Spirit of Christ; for under the term world is here included the whole human race. John Calvin, John 14:30.

“But that the world may know.” Some think that these words should be read as closely connected with the words, “Arise, let us go hence,” so as to make the sense complete. Others read the former part of the verse separately, and suppose that it breaks off abruptly. As it makes no great difference in regard to the meaning, I leave it to the reader to give a preference to either of these views. What chiefly deserves our attention is, that the decree of God is here placed in the highest rank; that we may not suppose that Christ was dragged to death by the violence of Satan, in such a manner that anything happened contrary to the purpose of God. It was God who appointed his Son to be the Propitiation, and who determined that the sins of the world should be expiated by his death. In order to accomplish this, he permitted Satan, for a short time, to treat him with scorn; as if he had gained a victory over him. Christ, therefore, does not resist Satan, in order that he may obey the decree of his Father, and may thus offer his obedience as the ransom of our righteousness. John Calvin, John, 14:31.

If we consider of them which do purchase the forgiveness of their sins by the grace of God, there is but a small number of them, even as it is of the elect in respect of the reprobate, whose sins be withhold for evermore. But we seek not here to whom this grace of forgiveness does befall, but rather to whom it is to be taught and set forth. We can not here appoint upon any certain persons, to whom only this forgiveness of sins is to be preached. All men be generally called unto it, both Jews and Greeks, learned and unlearned, wise and foolish, rich and poor, old and young, men and women. For like as God enclosed all under unbelief that he might have mercy upon all, so he will have this grace of his mercy to be set forth to all men: “So God loved the world,” (says our Saviour), “that he gave his only begotten son, that everyone which believes in him should not perish, but have life everlasting.” And in the first epistle of John, we read this: “But in case any man do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just, and he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for the sins also of the whole world. I think that there is meant by the world, all mankind, by which the world does consist, from the beginning of it, until the end. Therefore when it is said, that God gave his son for the world, and that he is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world what else is meant, but that the grace of forgiveness of sins is appointed unto all men, so that the Gospel thereof is to be preached unto all creatures? In this respect the gentle love of GOD towards man is set forth unto us to be considered, whereby he would not have any to perish, but all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. But for all that, this general grace has some conditions going withal, of which we will speak hereafter. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 577-8.

So now we come to the last point, your interpretation is bigger than ours. The plain sense of Calvin's words is clear: we evangelize every man, because every man has been created in God's image and every man has been redeemed. We grant that here Calvin connects the free offer with the universal redemption obtained by Christ in some of these quotations, but that is not say that somehow saying that every image-bearer is redeemed only means that the offer of the gospel is made to them. Thats just incredible.

I also know any Calvin citation we adduce will be explained away. Like this:

On the other hand, when Luke speaks of the priests, he is speaking of the responsibility of those who public office. Principally, they are ordained to bear God’s word. So when some falsehood appears or Satan’s wicked disseminations proliferate, it is their duty to be vigilant, confront the situation, and do everything in their power to protect poor people from being poisoned by false teachings and to keep the souls redeemed by the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ from perishing, from entering into eternal death. John Calvin, Sermons on Acts 1-7, Sermon 9, Acts 4:1-4, p., 112.


I wont continue this. The whole Calvin file is there: Calvin on Unlimited Expiation, Sin-Bearing, Redemption and Reconciliation. Why not read it, and for every example, insert your "interpretation" and see if it makes sense, if it makes Calvin intelligible?

David

Charlie J. Ray said...

You're really grabbing for straws now:) And you didn't answer even one of the posts I made from Calvin's commentaries. Even more telling, you have strangely and completely ignored Calvin's commentary on 1 John 2:2.

Furthermore, you need to read your English commentators more carefully since at least one of them outright affirms that the atonement is only for believers, just as Calvin did:

"3) Christ therefore so dyed for all, that all and every one by the meanes of faith might obtaine remission of sins, and eternall life by vertue of that ransome paid once for all mankinde. But Christ so dyed for the elect, that by the merit of his death in speciall manner destinated unto them according to the eternall good pleasure of God, they might infallibly obtaine both faith and eternall life. Source: George Carleton, The Suffrage of the Divines of Great Britaine, Concerning the Five Articles Controverted in the Law Countries, (London: Robert Milbounre, 1629), 47-48."

All men clearly refers here to all who will believe and ONLY the elect will be given the gift to believe.

I might also mention that your quotes, even if we take them as you have intended wouldn't prove your case. You're prooftexting from secondary sources that are unavailable to me and therefore are for all practical purposes unfalsifiable. I highly suspect that you haven't read the primary sources for these quotes. You're merely pulling them from some secondary source to bolster your case and you're doing an extremely poor job of it. Not to mention that you didn't answer any of the points I made from Calvin himself.

I can only conclude that your case is based solely on secondary sources and prooftexting rather than dealing with the over all theology of Calvin. My explanantion takes into account your quotes AND the ones I gave you. You haven't even dealt with the quotes that imply that Calvin's alleged universal atonement is merely applied to the general call given to all men and out of that mass of men only the redeemed will actually respond.

I'll give you this... You're a good BSer. That's all I've seen on your blog and in your arguments so far. It will convince lay persons and the uninformed and that's about it.

Charlie J. Ray said...

You said, "You also cite Dort as saying that the satisfaction is sufficient for the sins of the world. Here is where things will get fun. You will have to say that, that term means all the sins of all the world; else the whole point is defeated, as there would be some sins for which the atonement was not sufficient."

LOL. You're funny. It is just as I said. You will redefine terms and twist the obvious around to your side no matter how ludicrous it looks.

Of course the atonement is "sufficient" for every single individual in the whole world IF that were God's intention. Obviously, it is NOT God's intention to save every single individual. In fact, if we follow your logic then we would all have to become universalists since Christ never failed to save every single person He intended to save.

Any so-called hypothetical atonement for the reprobate is not only illogical but serves absolutely no purpose at all--other than giving you something to argue about.

Futhermore, the quotes you gave from the English fellow only confirm particular atonement. I can agree with the Arminians that Christ died for the sins of the whole world, i.e. every single elect person from among men in every part of the world and from every nation and race.

Mankind is indeed redeemed. But it is not extended to every single individual as you yourself admit. So what is the purpose of a hypothetical atonement that does not save even one of the reprobate?

Charlie J. Ray said...

"To the critical negative statement from the rejection of errors: "Who teach: That God the Father has ordained His Son to the death of the cross without a certain and definite decree to save any..." We agree with that.

We totally agree that Christ died by specific plan and appointment to save the elect. We reject any denial of this.

Can you define Ayraldianism for us?"

Your view is only a half truth. While you agree that Christ died for the elect, you propose that Christ died with a specific plan to reject the reprobate whom He allegedly died for. Huh?

Even the Arminian view makes more sense than yours. At least they believe that every person is given prevenient grace and has a chance to be saved. So for the Arminians there is at least a real possibility. The Amyraldian view has Christ dying for those who will not have the benefits of the atonement given to them... EVER. Duh!

Charlie J. Ray said...

"As to Dort, Dort does not condemn Amyraldianism. It condemns Arminianism. Perhaps you could point Steve to the critical line in Dort which you believe refutes him?"

The Amyraldian view evolved AFTER Dordt. It was a weak attempt to compromise between the two parties and was a miserable failure.

Although the Amyraldian view is not an out and out heresy, the Canons of Dordt do in fact condemn a universal atonement. Thus, you are a one point heretic.

"Article 8: The Saving Effectiveness of Christ's Death

For it was the entirely free plan and very gracious will and intention of God the Father that the enlivening and saving effectiveness of his Son's costly death should work itself out in all his chosen ones, in order that he might grant justifying faith to them only and thereby lead them without fail to salvation. In other words, it was God's will that Christ through the blood of the cross (by which he confirmed the new covenant) should effectively redeem from every people, tribe, nation, and language all those and only those who were chosen from eternity to salvation and given to him by the Father; that he should grant them faith (which, like the Holy Spirit's other saving gifts, he acquired for them by his death); that he should cleanse them by his blood from all their sins, both original and actual, whether committed before or after their coming to faith; that he should faithfully preserve them to the very end; and that he should finally present them to himself, a glorious people, without spot or wrinkle."

Your view directly contradicts article 8.

"Article 2: The Satisfaction Made by Christ

Since, however, we ourselves cannot give this satisfaction or deliver ourselves from God's anger, God in his boundless mercy has given us as a guarantee his only begotten Son, who was made to be sin and a curse for us, in our place, on the cross, in order that he might give satisfaction for us."

Furthermore, you're saying that Christ satisfied the sins of unrepentant sinners. If their debt is paid, shouldn't they be forgiven? What's the point of satisfying God's wrath if God's wrath is still in effect against them? Again, why purchase bad apples you know you're going to throw out anyway? What a waste of God's precious blood!! Your view is worse than the Arminian view because you say that Christ dies for men whom He has predestined and decreed to reprobation!

Not only is your view illogical and nonsensical, something all wise God would never do, it is clearly NOT the view of ANY of the Reformers PRIOR to the Arminian heresy. Excepting, of course, the Lutherans.

Now there's an idea! Join a Lutheran church! :)

Charlie J. Ray said...

"If we consider of them which do purchase the forgiveness of their sins by the grace of God, there is but a small number of them, even as it is of the elect in respect of the reprobate, whose sins be withhold for evermore. But we seek not here to whom this grace of forgiveness does befall, but rather to whom it is to be taught and set forth. We can not here appoint upon any certain persons, to whom only this forgiveness of sins is to be preached. All men be generally called unto it, both Jews and Greeks, learned and unlearned, wise and foolish, rich and poor, old and young, men and women. For like as God enclosed all under unbelief that he might have mercy upon all, so he will have this grace of his mercy to be set forth to all men: “So God loved the world,” (says our Saviour), “that he gave his only begotten son, that everyone which believes in him should not perish, but have life everlasting.”

This as much as concedes limited atonement. The author is making the distinction between a general call and the effectual call of the elect. So the "whole world" does NOT refer to the actual redemption of every single individual but ONLY of the elect. This is the Calvinist/Reformed position, the position of ALL the Reformed confessions AND of the Canons of Dordt.

Your stubborn refusal to face that face by redefining terms to fit your presuppositions won't change the fact one whit.

Charlie J. Ray said...

"Amyraut claimed that his views were in accordance with the Word of God, the theology of John Calvin and the Canons of Dordt (1618-1619), to which he as a French Reformed minister subscribed. This also was false as his critics, both then and now, have pointed out. Martin I. Klauber states, “The majority of Reformed theologians … rejected his system as the first step towards Arminianism” (“Theological Transition in Geneva,” in Carl R. Trueman and R. S. Clark [eds.], Protestant Scholasticism: Essays in Reassessment [Great Britain: Paternoster, 1999], p. 258, n. 5). The orthodox in the French Reformed Church and outside it called for his discipline but the French synods failed to deal with the problem properly. The slide of his students, his disciples and the French Reformed Church further and further into Arminianism has been well documented."

From:
Amyraldianism and the Formula Consensus Helvetica (1675)
Rev. Angus Stewart

http://www.cprf.co.uk/articles/amyraut.htm

Charlie J. Ray said...

The Formula Consensus Helvetica of 1675 was written against the Amyraldian view and further particularizes the Canons of Dordt so that not only Arminianism, but its illegitimate offspring of Amyrauldianism is also condemned.

"XVI. Since all these things are entirely so, surely we can not approve the contrary doctrine of those who affirm that of His own intention, by His own counsel and that of the Father who sent Him, Christ died for all and each upon the impossible condition, provided they believe; that He obtained for all a salvation, which, nevertheless, is not applied to all, and by His death merited salvation and faith for no one individually and certainly (proprie et actu), but only removed the obstacle of Divine justice, and acquired for the Father the liberty of entering into a new covenant of grace with all men; and finally, they so separate the active and passive righteousness of Christ, as to assert that He claims His active righteousness for himself as His own, but gives and imputes only His passive righteousness to the elect. All these opinions, and all that are like these, are contrary to the plain Scriptures and the glory of Christ, who is Author and Finisher of our faith and salvation; they make His cross of none effect, and under the appearance of augmenting His merit, they really diminish it."

Charlie

http://www.olivetreelibrary.com/cyclopedia/index.php?title=Formula_Consensus_Helvetica_%28text%29

Charlie J. Ray said...

While the Formula Consensus of Helvetica is not a general synod, it does expressly condemn your views as an Amyraldian.

It behooves you to identify yourself as an Amyraldian rather than a Calvinist because it is most certain that you are opposed to the Reformed confessions, the Canons of Dordt, and the Consensus of Helvetica.

Charlie

Martin said...

Charlie,

Can I ask a question?

Just setting aside for a moment the question of who’s right and who’s wrong here it seems that what is being proposed is causing you some consternation, anger almost. Why is that the case? What I mean is, just suppose for a moment that they are right, so what? Does that then mean your faith would be worthless? Would it rob you of your hope in Jesus Christ, or your identity? Is it another gospel which is no gospel at all? Surely the answer to all these questions is no? Furthermore, God is sovereign and these are spiritual truths. Ultimately therefore the outcome of this discussion is up to God. So, why does it seem to bother you so much?

Grace and peace,
Martin

Martin said...

This discussion is quite lengthy and it would take some time to understand the details but I think it would help to step back a bit. At the heart of the discussion seems to be a determined disagreement over the interpretation of certain writers. I suggest parking the interpretation issue briefly to first consider a couple of questions which might just help. Before that, though, it would help if we could at least reach consensus as to what the fundamental issues are.

It seems to me that there are two points of debate here:
1. Whether David and Steve’s doctrine of the atonement and implicitly therefore their interpretation of Calvin and others is part of the Reformed tradition, and
2. Whether their interpretation of Calvin and others is correct.

Logically all options are valid, that is, both, none or either option could be true. Obviously David, et al, contend that both are true and Charlie that both are false. Is that a fair summary so far?

Obviously the two are linked. But one concern I have here, looking at this discussion from the sidelines, is that there is clearly a risk of circular logic since it all comes down to the same question of interpretation, i.e. the interpretation is correct/incorrect therefore the Reformers must/couldn’t have meant that, therefore the interpretation is correct/incorrect. It can sometimes be hard to spot when this is going on in our thinking, particularly, if our beliefs are cherished and long-held. So first, there must be a call to all to examine their arguments carefully.

Certainly it appears that one of Charlie’s arguments for why his interpretation is correct is that the other’s interpretation is out of line with the Reformed tradition. In other words, they are in a very small minority and have some big names against them. Now I hope we can all agree that that argument isn’t by itself conclusive. Obviously there is no guarantee that the majority view is always the correct one (argumentum ad populum) even though, statistically, it may be more likely. What complicates things further here, of course, is that part of David and the others’ argument is that there isn’t anywhere near as big a majority as Charlie might think which, if true, would serve to further undermine the value of an appeal to numbers. But, of course, that just takes us right back to the interpretation issue! Anyway, my first point is that an appeal to numbers clearly doesn’t help here.

Now, given the gridlock over how to interpret what the various writers have said and the concern already mentioned over circular reasoning it seems to me that it might help to see if the discussion of point 1 can be moved forward without trying to resolve the interpretation argument of point 2. In other words, can it be established whether or not point 1 is true without getting sucked into point 2?

Tied in with Charlie’s appeal to numbers is, of course, an appeal to authority (argumentum ad verecundiam according to Wikipedia) and this gives rise to an interesting thought, viz. is there any authority we could look to on this very interpretation issue? I don’t mean in the sense of here is what such-and-such a Scholar thinks that Calvin means in this particular quote as that would take forever. I mean that at the core of this debate is surely a question as to whether or not there has only been one line of interpretation within the Reformed tradition? Whether or not David and the others are following a particular stream within the overall reformed tradition (albeit what may have been a ‘narrower’ one), or have they been smoking some wacky baccy or something and made it all up themselves? Well, we know they would go for the first of those two options and Charlie the second but surely a very quick way to test the credibility of their claim is to ask: has any recognised authority who is on the opposing side at least admitted that the two streams exist, even though they strongly disagree with their interpretation? Now surely the answer to that question would carry some weight in this discussion? I mean if there is not even one Reformed scholar who recognises that there have been other interpretations, even though they disagree with them, then that would start to make the wacky baccy option look likely but if, on the other hand, there was at least one recognised reformed, historical scholar who said that “there is this other stream of interpretation within the reformed tradition, I don’t agree with it, but it is there”, then that would surely mean that Charlie would have to revisit his historical claims much more carefully. Obviously he’d still be free to disagree but he’d have to admit at least that their claims aren’t so wacky after all, right? I think this would be a useful step because it would at least help rule out the possibility of people’s interpretation at point 2 being driven by their a priori beliefs in point 1. So I suggest answering this before further discussion on the interpretation issue.

Make sense? Seem fair?

Grace and peace,
Martin

Charlie J. Ray said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlie J. Ray said...

I forgot to mention that your question is an absurd one. Of course Reformed scholars will admit that the Amyraldian reading of Calvin is a "possible" one. Even "I" admit that. However, that in no way means that the Amyraldian view is the most likely one or even remotely likely.

Second of all, calling oneself a Calvinist when one is in total disagreement with Calvinism is the very height of hypocrisy. What they should do is say that Calvin was an Amyraldian and call themselves Amyraldians.

The Arminians at Dordt used that same tactic. They claimed to be Reformed while posting 5 points of disagreement with the Reformed confessions. This is precisely why there was so much controversy and why the Reformed churches were forced to deal with the issue.

Likewise, the Formula Consensus Helvetica in 1675 was formulated by a lesser synod because Amyraldians were claiming to be "Reformed" while introducing doctrinal innovations that were totally inconsistent with Calvinism.

First of all, it goes beyond a hypothetical universal atonement. Amyraldianism also questions the doctrine of total depravity and the doctrine of election. They also postulate a hypothetic universal election and that total depravity is not total since man has a natural ability to choose to accept or reject Jesus Christ. However, because of sin they remain unable to choose Christ. Thus, God has 2 wills. A revealed will to save all and a secret will to save only the few who are specially elected. Thus, God has 2 decrees of election: a universal and general election and a special election. God redeems the reprobates and elects them and gives them a genuine offer of salvation. Only God does not give them the gift of faith or the benefits of the blood of Christ. Thus, it remains only a "hypothetical" salvation and not a real salvation. So the Amyraldian view is in disgreement with more than just one point of Calvinism, but in actuality, it is in disagreement with at least 3 points.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Well, I might add that my explanations of the "apparently" Amyraldian quotes from Calvin are better explained as a general call given to the mass of mankind, whereby the elect are then effectually called from among them. However, Calvin specifically contradicts their view that God loves all men when he clearly says that God does NOT love those who are reprobate:

2 And not for ours only He added this for the sake of amplifying, in order that the faithful might be assured that the expiation made by Christ, extends to all who by faith embrace the gospel.

Here a question may be raised, how have the sins of the whole world been expiated? I pass by the dotages of the fanatics, who under this pretense extend salvation to all the reprobate, and therefore to Satan himself. Such a monstrous thing deserves no refutation. They who seek to avoid this absurdity, have said that Christ suffered sufficiently for the whole world, but efficiently only for the elect. This solution has commonly prevailed in the schools. Though then I allow that what has been said is true, yet I deny that it is suitable to this passage; for the design of John was no other than to make this benefit common to the whole Church. Then under the word all or whole, he does not include the reprobate, but designates those who should believe as well as those who were then scattered through various parts of the world. For then is really made evident, as it is meet, the grace of Christ, when it is declared to be the only true salvation of the world."

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom45.v.iii.i.html

Clearly, God cannot and does not love the reprobate nor did Christ die for them. Rather, Calvin is saying that the propitiation is available for the elect who will come to believe.

Furthermore, 1 John is written to and for believers, not unbelievers. It is to assure them that God will indeed call the elect from all over the world.

Soli gloria Deo!

Charlie

Steve said...

As they said in the old ad ... sorry Charlie. If you think your behavior has earned you the right to post links (without permission), then you have an odd view of what is acceptable social behavior.

Plus, the name of your blog is too ironic.

If you can't behave better, I'll turn on moderation and start filtering your comments.

Charlie J. Ray said...

It really shows that you fear the truth when you resort to censorship to keep my side of the argument at bay. It only shows that your argument is unable to withstand criticism or to be tested.

Soli gloria Deo!

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve said...

I don't fear you, Charlie ... it's just too appalling for you to post links to your blog when you've behaved in the manner you have.

Try somewhere else.

Charlie J. Ray said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlie J. Ray said...

Yes, you fear me. The reason is that the Reformed churches, including the Reformed Baptist churches are confessional. That is, they have confessions of faith that contradict your position and they utilize those confessions because they believe the confessions accurately summarize what they believe are binding doctrines which are derived from a careful study of the Scriptures.

The London Baptist Confession of Faith is practically the same as the Westminster Confession of Faith with minor changes in ecclesiology and a more Zwinglian view of the sacraments. Both confessions expressly teach 1) particular election (not two elections, general and particular); 2) Limited atonement applied only to the elect.

So, to say that you adhere to the London Baptist Confession of Faith is untrue and therefore dishonest. Yes, you could be correct that all the Reformed churches and their confessions are wrong and that they all misunderstood Calvin, Zwingli, Bullinger, etc. But that would still require that you acknowledge that you are not in agreement with the London Baptist Confession of Faith. What you're actually say is that the LBCF is wrong on its doctrine of election and on the doctrine of particular atonement. One needs only to read Charles Spurgeon to understand that the LBCF and Spurgeon himself advocated particular election and particular atonement.

These are facts which are irrefutable no matter how you might understand Calvin's writings. It is also irrefutable that both the Canons of Dordt and the Formula Consensus Helvetica condemn both Arminianism and Amyraldianism. So either you are right and all the Reformed Confession are wrong... or the Reformed confessions and the Reformed churches are correct and you are wrong.

As for me I will go with the confessions and creeds until someone can prove otherwise.

Sola Scriptura! Solus Christus! Sola Gratia! Sola Fide! Sola Gloria Deo!

Ecclesia Semper Reformanda!

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Your position goes well beyond what Charles Hodge says in his Systematic theology about the benefits of the atonement applied to common grace. Even if we accepted that view, it would still not be accurate to confuse what Hodge said with the Amyraldian view which holds that Christ died for the reprobate. Calvin expressly denies that doctrine in his comment on 1 John 2:2.

If you have genuine integrity, you should resign from your position as a deacon in your church and refrain from serving in any teaching position whatsoever. My quote from Spurgeon is proof enough that you are not in agreement with the Reformed Baptist position or the London Baptist Confession of Faith.

I would be more than happy to discuss this with your pastor if you were willing to give me his e-mail and or phone number.

I doubt that will happen, however, since you seem determined to continue the charade.

Soli Gloria Deo!

Steve said...

Right ... give my pastor a kook from the internet to deal with. Uhhh ... have another think.

He knows my position; we have agreed to disagree; and he still lets me preach for him. I've preached this to my church ... they haven't kicked me out. Thank God for sensible, gracious people who are willing to tolerate the truth when they hear it and not be swayed by whackos from the extreme nut-wing of Calvinism.

I'll deal with whatever "points" you may have made in your week-long tirade this weekend.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The truth is establish by the Canons of Dordt and the Formula Consensus Helvetica. If your church still allows you to preach universal atonement, then it is not a Reformed Baptist church, it is some other kind of Baptist church.

Church discipline is the mark of a true church, along with true doctrine. Your doctrine is not true.

This is a waste of time. It's obvious you are not going to repent of your deception so I will dust off my feet.

May God have mercy...

Steve said...

Who didn't see the "dust my feet" coming? Anyone?

The self-righteous "prophet" covers his ignorance (and practical atheism) with a fog of bombast. But ... this is typical of hyper-calvinism ... and unfortunately of some who are not quite hyper.

Steve said...

Well ... I said I was going to answer him. And I had a few paragraphs written out. But to answer him is simply to wallow in the mire with him. I'll let the blog be the answer.

Romans 5:18, Charlie ... you don't know what to say about it. :-)

Steve said...

P.S. I must amend what I said in the blog post about "only academics." I was wrong.