Thursday, December 4, 2008

For He Who Sanctifies And Those Who Have Been Sanctified Are One

With the brouhaha over false allegations of heresy hurled at James White came the false claim that Calvin did not teach a limited atonement. Though this might seem a declension from the study of the subject of the atonement in Hebrews, it is not really. In John Calvin's sermon The Call to Witness there are three things to take note of: 1. That there is a definite purchase of an inheritance and the blood of Christ is not shed in vain as David Allen would have us believe. 2. That the object of that purchase has been perfected from before the beginning of time. 3. That the preaching of election is not to be neglected, for it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

5 comments:

Gordan said...

"Calvin didn't teach Calvinism"

Thus goes one of the standard declarations of the uninformed, or worse, the disingenuous.

To which the obvious answers are numerous:

1. He ministered a couple of generations before the TULIP acrostic was formulated, so the fact that he never preached the TULIP is an anachronism, and does not begin to touch on the issue of whether or not the TULIP blooms organically from what he taught.

2. And even if he didn't teach "Calvinism," most of us respond, "So what?" I have never met a Calvinist who is one because they want to follow brother John's teaching. I have, on the other hand, met people who affirmed all five points of the TULIP because of their reading of the Scripture, and then only later found out that the whole enchilada is referred to as Calvinism. So that, even if Calvin never elucidated the topic of Limited or Particular Atonement, the more important question for us is whether the Bible does.

3. You don't have to read through all the volumes of the Institutes to see that Calvin really did teach these things. Google the French Confession of 1559. Calvin was its principle, if not sole, author, and its "Calvinism" is quite plain and clear.

kelly jack said...

So Spurgeon did'nt believe in Limited Atonement and now Calvin himself, Who's next?

Strong Tower said...

Gordan,

I was one of those who came to appreciate and embrace the doctrines of grace before I knew who John Calvin was. I read the Institutes after the embrace. In fact most of the doctrinal reading that I have done was afterwards. I have to admit that I was sullied by Reformed preaching and teaching via WHI, Issues Etc., and other radio programs that I was listening too. And it is a good thing.

My daughter who was entering the highschool years was pressing me for answers about how God knows future events and our "fee-will". When my ears were opened up to what I was teaching, I realized that it was a form of Open theism. From that point forward I applied myself to listen more carefully to those radio programs. My interest being piqued, I started to buy and do research in books that were mentioned.

Part of my testimony, but it is telling. Calvin didn't enter my sphere of understanding until after I was a Calvinist.

kelly jack said...

Strong Tower,
My experience was similar in that i did not read anything from Calvin untill probably a year or more later. My early reading was lots of Sproul,spurgeon,Pink, just to name a few.

Billy Birch said...

From a quasi-outsider's point of view, it is shocking to me how many young Calvinists have never read Calvin. Oh, they've heard of Piper ~ nearly worship the man ~ but Calvin, yeah, he's some guy in the sixteenth century who sort of founded the system (though Augustine got the ball rolling).

When I eventually rejected Calvinism and later embraced Classical Arminianism, I went straight to the source himself, in the "Works of Arminius." I figured, if I'm to faithfully embrace a system, I should probably read the man's work. Funny . . .

I just bought a new copy of the "Institutes" this past week, published by Hendrickson, a nice hardback edition, put together very well. Though I've heard some suggest that Calvin was not as "Calvinistic" as modern Calvinists, from the little I've read, I do find it hard to believe that he neither taught nor believed in Limited Atonement.

If those men at the J316 conf. are to pursue scholarship (though I believe Dr. Keathley from my own campus, SEBTS, does so), they really need to do some honest homework. Representing your opponent well is a mark of integrity and godliness.

God bless,

Billy