Ignorance on fire.

I recently read the following excerpt from a book written by a man who claims to be a “former Calvinist.” My experience has been that those who claim to be “former Calvinists” never understood our doctrinal position in the first place. This is what he wrote:

Realize that a Calvinist and Non-Calvinist do not share the same meaning of words. This is true even though probably neither one of them realizes they do not share meaning. Remember, Calvinism is merely the invoking of associative meaning, not real meaning. By “not real” I mean that the meaning is destroyed in the overall thought of the clause or sentence. For, of course, at one level the Calvinist understands the general meaning of words. But when he strings them together in such a way that it forms an idea that is false, then at another level he overthrows the meaning of such words.* For example, when a Calvinist uses the term ‘God’ in defending the absolute sovereignty of God, he is making nonsense statements. This is what I used to do as a Calvinist. I liken these non-sense statements, or propositions, to the riding of a rocking horse. As a Calvinist rider, I would throw my weight forward toward my belief in the absolute sovereignty of God until I could go no further, whereupon I would recoil backwards toward my belief in human freedom. Thus I would go back and forth in seesaw motion, lest on the one hand I find myself accusing God of insufficient sovereignty, or on the other hand find myself accusing God of authoring sin. All the while, there remained an illusion of movement towards truth, when in fact there was no real movement at all. At length I would allow the springs of dialectical tension to rest the rocking horse in the center, and then I would declare as harmonious propositions which, in fact, were totally contradictory to each other. Calvinist riders still ride out this scenario.

He is quite right in his assertion that, often at least, Calvinists and Non-Calvinists do not share the same meanings of words. This is why I insist on a definition of terms before engaging in debate over some point of theology. It is an absolute waste of time to engage in debate when the two parties in the debate are using terms differently. The point at which I disagree with him is when he accuses Calvinists of stringing words together to form a false idea. Have you ever noticed these guys never provide citations from those with whom they disagree? One would think they would at least make an effort at substantiating their scurrilous lies. Of course, then everyone would know their charges are baseless.

I found his rocking horse analogy interesting. Can you imagine a theologian sitting astride a rocking horse, vacillating between the doctrine of Christ true and full humanity and his full and true deity, then deciding he must reject one or the other of these revealed truths because he could not logically reconcile them in his partially sanctified and finite mind? What a recipe for heresy. Imagine what would happen if we rejected everything in Scripture that we could not fully understand.

The truth is, a real Calvinist would have understood that God, in his absolute sovereignty, does not need to cause to occur everything he has decreed. For example, God clearly decreed Jesus’ crucifixion, but he did not cause any of the parties in that heinous act to perform as they did. They all acted freely, volitionally and culpably. The truths of divine sovereignty and human freedom [please note I did not say “free will” since that is another issue altogether] are often found side by side in the same verse of Scripture. E.g, ” this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23). One need not rock back and forth trying to decide which of these truths he will embrace. He must embrace them both since they are both revealed in God´s Word.

This man, in his ignorance, can now boldly state he no longer believes what he never understood in the first place. It is a crying shame ignorance isn´t painful.


3 Responses to “Ignorance on fire.”

  1. December 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

    I’ve found the ‘symptoms’ of anti-Calvinism described above rather common in those who are more concerned about disproving what they don’t really understand rather than advocating for the plain text of scripture. It’s really very sad.

    • December 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      Brother Dan,

      That has been my experience as well. I have practically begged some of these people to tell me how they understand some of the many predestinarian biblical passages, but, to date, no one has taken me up on the challenge. The usual M.O. is simply to ignore passages that don’t fit their preconceived ideas. Sad indeed.

      Sent from my iPad

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