WHY SERIOUS DOCTRINE AND SOME #IFB PASTORS AND EVANGELISTS JUST DON'T SEEM TO MIX
My reply to the vicious charges above quickly stated:
1) It is noticeable that there are no references are given to substantiate the claims. It seems that the Lord's Anointed and the Man of God has spoken and therefore references are not needed. That might work in the shallows where they paddle their feet, but not in the outside world. (I'll take the risk of two she bears coming out of the wood and devouring me for this statement). The reality is that there can be no supporting references. If the argument is pursued that the limitation of 140 characters on Twitter do not allow for references, I reply then that Twitter was either the wrong vehicle to lay such a charge, or the assailant ought to have used a programme such as Twitlonger. You just can't invoke the names of God and Satan without following it all up.
2) As seen in my tweeted answer (to which, as yet, there has been no reply) Calvinism teaches that only the unrepentant and unbelieving [sinner] go to Hell. No one else. Let me here follow this up (as a courtesy to you the reader) with some accessible references.
Calvin wrote: "As, however, he had a little before adjudged such persons to destruction, (2 Corinthians 4:3) he now adds that they perish, for no other reason than that they have drawn down ruin upon themselves, as the effect of their own unbelief. (Commentary on 2 Corinthians 4:4)"
Again, Calvin observed: "Here Peter intimates that all who receive not Christ as revealed in the Gospel, are adversaries to God, and resist his word, and also that Christ is to none for destruction, but to those who, through headstrong wickedness and obstinacy, rush against the word of God. And this is especially what deserves to be noticed, lest our fault should be imputed to Christ; for, as he has been given to us as a foundation, it is as it were an accidental thing that he becomes a rock of offense. In short, his proper office is to prepare us for a spiritual temple to God; but it is the fault of men that they stumble at him, even because unbelief leads men to contend with God. Hence Peter, in order to set forth the character of the conflict, said that they were the unbelieving." (1 Peter 2:8)
(I encourage the reader to read on, then circle back again and discover many more references of a similar nature found here.)
3) Calvin (or Calvinism) goes no further than any one else in damning only the stubborn wicked. God decreed (or decided before hand if the word "decree" frightens you) that only the unrepentant and unbelieving would be lost. This is the belief of historic Calvinism and historic Fundamentalism. (I cannot speak for the modern stuff purporting to be Fundamentalism). Whatever God states, God had always planned to say. God doesn't think on the hoof. When He planned to make salvation conditional upon faith and repentance on the sinner's part, He did so knowing full well that many souls would deliberately spurn the offer of salvation. He could tell the Pharisees beforehand that they would die in their sins (John 8:21) - not because He was pretty savvy at guessing or working on a haunch that just happened to be right - but because He knew with 100% knowledge.
When God predicated man's eternal happiness on the obedience of Adam in the Garden, again He knew certainly that Adam would fall and plunge the whole world into an estate of sin and misery, and consequently many would ultimately be lost in Hell because they rejected the gospel. God did not have to bring this scenario into play. He could have avoided this and kept the tempter out of the Garden of Eden. A whole world could have been created with billions of untempted people and not one of them lost in Hell. But this did not happen. Why God did what He did with full knowledge of the outcome lies buried deep in the just purposes of God. I refuse to play fast and loose with theology - the reason why this post is being written providing a sufficient warning - I just know that whatever God does is in line with all His glorious attributes and is ultimately for His own glory.
When the full plan of God is played out, the Judge of all the earth will be seen to have done right. No innocents will be damned. There will be no miscarriages of justice. Only the guilty will be punished and no one else.
Some will be lost without hearing the gospel of grace even once. Forget the rhetoric and answer: Is this not so? Every last hamlet or town does not have a gospel preaching church of any description. Never mind the 16 adjective Baptist kind. So I repeat myself here: Some will be lost without hearing the gospel of grace even once. Why then are they lost? Because of personal sin.
Others will be lost from the pews of gospel preaching churches. Men went to Hell in the very presence of the Christ Himself preaching. The cause of their condemnation is given in Scripture. It is not ascribed to God. Calvinism does not ascribe it to God. Calvinism rightly and Scripturally ascribes it to the sin of the sinner. Again, let me quote Calvin (and encourage you to check it out in the various Reformed Confessions that basically agree with his wise insights):
"Accordingly, we should contemplate the evident cause of condemnation in the corrupt nature of humanity — which is closer to us — rather than seek a hidden and utterly incomprehensible cause in God’s predestination." (Inst 3:23:7)
"You shall find throughout all my books, how I have taught, that we must not seek our perdition anywhere else than in ourselves and in our perverse will." (An answer to a libel against Predestination - adjoined to Sermons on Election & Predestination - p312)
Calvin wrote things in the above referenced books that (at first blush) seem to have gone too far. There are probably Calvinists who swallow hard, but Calvin doesn't lend himself to superficial reading. Nor should we wrench out individual statements and let them stand naked and alone. He very plainly clears the decree of God of any charges of being the cause of any man's ruin and puts it solely on the sinner.
4) Calvinism believes in the free offer of the gospel. The history of Calvinism is one of missionary endeavour and evangelism. The "big names" (although they would disown such an title) in historical evangelism are largely (although not exclusively) Calvinist. We believe in preaching the gospel to each and every creature and urging sinners to come to Christ. Again, I am overwhelmed by many adequate quotes to substantiate my claims even from Calvin alone.
"It is no small consolation to godly teachers that, although the larger part of the world does not listen to Christ, He has His sheep whom He knows and by whom He is also known. They must do their utmost to bring the whole world into Christ's fold, but when they do not succeed as they would wish, they must be satisfied with the single thought that those who are sheep will be collected together by their work." (Comment on John 10:27)5) Whether there be more in Heaven than in Hell is not solely a Calvinist matter. It affects all schools, except the Universalist one who ultimately has God letting everyone into Heaven.
6) Lastly, if getting into doctrine isn't your thing, then do what I (also) do when Satan and Calvinism get married in the same sentence - look and see if those who make the charge ever favourably quote any Calvinists. After all, why would you favourably quote someone who believes the above charge? Dr Monte and Mr Smith (and many others) won't let you down with frequent and favourable quotes from 5 point Calvinists like Spurgeon and John Newton etc. Just doesn't add up does it?Why would you favourably quote someone who passionately believed and preached a doctrine which (according to you) can hardly distinguish between God and Satan?
So that's it for another while. Possibly I might have the opportunity to say more through the comments page. Once I sign off here, it's time for a quick cup of coffee and then out to the Roman Catholic town of Emyvale in Co. Monaghan for some door to door evangelism. If that surprises you, then maybe you should have gone to another Bible College or listened better at the one you did attend ;o) #Chill...