Tuesday, 31 December 2013



 In my opinion (documented here) David Cloud does not excel himself on the Calvinism issue.  While he readily (and thankfully) acknowledges that there are a number of things he likes about Calvinism, he tends to go into some kind of theological mist when he decides to go on the attack. 

 “Of course, you  would say that!” is perhaps the reaction of some readers to this observation of mine. Yes – but even the non Calvinists would have to agree with me on this one when we turn to Cloud’s latest offering on his Way of Life site.

Cloud teaches the usual non Calvinist stuff that we owe our election to our faith. I reject this position, seeing my faith as the gracious fruit of His election. I believed through grace. I was justified by faith and in the golden chain of Romans 8:28-29 the Bible places justification in the purposes of God after I, as an individual, was foreknown, predestined and called. If Cloud wants to mess up God’s order, then that is his business. I am happy to follow Paul here. On this matter, Evangelical Christians have disagreed, so this is not the issue. At least not at this time.

Cloud then makes a bit of noise about the whosoever will part of the gospel and takes it to mean everyone. Calvinists, generally, don’t have a problem with insisting that whosoever means everyone without exception. Certainly, John Calvin didn’t. Neither do I, nor (I suspect) the majority of Calvinists. This is Cloud making an issue where there is no issue. IMO, he would be better adding this “Whosoever” matter to the things he likes about Calvinism as linked above.

Where I think Cloud loses the plot BIG TIME as far as basic Christianity (Calvinist and non Calvinist alike) is concerned is in the following statement. Check it in the original article for context etc. He says: 

 "God is  not playing games with sinners. He is not offering eternal life to all, but only giving it to the 'elect.'" 

Eh? At this point, it matters nothing whether we are Conditional Election or Unconditional Election Christians. We both hold that "the elect" will ultimately prove to be the believer in Jesus. A soul who lives and dies without faith in Jesus Christ, according to both camps, is lost and goes to Hell. He is not the recipient of eternal life because he did not exercise faith in Jesus Christ and therefore the wrath of God abides upon him (John 3:18-19/3:36) This is basic Evangelical theology. Yet look at what Cloud has gone into print with. As the words stand, in their immediate and simplest sense, God does not only give eternal life to the elect i.e. to the believer. IOW: He gives it to a group wider than the believer.

Cloud has probably been clumsy in his language here.  If I were tasked with defending him, I would point to many other places in his voluminous writings where he affirms the damnation of the unbelieving. Mischief making is not my scene. But here, he trips over his own feet. 

The main thrust of Cloud's article centres round a simple question: 

Can any man be saved?

Apparently a Calvinist friend of his declined to answer with a simple affirmative  but "wanted to go into an intricate theological explanation." I have commented before on Cloud's "Granny test" so an "intricate theological explanation" need not conjure up thoughts of deep, mysterious doctrine. I suggest, in the absence of Cloud actually telling us what this was, that the good man  was merely putting the provisos that the Bible itself puts on salvation. For example, let me ask you the following questions and see how you get on.

01) Can a man who wants to hold on to the sin of fornication be saved?
02) Can a man who wants to hold on to the sin of idolatry be saved?
03) Can a man who wants to hold on to the sin of adultery be saved?
04) Can a man who wants to hold on to the sin of effeminacy be saved? 
05) Can a man who wants to hold on to the sin of being an abuser of himself with mankind be saved? 
06) Can a man who wants to hold on to the sin of thieving be saved? 
07) Can a man who wants to hold on to the sin of covetousness be saved? 
08) Can a man who wants to hold on to the sin of drunkenness be saved?
09) Can a man who wants to hold on to the sin of reviling be saved?
10)  Can a man who wants to hold on to the sin of extortion be saved?

You would answer all 10 questions in the negative, would you not? Of course, we know that thieves and idolaters etc., have been saved because 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 9 (from whence this list was drawn) tells us so. "Such were some of you, but ye have washed etc." But they repented and forsook those sins. There is no salvation for the stubborn wicked who live and die ultimately in their sins and unbelief. Therefore, we must say that it is impossible for any man to be saved unless he repents and believes the gospel. God Himself has not made it possible for the impenitent to be saved. I distinctly remember a parable which Jesus told about a man sitting among the very wedding guests being removed, bound hand and foot and thrust into hell.

 In closing, Cloud wrongly again suggests that Calvinism teaches that the reason why people are lost is because they have not been sovereignly elected. Calvinism does not father the damnation of any soul on God, but (as documented here) puts the blame where it fairly and squarely belongs i.e. on the guilty sinner himself. This is simply Cloud going boldly where anyone who has done their homework on Calvinism refuses to go. 

That's it.  One advantage of such attacks upon Calvinism is another opportunity to put the record straight and show how ultimately every attack on these Doctrines of Grace must ultimately wallow in their own failure.


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