Monday, 7 July 2014

Congregation, listen carefully

Click on Picture to Enlarge
The picture above needs to be explained. It is not as tongue in cheek as you might think. It certainly isn't tongue in cheek when I get posthumously get Calvin to agree 100% with Dr Monte's quote.  I listened to Dr Monte recently on my mp3 player. He is easy to listen to, when some other men require greater concentration. I knew before we started that he was going to get unto Calvinism, (Clue: Sovereignty of God in the title) but I decided to listen anyway. If nothing else, I get another post for my blog. Which you are reading now.

Let's cut to the chase. As indicated by the nod of approval from Calvin, Calvinists do not believe two things here. Dr Monte thinks they do, but he hasn't done his homework properly and it shows. He dropped a real blooper a while ago on Protestants and the Rapture (I did his homework for him here) and now here is another one. (Note to Calvinists: Don't be afraid to take these men on. The bigger they are, then the harder they fall. Do your homework and steal a march.) 

Two things which Calvinists do not believe.

[1] Calvinists do not believe that God decrees or determines any one to sin. He determines to take their sin and use it for His own glory - like He did in the subject of Dr Monte's sermon above (Genesis 50:20) but He certainly did not put it in the heart of Joseph's brethren to hate Joseph and try to kill him. No Calvinist would teach that. If you are serious about this subject, then take the time to see the Reformed position here from many leading Reformed sources. And Calvin's own carefully argued position here.

Dr. Simeon points out something worth noting in his comments on Acts 4:27-28 where God decreed that the wicked would crucify Christ. (Yes, He did. Peter said so.) 

"If we mark only the expressions of my text, we shall be ready to draw from them very erroneous inferences and deductions. We shall be ready to say, 'If these people did only "what God's hand and counsel had determined before to be done." we must condemn them, they were only instruments in the hand of a superior power: and if there be any evil in what they did, it must be traced to Jehovah Himself, whose counsel had decreed it and who, by His power, stimulated them to the commission of them."  But all this is quite erroneous.  Though God had ordained these things, he never instigated any man to the commission of them; He only elevated men to situations, where, if they were so disposed, they might execute the evil that was in their hearts, and left them at liberty to follow their own will. ... "As for God, He cannot be tempted of evil; neither tempeth He any man." (James 1:13)."

Even the Arminian, John Wesley, commenting on Acts 4:27-28 acknowledged that the Cross was determined by God. I quote:

"The sense is, but they could do no more than thou wast pleased to permit, according to thy determinate counsel, to save mankind by the sufferings of thy Son. And what was needful for this end, thou didst before determine to permit to be done." (NT notes) 

If this is semantics (Dr Monte's favourite throw away line on this issue) then the Spirit of God is guilty of it, because it is He who says that what the wicked did was according to God's decree. Dr Simeon rightly points out that God merely directs their sin which they were disposed of themselves to do. God did not commission them to do so, but took their own free decision and made good and holy use of it. 

[2] Calvinists deny that God programmes any to sin. Dr Monte falls by his own standard here. In one of his recent workshops, he spoke about the need to be able to use your opponent's own words. Failure to do so means that you are misrepresenting him. Dr Monte did not give any quotes in the above message. Sometimes I wonder does any one sit in the pew and say; "This is bad. We need proof." Does everyone just drink it in without even thinking to ask for verifiable proof? If so, then Dr Monte has one of the most enviable pastorates in the world. 

In the above message, Dr Monte said other things that were blatantly untrue. His illustration about Calvinists portraying God as being like a father who would force his children to burn their hand on a hot oven door and then scold them for doing so was particularly sickening (and I dare say it) vile.

 An application of the above is needed here. If what Dr Monte says about Calvinism is indeed true, then how can he ever fellowship with Calvinists at all? Yet he does. In one of his Question and Answer sessions, I listened to him recommending John McArthur's material as a help in studying the Bible. Yes, he did say that McArthur was a Calvinist but still ploughed ahead to recommend his works anyway. Here's an easy question for you: Would you recommend a man who you tell the world believed that God was like a father who would force his children to burn their hand on a hot oven door and then scold them for doing so? I certainly wouldn't and I suspect, neither would you. During his recent workshops, Dr Monte used Calvinist James Boice as a good example of a Christian "passionate about theology." Really? A theology that teaches that God is like to an abusive father making his child burn itself at an oven door? Doesn't anyone even blink when these things are said?  Join the dots, people.

Anyway, I've said enough here.  FTR: I had said a bit more, but edited it down.




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