Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Calvin Taught "Double Predestination"

In various discussions with some of my Reformed Church brethren a central focal point has often been the issue of double predestination or the doctrines of reprobation as some have phrased it. While some have expressed few if any reservations regarding this doctrine, others have taken a stand contrary to the early reformers position and deny that Calvinists, or at least the moderate variety of their persuasion, hold to such a doctrine.

In the words of John Calvin:

"By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms,but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation. And accordingly, as each has been created for one of other of these ends, we say that he as been predestinated to life or to death" 1

From Calvin's perspective the doctrine of reprobation presented as men created for the express purpose of damnation is unavoidable if we take his writings at their prima facia value. Calvin placed himself on record as declaring anything short of such classed destruction to have been an act of promiscuity on the part of God. I realize I take a liberty here where others might object but Calvin's words themselves lend credibility to what is suggested.

"We shall never feel persuaded as we ought that our salvation flows from the free mercy of God as its fountain, until we are made acquainted with his eternal election, the grace of God being illustrated by the contrast, viz., that he does not adopt all promiscuously to the hope of salvation, but gives to some what he denies to others. It is plain how greatly ignorance of this principle detracts from the glory of God, and impairs true humility." 2

Whether or not one agrees with Calvin is of another matter however it is an intellectually disingenious approach to suggest the Calvinist doctrines of election, predestination or reprobation do not include God's pleasure in glorifying Himself by way of purposely creating men for destruction. Knowing that God takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked does little to distance the modern Calvinist from the legacy of his namesake. The contradiction remains between those Calvinists who deny double predestination and the namesake who defines it with his own writings.


1 John Calvin, Institutes book III ch 21
2 Ibid