Saturday, April 09, 2011

Crazy Calvinist Corner

Along with a myriad of troubles reconciling the goodness and Justice of God with Calvinist doctrine, occasionally one of today’s neo-Reformed will offer an interpretation that just falls flat on its face from the weight of its eisegesis.  Consider the following passage from the Apostle Peter.

“ ¶ But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (2Pe 2:1-2 AV)

This is a particular teaching that is used to refute Calvinist limited atonement as well as lend some support for the falling away of souls once saved. The former issue seems the stronger application in this case. The phrase “the Lord that bought them” is generally seen by most commentators to refer to the purchase of souls or the redemption secured by Christ. John Calvin stated the following in his commentary regarding this passage.

Even denying the Lord that bought them. Though Christ may be denied in various ways, yet Peter, as I think, refers here to what is expressed by Jude, that is, when the grace of God is turned into lasciviousness; for Christ redeemed us, that he might have a people separated from all the pollutions of the world, and devoted to holiness and innocency. They, then, who throw off the bridle, and give themselves up to all kinds of licentiousness, are not unjustly said to deny Christ by whom they have been redeemed. Hence, that the doctrine of the gospel may remain whole and complete among us, let this be fixed in our minds, that we have been redeemed by Christ, that he may be the Lord of our life and of our death, and that our main object ought to be, to live to him and to die to him. He then says, that their swift destruction was at hand, lest others should be ensnared by them. 

Aside from the apparent contradiction between Calvin’s thoughts and the limited atonement position of today’s neo-Reformed, Calvin is clearly referring to the purchase as redemption and attaches this redemption to the very false teachers warned about in the passage. It is an odd Calvinist commentary given the dogma of TULIP however I think most Arminians would generally agree with him.

To avoid the outwardly Arminian inclinations of the passage, today’s crazy Calvinist in the corner insisted that the redemption acquired through Christ’s purchase was a non-atoning redemption. How he arrived at that without reading a book of his theology into the text is beyond me but nonetheless that is the defense. I cannot find a non-atoning redemption or purchase in my bible.  Perhaps my Calvinist fellow will help me.


Pumice said...

I have not read Calvin but I have talked to a lot of Calvinists (excuse me, I mean people of Reformed Theology) and there lack of consistent logic always amazes me. It is no wonder that most of them deny being Calvinists.

I will let you read Calvin for me. I am still working on Wesley and have three volumes of Arminius to get through.

Grace and Peace

A.M. Mallett said...

Oh I fully understand. I made it a point to read as much Reformed material as I could to avoid being charged with failing to understand their point of view. I actually like a lot of Calvin's contributions. I am on my third reading of Institutes now, the latest being an English translation of his French edition.

Quartermaster said...

I've read through the Institutes once about 25 years ago. I remember enough to realize that Calvin was more Arminian than Beza liked. Beza, in fact, is the main interpreter of Calvin and gave us 5 point Calvinism.

I have Calvin's commentaries in pdf form and was mildly surprised when I read some of them, particularly his comments on James. I have joked to Calvinists that they are quite Pelagian. When they don't believe me, I post the relevant passages and they usually get real quiet and go away.

Presently Calvinism is a schemozzle of viewpoints that are not consistent with the other schools. What is labeled Arminianism is fairly consistent. I've quit arguing with Calvinists as I have found they are like rocks when it comes to hearing anything that does not agree with they think they already know. Anything else, in their lights, is heresy and they have no hesitation in calling Arminians heretics.

Franjkly, methinks they have no understanding of what the word heretic means when you get characters like Phil Johnson who think Arminians are both Christians and dangerous heretics. In the truest sense of the word, they are Heretics.

A.M. Mallett said...

I agree that a LOT of Calvinists have no idea what Calvin really believed because they have not read his works. Instead a lot of them rely on various internet teachers with secondary sources.
Now, I also have to say similar things about my own Arminian brethren. There is a lot of empty space among many with regard to understanding the soteriology of Arminius. In these cases I like to recommend Forlines Quest For Truth as a good text for learning the general theology as well as Arminius writings.