Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Blasphemy of Calvinist Predestination

This is the blasphemy clearly contained in the horrible decree of predestination! And here I fix my foot. On this I join issue with every assertor of it. You represent God as worse than the devil; more false, more cruel, more unjust. But you say you will prove it by scripture. Hold! What will you prove by Scripture? that God is worse than the devil? I cannot be. Whatever that Scripture proves, it never an prove this; whatever its true meaning be. This cannot be its true meaning. Do you ask, "What is its true meaning then?" If I say, " I know not," you have gained nothing; for there are many scriptures the true sense whereof neither you nor I shall know till death is swallowed up in victory. But this I know, better it were to say it had no sense, than to say it had such a sense as this. It cannot mean, whatever it mean besides, that the God of truth is a liar. Let it mean what it will it cannot mean that the Judge of all the world is unjust. No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works; that is, whatever it prove beside, no scripture can prove predestination. - John Wesley from his sermon Free Grace.

Amen to that.

12 comments:

biblicalrealist said...

...As long as man is allowed to play host he will honor God with his attention, but always He must remain a guest and never seek to be Lord. Man will have it understood that this is his world; he will make its laws and decide how it shall be run. God is permitted to decide nothing. Man bows to Him and as he bows, manages with difficulty to conceal the crown upon his own head...
...By a complete misunderstanding of the noble and true will, salvation is made to depend perilously upon the will of man instead of upon the will of God. However deep the mystery, however many the paradoxes involved, it is still true that men become saints not at their own whim but by sovereign calling. Has not God by such words as these taken out of our hands the ultimate choice? ...(John 6:63, 44, 65; 17:2; Galatians 1:15-16). God has made us in His likeness, and one mark of that likeness is our free will. We hear God say, "Whosoever will, let him come." We know by bitter experience the woe of an unsurrendered will and the blessedness or terror which may hang upon our human choice. But back of all this and preceding it is the sovereign right of God to call saints and determine human destinies. The master choice is His, the secondary choice is ours. Salvation is from our side a choice, from the divine side it is a seizing upon, an apprehending, a conquest of the Most High God.
Our "accepting" and "willing" are reactions rather than actions. The right of determination must always remain with God. --A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of Man

biblicalrealist said...

Typo:
"...By a complete misunderstanding of the noble and true will, salvation is made to depend perilously upon the will of man instead of upon the will of God" should read, "...By a complete misunderstanding of the noble and true doctrine of the freedom of the human will, salvation is made to depend perilously upon the will of man instead of upon the will of God. "

A.M. Mallett said...

Ken,
I like Tozer’s aspect very much. Were you implying a conflict with Wesley’s thoughts regarding Calvinist predestination? Wesley was addressing the “double predestination” aspect of the Calvinist theology of his day and not Sovereign determination specifically. Tozer was not an advocate of an unfettered free will and neither was Wesley.
Thanks for your comments.

Pumice said...

This is exactly why my children have trouble with Calvinist theology. The problem is that it is the Calvinist churches who have no logical reason to evangelize who are doing it.

Go figure.

Grace and peace.

biblicalrealist said...

Travelah,

I was just trying to add some balance where it seemed that some was needed. I didn't know it was about double predestination.

Kevin Jackson said...

Great Wesley quote, one of my favorites.

Tozer claimed to be neither Calvinist or Arminian. However, his view of freedom was definitely Arminian in orientation.

God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, “What doest thou?” Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so. A.W. Tozer, The Sovereignty of God

A.M. Mallett said...

Ken,
No problem with that of course. Wesley wasn't specific with his terminology in this case. I appreciate your contributions.

A.M. Mallett said...

Pumice,
The controversy over "double predestination" is one of the grounds for my question to Calvinists regarding whether they evangelize out of a desire to see souls saved or because of an obligation that they are instructed to do.
From my perspective, the former are preaching as Arminians and the latter have no love for what they are doing. That is a rather simplistic view, of course, but it strikes me as logical.

A.M. Mallett said...

Kevin,
In all fairness to the controversy of the day, I could have included George Whitefield's response. I think I have done that somewhere here in the past. Nonetheless, I agree with you. I think Free Grace is one of Wesley's powerful sermons even with it's polemical aspects.
As for Tozer, I have been reading him for years. He goes to the heart of those things that fuel my zeal. E.M. Bounds is another one as well.

Tom said...

How appropriate that a baptised infidel should quote the words of a spiritual pervert! Wesley, his followers, and their heresies merit the same type of response that Paul gave to the Judaizers in his Letter to the Galatians.

A.M. Mallett said...

Tom,
I appreciate the opportunity you provide with each and every one of your posts. Have a great day and be blessed, Tom!

Tom said...

I'll be sure to keep them coming.