Tag Archive | Calvinism

Calvinism in the Early Church

A Puritan’s Mind:

Historical mixed media figure of John Calvin by George S. StuartDid the Early Church Believe the Doctrines of Grace?

There are a number of websites (some quite terrible, others a bit scholarly, yet equally terrible) that attempt to dissuade investigative readers to believe that, except for Augustine, or at least until the “time of Augustine”, that the early church did not believe in the depravity of man, in unconditional election and/or a sovereign predestination, a limited atonement in extent of Jesus Christ, grace that is irresistible, and the final perseverance of the saints. This is a tragedy. Why? With a hearty consulting of primary sources, readers can certainly find the “infant stages” of all these Gospel doctrines throughout the writings of the early church. And not only these can be found in “infant stages” but they can be found quite specifically in many of the early writers…

Read more: http://www.apuritansmind.com/arminianism/calvinism-in-the-early-church-the-doctrines-of-grace-taught-by-the-early-church-fathers/

Whosoever Will, Let Him Come

A collection of sources telling a similar story:

H.A. Ironside, In the Heavenlies (Ephesians), 1935:

Door (2865445219)It has been pictured in this way. Here is a vast host of people hurrying down the broad road with their minds fixed upon their sins, and one stands calling attention to yonder door, the entrance into the narrow way that leads to life eternal. On it is plainly depicted the text, “Whosoever will, let him come.” Every man is invited, no one need hesitate. Some may say, “Well, I may not be of the elect and so it would be useless for me to endeavor to come, for the door will not open for me.” But God’s invitation is absolutely sincere, it is addressed to every man. “Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). If men refuse to come, if they pursue their own careless, godless way down to the pit, whom can they blame but themselves for their eternal judgment? The messenger addressed himself to all, the call came to all, the door could be entered by all but many refused to come and perished in their sins. Such men can never blame God for their eternal destruction. The door was open, the invitation was given, they refused and He says to them sorrowfully, “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.” But see, as the invitation goes forth every minute or two some one stops and says, “What is that?” “The way to life,” is the reply. “Ah, that I might find the way to life! I have found no satisfaction in this poor world.” We read, “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” “I should like to know how to be free from my sin, how to be made fit for the presence of God.” And such an one draws near and listens and the Spirit of God impresses the message upon his heart and conscience and he says, “I am going inside: I will accept the invitation; I will enter that door,” and he presses his way in and it shuts behind him. As he turns about he finds written on the inside of the door the words, “Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.” “What!” he says, “had God His heart fixed on me before ever the world came into being?” Yes, but he could not find it out until he got inside. You see, you can pass the door if you will, you can trample the love of God beneath your feet, you can spurn His grace if you are determined to do it, but you will go down to the pit and you will be responsible for your own doom.​

C.H. Spurgeon, A Sermon for the most miserable of men’ NO. 853 January 31, 1869:

I see indelible marks both of predestination and free agency everywhere in God’s universe. Then why do you ask questions about your election when God says, “whosoever will”? It is foolish to stand and ask whether you are ordained to come when the invitation bids you come. Come, and you are ordained to come; stay away, and you deserve to perish. Yonder is the gate of the hospital for sick souls, and over it is written, “Whosoever will, let him come,” and you stand outside that house of mercy, and say, “I do not know whether I am ordained to enter.” There is the invitation, man! Why are you so mad? Would you talk like that at Guy’s or at Bartholomew’s Hospital? Would you say to the kind persons who picked you up in the street, and carried you to the hospital, “Oh, for goodness’ sake, do not take me in, I do not know whether I am ordained to go in or not”? You know the hospital was built for such as are sick and wounded, and when you are taken in you perceive that it was built for you. I do not know how you are to find whether you were ordained to enter the hospital or not, except by getting in; and I do not know how you are to find out your election to salvation, except by trusting Jesus Christ, who bids you trust, and promises that if you do so you shall be saved.​

John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress:

So, in process of time, Christian got up to the gate. Now, over the gate there was written, Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Matt 7:8​

James Montgomery Boice quoting Donald Grey Barnhouse in The Gospel of John: An Expositional Commentary (Baker, Grand Rapids, MI 2005), 744:

A number of years ago a woman sat in a pew in the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, which I now serve as pastor. At the time, the pastor was Donald Grey Barnhouse. He was talking about the cross and of the need to believe on the Christ who died upon it. The woman I am talking about was not a Christian. She had been raised in a religious home and had heard about Jesus. She had heard about the cross. But she did not understand these things and therefore obviously had never actually trusted in Jesus for her salvation. In order to make clear that for salvation only belief in Jesus Christ is necessary Barnhouse said, ‘Imagine that the cross has a door in it. All you are asked to do is to go through. On one side, the side facing you, there is written an invitation: “Whosoever will, may come.” You stand there with your sin upon you and wonder if you should enter or not. Finally you do, and as you do the burden of your sin drops away. You are safe and free. Joyfully you then turn around and see written on the backside of the cross, through which you have now entered, the words “Chosen in him before the foundation of the world.”’ Barnhouse then invited those who were listening to enter. The woman later said that this was the first time in her life that she had really understood what it meant to be a Christian and that in understanding it, she had believed. She believed right there—in that church at that moment. She entered the door. Moreover, the rest of her life bore witness to the fact that a great change had occurred and that she was God’s child.” Boice concludes the story with these words, “I am certain of the facts of this story because that woman was my mother.”

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/calvinism-sign-outside-and-inside-building.90878/, Comments 3 and 4

The Free Grace And Mercy Of God

Matthew Henry on Romans 9:16:

Véraison grappesHence he infers (v. 16), It is not of him that willeth. Whatever good comes from God to man, the glory of it is not to be ascribed to the most generous desire, nor to the most industrious endeavour, of man, but only and purely to the free grace and mercy of God. In Jacob’s case it was not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth; it was not the earnest will and desire of Rebecca that Jacob might have the blessing; it was not Jacob’s haste to get it (for he was compelled to run for it) that procured him the blessing, but only the mercy and grace of God. Wherein the holy happy people of God differ from other people, it is God and his grace that make them differ. Applying this general rule to the particular case that Paul has before him, the reason why the unworthy, undeserving, ill-deserving Gentiles are called, and grafted into the church, while the greatest part of the Jews are left to perish in unbelief, is not because those Gentiles were better deserving or better disposed for such a favour, but because of God’s free grace that made that difference. The Gentiles did neither will it, nor run for it, for they sat in darkness, Mt. 4:16. In darkness, therefore not willing what they knew not; sitting in darkness, a contented posture, therefore not running to meet it, but anticipated with these invaluable blessings of goodness. Such is the method of God’s grace towards all that partake of it, for he is found of those that sought him not (Isa. 65:1); in this preventing, effectual, distinguishing grace, he acts as a benefactor, whose grace is his own. Our eye therefore must not be evil because his is good; but, of all the grace that we or others have, he must have the glory: Not unto us, Ps. 115:1.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/90719-Rejection-of-the-doctrines-of-Grace, Comment #30

 

The Damnation of Little Infants?

Spurgeon, “Misrepresentations of Calvinism:”

Larbert Old Church Graveyard, Baby Headstone“Among the gross falsehoods which have been uttered against the Calvinists proper, is the wicked calumny that we hold the damnation of little infants. A baser lie was never uttered. There may have existed somewhere, in some corner of the earth, a miscreant who would dare to say that there were infants in hell, but I have never met with him, nor have I met with a man who ever saw such a person. We say, with regard to infants, Scripture saith but little, and, therefore, where Scripture is confessedly scant, it is for no man to determine dogmatically. But I think I speak for the entire body, or certainly with exceedingly few exceptions, and those unknown to me, when I say, we hold that all infants are elect of God and are therefore saved, and we look to this as being the means by which Christ shall see of the travail of his soul to a great degree, and we do sometimes hope that thus the multitude of the saved shall be made to exceed the multitude of the lost. Whatever views our friends may hold upon the point, they are not necessarily connected with Calvinistic doctrine. I believe that the Lord Jesus, who said, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven,” doth daily and constantly receive into his loving arms those tender ones who are only shown, and then snatched away to heaven.”

Source: http://thecripplegate.com/theologians-on-infant-salvation/

We Do Not Limit Christ’s Atonement

Historical mixed media figure of John Calvin by George S. Stuart“We are often told that we limit the atonement of Christ, because we say that Christ has not made a satisfaction for all men, or all men would be saved. Now, our reply to this is, that, on the other hand, our opponents limit it: we do not. The Arminians say, Christ died for all men. Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men? They say, ‘No, certainly not.’ We ask them the next question—Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? They answer ‘No.’ They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent. They say ‘No; Christ has died that any man may be saved *if’— and then follow certain conditions of salvation. Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why, you. You say that Christ did not die so as to infallibly secure the salvation of anybody. We beg your pardon, when you say we limit Christ’s death; we say, *No, my dear sir, it is YOU that do it.’ We say Christ so died that He infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved, but ARE saved, MUST be saved, and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything BUT saved. You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it.”

~Charles Spurgeon

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/87650-Why-does-Limited-Atonement-Matter, Comment #4

What Calvinist Parents Say To Their Children

Joshua Renewing the Covenant with Israel (Bible Card)

Joshua Renewing the Covenant with Israel

“My children, you are blessed by God. You have been born into a Christian family, just as your father and mother also were born of Christian parents. You have been raised in the Christian faith, just as your parents were raised in the Christian faith. Your birth place, your parentage, is not luck — it is by design, God’s design. He could have caused you to be born to pagan parents in the middle of Africa, with your belly’s extended due to lack of food. But instead, you were born in Australia, and you don’t have extended bellies. You have food to eat, and plenty left over. You are already blessed by God, and you should not not walk away lightly from your heritage. As both of your grandfathers and your father declared, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” And you have been placed in the care of your parents so that you will, as adults, freely choose to make the same declaration…

Read more: http://www.biblicallandmarks.com/wpl/what-calvinist-parents-say-to-their-children/

Their Punishment Rests On Their Own Sins

Sheep and goats on a farm in Tarn, France, 29 September 2012Those who are passed over are those who God has not chosen to soften so that they can be inclined to believe the free offer of the Gospel. This group is instead ordained to dishonor and wrath for their sin, for the praise of the glorious justice of God. Repeatedly, we are told that this was is based upon justice.  Sin is the reason why some are judicially punished by God. The non–elect are “ordained to dishonor and wrath for their sins, to the praise of his glorious justice.” (Westminster Confession Faith,” Ch. 3, sec. 3–7; cf.  Larger Catechism, Question 13;Shorter Catechism, Question 20.

Sin, however, is not the reason why God has not chosen them to receive the grace of regeneration. God’s will was not to show them mercy, and He did this by withholding from them saving faith and the grace of conversion. “God elects as sons those whom he pleases, according to the good pleasure of his will, without any regard to merit, while rejecting and reprobating others” (Calvin, Institutes. III.xxiii.10; cf. III.xxii.11; III.23.1).  When we look to the salvation of men, it is must attributed to God alone, but if we are to see the cause of their damnation, it must rest upon their own sin.

Read more: http://regenerationandrepentance.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/the-biblical-doctrine-of-reprobation/