Friday, March 03, 2006

So If I'm Not There, Then Start Without Me.

I will finally read Calvin's Institutes, and any other relevant teaching by John Calvin, and settle the Calvinism debate, in my mind, once and for all. I do wish someone would talk me out of it though, because it seems like there are so many more productive things to be doing. But it's either consider Calvin, or tune out a significant portion of the Christian world. And this is the only hope I see for my weathering the debate on Calvinism. Why....? Because the answer as to whether Calvin satisfactorily proved his ideas from scripture has to be in his writings somewhere. And if I can find it, I'm going to be way ahead of alot of Calvinists from whom I have sought ready scriptural support for Calvin's doctrine. And if I can't find it, then I will have to debate it no longer. I'm sure it will be several months before I'm satisfied that I understand. But I did order the two volumes from Amazon today.

Whatever is claiming to have its basis in the knowledge and wisdom of God is going to have to pass the test of His criteria.

From Proverbs 8:

"Listen, for I will speak noble things; and the opening of my lips will reveal right things."

"For my mouth will utter truth; and wickedness is an adomination to my lips."

"All the utterances of my lips are in righteousness; there is nothing crooked or perverted in them."

"They are all straightforward to him who understands; and right to those who find knowledge."

"I, wisdom, dwell in prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion."


This is my greatest fear going in...

"Where there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,..."

and...

Eccl. 12:12,
"But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body. "

14 comments:

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Very true.

Todd said...

Hi Matthew.

Doug E. said...

Todd,

I appreciate your sincerity.

God bless,

Doug

P.S. Your test is a great one, and my inbox is always open if you want to ask a live Calvinist a question. :-) deaton@tiu.edu

Doug E. said...

Not that I will be able to answer them all.

Todd said...

Thanks Doug,
I find the sincerity over at your blog admirable as well.

Todd

jeff said...

Here's my attempt to talk you out of it: don't do it.

But, I know you'll skip that one and attempt to plow through it. Good luck.

Todd said...

No, please, keep talking.

H K Flynn said...

Don't do it!

But do familiarize yourself with them(his Institutes).

I'll even say that I suspect you'll be surprised at how helpful a lot of his ideas are.

After all he was Belgian, how can you dislike a Belgian Christian.

Consider that he was about 4 yres old in the faith when he wrote them~~ so says David R. Anderson anyway.

Warn-ly,

Jodie

Todd said...

Hi Jodie,

Alright, I certainly will familiarize myself with them then. I'm looking forward to it, I understand he was a brilliant Christian mind. And then I picked up in one of your comments that he was a 27 yr.old (if I recall) Christian of four years (per your source). And highly educated, which I have tremendous respect for, although, sometimes that can be a lose cannon in a young bright mind. So I'll struggle through it and be the better for it I'd imagine. I appreciate the preparation. See you.

Will gird with the Word,
Todd

Doug E. said...

His first edition was published at the age of 27, but it wasn't even half the size of the final version. He continued to work on it for much of his life so it also contains much wisdom of later years.

Doug

Todd said...

Thanks Doug.

H K Flynn said...

Thanks for that clarification, Doug :)

God Bless,

Jodie

Scout said...

Todd, please be very careful. The answer is truly in God's Word alone, but I do understand your struggle? with this issue. I am in the midst of it myself. I'm no theologian, but I continue to lean toward a non-Calvinist interpretation.

Free-will (so to speak) does not negate God's sovereingnty, especially when the Bible is clear that God has given us a choice. The Bible is a love story between God and man. It shows us God's love, longsuffering and mercy toward all men while at the same time it shows us His wrath and His vengence toward those who refuse to bow the knee to God. Please never forget the love of God toward ALL men when you are reading Calvin's institutes.

Did God not try many things to get the Israelites to obey Him and turn their hearts toward Him? Some obeyed and some did not. He told us that those who refused to do so had evil hearts. I don't find any place in the OT where God supposedly regenerated a person to make them believe. I don't find it in the NT, either really.

The Calvinists I have come up against are continually changing the meaning of the words "all", "world", "whosoever", etc. (i.e., any word which would imply an unconditional atonement). I mean no disrepect toward any Calvinists who may be reading these comments.

I have only read two of your blogposts so far and I look forward to reading more.

I am praying that God would protect your mind from error as you study Calvinism. Please do not be influenced by the brilliance of men. Rather be influenced by the Holy Spirit of God whose desire it is for none to perish, but that all would obtain everlasting life. I know, I know. The Calvinists have decided that scripture means something else, too.

Take Care.

Todd said...

Hi Scout,
I've started into the Institutes now and I'm seeing the very same types of thinking I saw in some of the intellectually gifted boywonder Calvinist blogs out there in the blogisphere. They reach so far out there in their reasonings that they are impossible to communicate with, simply because it does not make sound sense. Only they are the ones who can possibly know what they are talking about and everyone else just shakes their heads in agreement because it sounds great. It takes a tremendous amount of patience and focus to reduce Calvin's arguements down to what he is really saying and then it comes clear as being very speculative and not explicitly backed by scripture. As God loving as it may be. The man's mind was definately free-wheeling and taking liberties with the word, no matter how well intended. So anyway, I'm looking forward to starting into his chapter on election and showing what I mean because then I will no longer have to keep reciting these things when I'm out blogging and enjoying the beuaty of God's word with people. These differences simply divide and get in the way of that sharing, and I want to have a means of illustrating what I see going on with this divisiveness when confronted with the need to. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement. This will not happen very fast, mostly because I am very slow at it, but also very busy, and right now moderately sick. So check back every couple of weeks and let me know what you think if you feel like it. Nice running into you as a brother in Christ Scout. Todd