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Author Topic: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?  (Read 27120 times)

John

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2003, 01:17:10 PM »
As for causing divisions, there are very few things that have caused more division in the Church than the label Calvinism.

If experience is anything, I've found a similar reaction but for different reason than I think you are intimating. The label is not the cause of offense, as if this dead man offended people. It is the Biblical framework that underlies the label that is highly offensive. In other words, it is the Bible that offends because the doctrines of grace that is Calvinism causes many people to seethe and see red. I see this as good and beneficial for the hearer -- their rejection is not a rejection of John Calvin, but rather a rejection of Biblical truth, call it by whatever names you will.

Even a Calvinist here wrote a message describing how she didn't even understand what people meant by calling her a Calvinist

Neither do many people who call themselves Calvinist. The distinctive of Calvinism is the rebuttal to Arminianism. Those 5-points hang or fall together. It would be highly beneficial for every Christian to understand these foundational truths of salvation

Many deny a point or two and still want to claim agreement with the tenets of Calvinism.  It is a great aid when debating to go through the five points individually and see how the hearer reacts. This is a fast way to get to the ground-truth of Christian belief.

There have been a few times when in discussion I thought I had agreement about the basic doctrines of salvation. Yes, they believed Jesus died for the elect. Yes, we are saved by grace. Yes, salvation is limited and not all are saved. Yes, we cannot lose our salvation. Great!  But we actually were miles apart.

What was meant was: Jesus died for his elect, who are those who will turn to him of their own free will. Salvation is by grace but we have to make a choice, God being a gentleman and not willing to violate our will. It is limited only because some will not make a correct decision for Christ. We cannot lose our salvation once we have 'accepted Jesus', but, we can 'backslide' and become as evil as Hitler on a bad day until the day we die.

Better to ask this way:

Do you believe we are Totally Depraved, that we have no spark of goodness and in reality are dead and enslaved in our sins?

Do you believe in Unconditional Election, that God unconditionally chose by divine decree from eternity past who will be His?

Do you believe in Limited Atonement, that the atonement is limited only to those God has chosen?

Do you believe in Irresistible Grace, the elect cannot refuse God's grace toward them?

Do you believe in Perseverance of the Saints, that those God has chosen and saved can never be lost?


Most people in or out of the church have no idea that these truths are found in their Bible. That's where each believer's witness to the truth comes in. Call those truths Calvinism or TULIP or Doctrines of Grace or Sovereign Grace Theology -- they are the foundational tenets of the Christian faith.

john
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GoldRush

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2003, 02:54:49 PM »
We find ourselves agreeing with both sides, here.

No, we should not follow men, but be known as Christians who follow the Word of God.

But yet, if we do so faithfully, we will become known as that ~kind~ of Christian that believes in predestination and election which is synonomous with the label "Calvinism."

It is almost unavoidable being called "Calvinists" if we hold strong to the five points of the doctrines of grace.  And to deny the label, when it is applied, seems unnecessary and complicated, for it does sum up our beliefs in the minds of others.

We try to identify ourselves as Reformers . . .but to be honest . . .even that label has lost its significance these days because of the compromise and return to Rome that is occurring with the Reformed camps.

J&R

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Robert Powell

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2003, 07:44:43 PM »
I guess I should add my two cents on this topic. I also must weigh in and reject the label Calvinist. First of all, despite what I am reading here, it's not necessary. I don't know where you guys are getting this stuff, but it's just not true to say that it is necessary. I'm living proof of it. And that's the end of the matter as far as I'm concerned. I don't need to be called, nor to call myself Calvinist.

I totally agree with those of you who agree the doctrines of grace have been around hundreds upon hundreds of years, and yet the Church managed to get along "just fine" without the label Calvinism. To ignore that in itself tells me that it's not about identification with biblical doctrines. It's about identification with Calvin. And that's the problem.

The most important reason that I question it in the first place, is the name itself. Christ's doctrines replaced with the name of a man doesn't sit well with me. It never has, and I'm sure it never will. And it makes no difference how much it is justified by the Reformed hierarchy. Because I've learned that anything can be justified with a little thought. In my case, it's better for me not to be called a Calvinist, because whatsoever is not of faith, is sin. And contrary to what's been said here, it's not that difficult not to go by the label Calvinist and still be a biblical Christian. Proving it's not about biblical identification, it's about Calvin. Why not call it Predestinationism, why not call it Electionism, why not call it the doctrines of Sovereignty, or a million other names not associated with a man. Because the "man" Calvin is actually the point, not the doctrine, that is why! And that's part of why I am not a Calvinist.


bloodstone

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2003, 09:17:24 PM »
Robert,
 You've summed it up both briefly and accurately.

I use to be a Calvinist. That was before I realized that the doctrines I held so dear were not Calvin's but Christ's. As such they are simply Christian doctrines, and should not be relegated to being Calvinistic doctrines as they are today. Those who started this trend of calling Christ's doctrines, the doctrines of Calvinism, have not done a service to the Church, but a great disservice. In my opinion.


Peng Bao

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2003, 04:06:14 AM »
I use to be a Calvinist. That is before I realized that the doctrines I held so dear were not Calvin's, they were Christ's. As such they are simply Christian doctrines, and should not be relagated to being Calvinistic doctrines as they are today. Those who started this trend of calling Christ's doctrines, Calvin's doctrines have not done a service to the Church, but a great disservice.



You've all made some very good points. It's not an easy question. I intend to look into this more carefully and let my conscience be my guide.

Chris

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2003, 07:36:56 AM »
I think this has been proven out in my life over the last two years. I haven't called myself Calvinist in that time, and I have not had one single problem identifying what I believe, or what doctrines I hold.

This deserves an Amen. Especially with a name like Reformer. You've proven it to yourself but you won't prove it to many who want to be called Calvinists. Because they are in their own little world. But I have no problem in believing what you say, and understand completely where you are coming from. And if Tony Warren says he doesn't have any problem with identification in not using it, with his "strict" doctrines going even beyond what most Reformed Christians believe, then who can argue that it is a necessity if you hold such strict biblical doctrines? As he often says, that doesn't make any sense  ;)

Chris

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2003, 07:44:38 AM »
Steady on, Chris!  You're quite wrong.  This poll is testing the statement "most of us in this forum don't choose to be called Calvinists", and I think it does so perfectly.  

Ok, I agree, your poll, your rules. Well I hope you got your answer seeing as it seems to be so one sided and clear that though most are Reformed and hold to the doctrines of grace, few "here" choose to be called Calvinists. And I think they've given some very valid and thoughtful reasons. But go to a Calvinist forum, and the poll might be just the opposite.

But I still would have liked to know how many of the votes were of the "free will" camp. Oh well, I guess since I didn't start the poll myself, I have nothing to complain about.

iGreg

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2003, 02:29:27 AM »
I voted yes. I know people who have referred to themselves as a moderate Calvinist. I just have to laugh at that. ;D

iGreg

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2003, 02:44:27 AM »
BTW, I am surprised so few voted. Are there less than 50 people active at Mountain Retreat? A more thorough poll would be posted on the home page of the site.

P.S. TULIP is explained well in an earlier posting. I find it to be Biblically accurate.

Reformer

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2003, 03:11:04 AM »
BTW, I am surprised so few voted. Are there less than 50 people active at Mountain Retreat? A more thorough poll would be posted on the home page of the site.

P.S. TULIP is explained well in an earlier posting. I find it to be Biblically accurate.

So does 99 percent of the Christians who post here, but we still don't want to call ourselves Calvinists. It's two different issues.

As for the vote count, everyone who uses this site doesn't use this forum. I know that many people don't like registering and think it's invasive. And believe it or not, some people think it unbiblical to vote, and others think it's beneath them to waste time participating in a poll like this. ???

44 votes out of about 190 registered forum members, or about 1/4 of the members, is a lot, considering most people don't bother. Just like voting in national elections.  :(


Tony Warren

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2003, 06:09:55 AM »
>>>
The label is not the cause of offense, as if this dead man offended people. It is the Biblical framework that underlies the label that is highly offensive.
<<<

The "unseen" problem is that few can get past the label to even have a chance to consider the underlying framework, because they are so convinced it is the doctrines of Calvin (as indeed they logically "would" be, considering it's called Calvinism or Calvinistic doctrines). I have had many conversations turned away from the bible by Christians saying, "John Calvin wrote this, or John Calvin said that," and you disagree so how can you call yourself a Calvinist?  And they are right! Apparently so many other debating Christians had the same experience. So the point here is, the doctrines should be quoted from scripture and labeled Christ's, not called Calvinistic doctrines. That's the logical difference between his words, and God's word. Christian and Calvinist.

And by the way, just because someone who is not an astronaut, calls themselves an astronaut, doesn't mean that "real" astronauts must then change their names to differentiate themselves from the charlatans. I don't have to call myself Calvinist to identify the doctrines I hold. That's why the early Church were still simply called Christians, even though there were many false doctrines and false Christians abounding. It's still a universal church, even though some have strayed from the faith of the fathers. We wouldn't start calling the church a boxcar because a false group popped up calling themselves a church, would we? Neither do we have to call ourselves Calvinists because there are some who don't believe in the Doctrines of Grace.


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Neither do many people who call themselves Calvinist. The distinctive of Calvinism is the rebuttal to Arminianism.
<<<

No, the Rebuttal to what is labeled Arminianism is the Bible. The distinctiveness of what is called "Calvinism" is not a Calvinist distinctive, but Biblical doctrine. It is foundational Christianity! These doctrines of Grace were in the church when Christ walked the earth during His first advent, they aren't distinctive to Calvinists who weren't even born yet. And that's my point. John Calvin brought no new or distinctive doctrine to the church. Not One! Calvinism is just an unnecessary label to continue bad tradition. Just as Arminianism is nothing more than a new label for the old "works gospels" that are opposed to Sovereign Grace. The are the same doctrines that Christ and Paul condemned in the early church. It didn't need a new name. It is the true distinctiveness is between Christ's doctrines of Grace, and Satan's doctrine of works. It's not Calvin's doctrines, or Arminian doctrines, it's Christ's doctrines and Satan's doctrines and should "continue" to bear their names, rather than Calvin's and Arminius. I will always believe that.


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Many deny a point or two and still want to claim agreement with the tenets of Calvinism.  It is a great aid when debating to go through the five points individually and see how the hearer reacts.
<<<

There it is again. Listen to yourself. The Tenets of Calvinism?  It is my contention that the church should go through the tenets of Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverabce of the saints, from the Bible, and call it the foundational Christian doctrine, rather than Calvinist distinctives or doctrines. There is an inherent pitfall or danger in doing anything less. Depravity, Election, Grace, Atonement, and Perseverance is the work and distinctiveness of Christ's teachings, not the distinctiveness of Calvinism.

Romans 3:12
  • "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

In this chapter of Romans is not found Calvin's conclusions, but the verses following show us that the Christian conclusion (drawn from all the foregoing premises) is that all mankind is fallen and unable by their innate corruption to fulfill the law, either natural or written. It is God's word (not Calvinism) that shows it must necessarily follow that by the works of the law can no man (whether Jew or Gentile) be justified before God. All the effectiveness which the law has, is to discover and condemn. By the law is the sin disease of our total depravity made manifest, and its cure revealed. It should never be brought down to a label of Calvinism, it is Christ's doctrines and His distinctives.


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Call those truths Calvinism or TULIP or Doctrines of Grace or Sovereign Grace Theology -- they are the foundational tenets of the Christian faith.
<<<

Amen to everything but "Calvinism!" But the real question is, when we can in all good conscience call it (as you say) the Doctrines of Grace, or Sovereign Grace Theology, or a host of other well suited and defining terms, why would we reject all those innocuous and non man-glorifying titles, to take pride in the misnomer of Calvinism? When we answer that honestly, we are on our way to truth. And truth inspires change.  ..as if Calvin invented these doctrines. Especially when we know full well that God is a jealous God, and would have His name alone on these doctrine of Christ?

The bottom line is this. You're a Calvinist by your own admission, and obviously very proud of it. Keyword being proud. That's your prerogative, and to Calvin's glory. On the other hand, I am not a Calvinist, I am a Christian. I take pride in His name. And that is my prerogative, to the glory of Christ.

I see the controversy this way. Black and White. Hot and Cold. No biblical Christian has to call themselves Calvinists, and it "does" place the onus and glory upon John Calvin as the point of doctrine. So I personally choose not to do it. It's as simple as that. I've never taken the name of Calvin, and my hope is that by grace of God, I never will. For no matter how many excuses we might hear for bearing his name, taking a man's name "Clearly Implies" some sort of progeny. That is a literary fact. And Calvin is not the father of Predestination. Yet that is the way names and titles work, and it has been that way all throughout history, including Biblical history. Calvinist means "of Calvin." I didn't make that up, that's what it means.

Basically, this is the reason that I set up this forum the way I did. To get away from church traditions, confusing labels, and denominational distinctives that convolute and take away from what scripture actually declares, rather than shed light upon them. I don't care if someone is Baptist, Presbyterian or Methodist, when they come here they drop the labels because we debate from scripture alone. Calvinist doctrines, Arminian doctrines or Lutheran doctrines don't mean a thing here. Everyone who comes here must argue their doctrines from the Bible alone. Church traditions, Reformed customs or habits, writings of church fathers, and all other man made labels are more of a distraction than a help. Yes, the Title Calvinism is one such distraction. My view is that we should concentrate on the doctrines of "The Bible Alone" and call it Christ's doctrines, the same way the Apostles did. Rather than vice versa, in concentrating on the doctrines of Calvin and calling them the doctrines of the Bible. For the truth of God's word really didn't need to be renamed after the man, "John Calvin." I see this as an undeniable fact, but you may disagree. Though I don't see how.

It is by searching the scriptures and bearing witness to those scriptures that we assert what we believe. Just as Christians had done "before" the vaunted John Calvin. Anyone who wants to know what I believe, I'll tell them chapter and verse. And as Robert said before, I have no difficulty in doing that, "despite claims to the contrary." The idea that I have to say I am a Calvinist to be distinctive in my doctrine is more self-serving than accurate. I don't need to join that club, I've never said that, and never found the need to say that, and have always been able to communicate my beliefs both succinctly and clearly without the "Calvinist" security blanket of Reformed tradition. And I can assure you, not once did anyone ever say to me, "I don't understand your position on the doctrines of Grace." But they have said, "Your doctrines seem to follow that of Calvinists." i.e., because of the label that some choose to give Christ's doctrines, they are now being ascribed to being progeny of a man. This should not be, and it wouldn't be if Christians had a little more wisdom and insight.

Again, if anyone wants to be called Calvinist, that's their prerogative, and certainly I'm not going to condemn them for it. But I hope they will not attempt to use the argument that it's a necessary title, because it obviously is not.

nosce te ipsum"
 
Peace,
Tony Warren
"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. -Psalms 32:5"

Tony Warren

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2003, 06:34:31 AM »
>>>
No, we should not follow men, but be known as Christians who follow the Word of God.

But yet, if we do so faithfully, we will become known as that ~kind~ of Christian that believes in predestination and election
<<<

That's a good thing. So they'll know we take the bible very seriously.

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..which is synonomous with the label "Calvinism."
<<<

It's only synonymous with the mislabeled Calvinism because Calvinists insist upon presenting it "as if" it was Calvin's doctrines, Calvin's 5 points, Calvin's eschatology, Calvin's view of Predestination, Calvin's writings about foreknowledge, sovereignty, etc., when it should never have been presented that way. And I dare say presumptuously, John Calvin himself would NOT approve!!!

Why? If there is nothing wrong with it, why wouldn't he approve? Let's be HONEST here if that is possible.


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It is almost unavoidable being called "Calvinists"
<<<

That IS UNQUESTIONABLY "not true!" It happens periodically, but I can count the number of times I've been called Calvinist over the last 5 years on both hands. And I only recall 4 or 5 times in this forum in all these years, despite the fact there are many of those who hold to free will and who have debated predestination with me.

Perhaps because I make clear that the Bible is the authority here, not John Calvin. It's too bad that more conscientious Christians do not take that same methodology. Then maybe not so many Christians would think of it as Calvin's doctrines, but Christ's doctrines.


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if we hold strong to the five points of the doctrines of grace.  And to deny the label, when it is applied, seems unnecessary and complicated,
<<<

The five points are not man's explanation of the gospel of Christ, it is the gospel of Christ. Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the Saints, these are truths found in the word of God, not Calvin's truths. The "truth" is, explaining the doctrines of grace is no more complicated than explaining Calvinism.  As for unnecessary, that depends upon how conscientious we are.

He who hath an ear let him hear.

Over the years I have seen many forums and read hundreds of posts attempting to explain Calvinism, and it is often the very definition of convolution,  unnecessary, and complicated. How long have you been in this forum, and how many times have you heard me have to deny being a Calvinist? Not many. Was it complicated?

...I would say yes and No. Allow me to explain. I submit to you, the times that I have had a hard time explaining, is when I'm talking to Calvinists!!!! And that is the truth! That is usually the only time that it becomes hard to explain and seems complicated. Because when I tell those who don't believe in the doctrines of grace that we're going to defer to the "authority of scripture" in our debate and not John Calvin, almost without exception they say "fair enough" and have no problem with that philosophy. While Calvinists, on the other hand, will be offended, pout, cry and moan about "how unfair that is," (re4med comes to mind) or ask "why I don't have respect for the Church fathers," or "why aren't quotes from John Calvin allowed in defense," or "How can I call myself Reformed and not want to be called Calvinist," or some other irrelevant question that keeps me explaining the same simple things over and over again, as if I've asked of them the square root of Pi. Calvinists are inevitably the Problem, not the solution.


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We try to identify ourselves as Reformers . . .but to be honest . . .even that label has lost its significance these days
<<<

That's very true. You could call yourself Christian and let that suffice (just a thought). But labels have always been misused. Do you think that all (so-called) Calvinists are saved or all have the correct doctrines? Not at all. So all I'm saying is, how about we identify ourselves with our doctrines, and not labels attributing God's doctrines to men. We can show our distinctive by our works and not our labels.

Matthew 12:33
  • "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
Luke 6:44
  • "For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes."

How about we call ourselves Christian and let our works show our distinctiveness. Let our fruits show from what tree we are of. What a novel idea! A tree is known by it's fruits, not by it's label.

i.e., you can call an apple tree an olive tree, but when it bears apples, you know it's no olive tree. By their fruits ye shall know them. Not by their vaunted titles or by their Church traditions. It's what we do that counts, not the labels and traditions that we like to hold dear.

nosce te ipsum"
 
Peace,
Tony Warren
"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. -Psalms 32:5"

iGreg

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2003, 01:01:48 PM »
I have no problem calling myself a Calvinist. Of course I am a "Christian" first. I also call myself Conservative & a Republican. These, & others, are all names and labels we use to help identify ourselves to others.

I know a number of people who say they are Christian too, and yet their beliefs bare no resemblance to any reasonable understanding of the Bible. My supervisor at work does not even believe Jesus was the son of God, yet he INSISTS he is Christian. He thinks Jesus was just a very nice teacher of good morals and behavior, or perhaps a fictional representation of many teachers!  He believes evolution is true & Biblical creation is fiction. To top it off, he says he once studied to be a Baptist Pastor! When I tell him I am a Calvinist, he understands well what I am talking about. He chuckles that I am one of those fundamentalists who takes the Bible literally :)

 

Pilgrim

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2003, 02:21:00 PM »
Tony Warren,
  As usual, your points are well taken and get me to thinking. I hadn't really given it much thought until now, and always took it for granted I was Calvinist. But now having been forced to consider it, I can find no fault in your argument and have come to believe yours is the more biblical position. Actually, it's somewhat fallen down on me like bricks and bothers my conscience.

Very radical for a guy with a mug with John Calvin on it, isn't it. :)

Having said that, many of my friends choose to call themselves Calvinists and I'm sure will continue to do so. They are Christians also and I don't want to alienate them by announcing that I don't want to be called Calvinist anymore. So while it's the right position, is it the practical one?
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." -Matthew 1:21

Jeff

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Re: Do You Call Yourself A Calvinist?
« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2003, 04:22:37 PM »
Quote
The distinctiveness of what is called "Calvinism" is not Calvinist distinctive. It is foundational. These doctrines of Grace were in the Church when Christ walked the earth during His first advent, they aren't distinctive to Calvinists. John Calvin brought no new or distinctive doctrine to the Church.

Amen!

 I see you are making no headway with these "Calvinists," to the delight of Re4med   ;D

 I think you've about covered it as best anyone can. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Thanks for your insights. You're ahead of the curve.

 "Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD." -Jer 29:19
 


 


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