There is something healthy about returning to one’s roots. When it comes to evangelical Christianity, its roots are found in the soil of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation.

Are Calvinists the Only True Christians?

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  • Are Calvinists the Only True Christians?

    That may seem like an odd question, especially considering I'm not a Calvinist myself, but you see, I have here a lot of quotes by prominent Calvinist theologians where they seem to be eluding to Calvinism being the only true form of Christianity. That honestly makes me wonder if the people who believe that have fashioned Calvinism into some sort of cult.

    Maurice Roberts, on the back-cover of The Potter’s Freedom, by James White, wrote, “In a manner reminiscent of Luther demolishing Erasmus, James White grinds the Semi-Pelagianism of Dr. Geisler to fine powder, not in the spirit of triumphalism, but knowing that all Arminianism is as hostile to the true gospel as it is friendly to a reviving Roman Catholicism.”



    The description on the back-cover of The Potter’s Freedom says, “This book is written as a reply to Dr. Geisler, but it is much more: it is a defense of the very principles upon which the Protestant Reformation was founded. Indeed, it is a defense of the very gospel itself!”



    Arthur Custance said, “It is questionable whether a dogmatic theology which is not Calvinistic is truly Christian.”

    He also said, “Calvinism is the Gospel and to teach Calvinism is in fact to preach the Gospel.”



    Kenneth Talbot and W. Gary Crampton said, “any compromise of Calvinism is a step towards humanism.”



    They also said, “The apostolic doctrine was that of Reformed Theology.”



    Loraine Boettner said, “There is no consistent stopping place between Calvinism and atheism.”



    and, “The doctrine that men are saved only through the unmerited love and grace of God finds its full and honest expression only in the doctrines of Calvinism.”



    William Cunningham said, “Calvinism is just the full exposition of and development of the sum and substance of what is represented in Scripture as done for the salvation of sinners by the three persons of the Godhead.”



    David Engelsma said, “Calvinism is the Gospel. Its outstanding doctrines are simply the truths that make up the Gospel.”



    Charles Spurgeon has said many funny things about Calvinism, such as, “It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, nothing else.”



    and, “There is no such thing as preaching Christ and him crucified, unless you preach what now-a-days is called Calvinism.”

    and, “The longer I live the clearer does it appear that John Calvin’s system is the nearest to perfection.”



    Rienk Kuiper said, “It is my firm conviction that the only theology contained in the Bible is the Reformed theology.”

    R. K. McGregor Wright said, “Arminianism thought is best understood historically, as a compromise of the Reformation gospel with the humanistic motif of the autonomy of the human consciousness flowing out of the ancient pagan learning that had just been rediscovered in the Renaissance.”



    Alexander Leighton said this about Arminianism, “The last and greatest monster of the man of sin; the elixir of Anti-Christianism.”



    William MacLean wrote in his book Arminianism: Another Gospel, “Arminianism is the very essence of Popery.” Not potpourri, but Popery, as in the Pope.

    He also wrote that Arminianism “appears as the gospel of Christ, but in reality is ‘another gospel.’”



    Duane Spencer said that “Arminianism is but a refinement of Pelegianism.”.



    Grover Gunn said, “Arminianism teaches salvation mostly of grace but not all of grace.”



    Edwin Palmer said, “I believe some Arminians may be born-again Christians.” How gracious of Mr. Palmer.



    According to Milburn Cockrell, “The Christ of Arminianism is not the Christ of the New Testament.”



    He also claims that “Christ and His apostles” were Calvinists!



    Joseph Wilson said that “no one has ever been or ever will be saved in the way taught by Arminianism.”

    I understand that Calvinists are obviously going to have strongly held convictions about the doctrines that separate them from other Christians, but to go so far as to claim that Calvinism IS the gospel, and that the Christ of Arminianism isn't the Christ of the N.T., and that Arminianism teaches another gospel, etc. seems to me to turn Calvinism into a cult. So I'm posting this in the Reformed Theology forum because I'm wondering what Calvinists here think of that. Do you think Calvinism is the gospel? Do you think non-Calvinists have the wrong Jesus? If you believe that do you think you're a cult member?


    6
    Calvinism in general is a cult
    0%
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    This is a small extreme cult-like form of Calvinism
    0%
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    This is real Calvinism and it's NOT a cult
    100.00%
    6

  • #2
    Originally posted by Brother Jason View Post
    If you believe that do you think you're a cult member?
    Define Cult in relation to a Christian denomination.

    And Calvinism is not a denomination, but is rather a systematic hermeneutic in the area of soteriology.

    As far as Calvinist believing that they are the only Christians, I do not believe that I have ever heard of another Calvinist believe they are the only Christians. Then again, I discern the difference between being a Christian and a saved Christian. For example, I personally believe a Christian (follower of Christ) may not even believe in God in the beginning stage of his discipleship or may even sit under the guise of horrible theology for a time.

    Whether Pelagianism teaches another Gospel, I think so. I think Pelagian or Semi Pelagianism soteriology centers itself on the lie of Genesis 3:5. Pelagianism is the soteriology of the natural man.

    As to whether Arminians are saved, I believe they are often saved by their theological contradictions. That is, if we take them verbatim then I'd have to say they believe in a distorted Gospel. Much bad theology turns out merely to be inconsistent theology and it is possible to be saved in spite of bad theology, but only if they are inconsistent, and they don't really believe what they think or say they believe.

    A fully consistent Arminian is not saved - but to be fully consistent you would have to be an open theist or something like it. But some Arminians are inconsistent, truly trusting in Christ alone, grace alone, but not thinking through what that means when it comes to faith, perseverance, etc. They are very weak in their understanding, and need to be taught the truth. IF they resist that teaching, and cling to their own contribution to salvation, it may be evidence that they are not saved. If they receive the teaching, and say, yes, this is true - it is grace alone, and grow in this, then they are saved and perhaps were before, but not enjoying their salvation, because bogged down in inconsistently bad theology. Consider that if someone is truly regenerated by the Holy Spirit but has sit for years under the false teaching of his denomination, he will become resistant to hearing the truth, especially the first time because his tradition has largely replaced it. If confronted with Scripture long enough it is probable they will be stripped of all poor understanding and self-effort, BUT many of these persons will likely NEVER have the opportunity to be confronted on this in their environment, that is, until Jesus returns. There are many Chrisitans in China in remote places who could not possibly come into contact with a theologically reformed church but the Holy Spirit may have quickened them while reading the Scriptures. I will not count out the fact that such a person may be saved. - Greg Fields - Calvinist
    God bless,
    William
    Comment>

    • #3
      I would define a Christian cult as a sect of Christianity that claims that only they have the true Jesus and the true gospel. Since you just said that Arminians can only be saved by a happy accident, would you say you've put yourself in that category? So you believe that God makes you persevere, and that if you fall from the faith one day that would prove that you weren't really saved in the first place, and if you never return to the faith that would prove that Jesus didn't die for you and that you're a reprobate. None of that is your choice, it's all the result of God's eternal decree. But a person who claims that they are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit and have been transformed by God's grace, BUT also believes that his perseverance in the faith (or lack thereof) is the result of his own free will choices somehow constitutes a false gospel? Really? Could you elaborate on that please? Thanks.
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by Brother Jason View Post
        I would define a Christian cult as a sect of Christianity that claims that only they have the true Jesus and the true gospel. Since you just said that Arminians can only be saved by a happy accident, would you say you've put yourself in that category? So you believe that God makes you persevere, and that if you fall from the faith one day that would prove that you weren't really saved in the first place, and if you never return to the faith that would prove that Jesus didn't die for you and that you're a reprobate. None of that is your choice, it's all the result of God's eternal decree. But a person who claims that they are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit and have been transformed by God's grace, BUT also believes that his perseverance in the faith (or lack thereof) is the result of his own free will choices somehow constitutes a false gospel? Really? Could you elaborate on that please? Thanks.
        You are conflating salvation and sanctification. An unsaved person cannot be sanctified, however, wrong theology on the issue of 'perseverance' will not disqualify someone from salvation.

        However, the Roman Catholic Church where I first heard the gospel, the Church of God where I first learned about Bible Precepts from a Wesleyan Arminian, the Evangelical Free Church where I learned from a Moody graduate that my personal beliefs had a name (Calvinism), the Southern Baptist Church I studied the Trinity at, and the Pentacostal Church I currently attend and learned about the Moravian Church from a pastor raised Moravian, would all agree that placing the faith for your SALVATION somewhere other than in the person and work of Jesus Christ could disqualify a person from salvation ... whatever their view on the mechanics of the perseverance of the saints.

        That was the point that William was making (and probably the point that the out of context blurbs from those books were making as well.)
        If you believe, as the poor Jehovah's Witnesses do, that you need to sell enough tracts to earn one of the 144,000 seats on the bus to Heaven, then your incorrect theology may prevent your salvation (or God may save you in spite of your beliefs rather than because of them, He does not consult with me for a second opinion on such matters).

        To be honest, I do not really sense any sort of honest inquiry or attempt to dialog in your opening post. It seems somewhat insulting, accusatory and rabble rousing. I actually hold Weslyan Arminianism in high regard. I just think that it is less Biblically supportable than Calvinism. Both views have verses that pose a challenge, I just think that Synergism has a higher hill to climb.

        Since the true yardstick for comparing Calvinism and Arminianism is really Monergism vs Synergism at the point of initial "salvation", here is a question for you:

        How can a sinful man overcome his fallen nature and slavery to sin in order to initially CHOOSE to repent?

        ​​​​​​​
        Calvinism says ... he can't ... therefore salvation is monergistic (Of and by GOD alone) [Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB]
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by Brother Jason View Post
          I would define a Christian cult as a sect of Christianity that claims that only they have the true Jesus and the true gospel.
          A Christian denomination is different than a Sect or Cult. You haven't defined any of them.

          Originally posted by Brother Jason View Post
          Since you just said that Arminians can only be saved by a happy accident, would you say you've put yourself in that category?
          Never said they were saved by accident. But what I did say was that some are probably saved despite their horrible soteriology. If nothing else they are saved despite what they profess verbatim.

          Originally posted by Brother Jason View Post
          So you believe that God makes you persevere, and that if you fall from the faith one day that would prove that you weren't really saved in the first place, and if you never return to the faith that would prove that Jesus didn't die for you and that you're a reprobate.
          That's a distortion of Calvinist soteriology and quite telling of where you are theologically.

          Originally posted by Brother Jason View Post
          But a person who claims that they are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit and have been transformed by God's grace, BUT also believes that his perseverance in the faith (or lack thereof) is the result of his own free will choices somehow constitutes a false gospel?
          I believe atpollard nailed the response.

          But I will go further and suggest that the bible nowhere says that man has an autonomous or libertarian free will.

          Originally posted by Brother Jason View Post
          Really? Could you elaborate on that please? Thanks.
          I doubt that no sound exegesis would sway your mind. But I hope that I am wrong.

          I'd like to give you a gift though:

          John 6:44
          No man can come to me (T)
          Lest the Father (U)
          Draws them to me (I)
          Then I will raise them up (L)
          On the last day (P)

          Click image for larger version

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          God bless,
          William
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by atpollard View Post
            To be honest, I do not really sense any sort of honest inquiry or attempt to dialog in your opening post. It seems somewhat insulting, accusatory and rabble rousing.
            Well, other than the fact that I used the word "cult" I really don't see what's so insulting or "rabble rousing" about my question. I asked a straightforward question and provided a list of quotes so you could understand the reason for my question. I'm sorry you found that upsetting.

            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by William View Post
              A Christian denomination is different than a Sect or Cult. You haven't defined any of them
              Ah-huh, and I never said it had to be a denomination, you're the one who keeps asserting that it has to be a denomination. What I'm more getting at is, as a Calvinist, have you encountered other Calvinists who have a sort of cult-like view of Calvinism by thinking that only Calvinists are Christians, only Calvinists have the gospel, only Calvinists have Jesus, that sort of thing. It seems to me, based off how you responded by saying that Arminians can be saved despite themselves, that you basically have that mindset yourself.

              Originally posted by William View Post
              Never said they were saved by accident. But what I did say was that some are probably saved despite their horrible soteriology.
              Yeah, which would mean they're saved by accident. I understand that you don't believe in accidents, but humor me.

              Originally posted by William View Post
              That's a distortion of Calvinist soteriology and quite telling of where you are theologically.
              Other than the fact that you wouldn't word perseverance that way I have, how exactly is that a distortion? Please tell me my theology.

              Originally posted by William View Post
              But I will go further and suggest that the bible nowhere says that man has an autonomous or libertarian free will
              That's nice, I'm not trying to actually debate Calvinism. I was simply asking, based on the above quotes, if you think that mindset of your fellow Calvinists should be considered cult-like, and if it distorts Calvinism into a cult. That's what I'm trying to discuss.

              Originally posted by William View Post
              I doubt that no sound exegesis would sway your mind. But I hope that I am wrong.
              What possessed you (other than God's eternal decree, of course) to say something like that? Again, all I did was ask a simple question and provide some quotes so you could understand why I was asking that question. We've never debated theology, we've never discussed exegesis or proper hermeneutics or anything, so why would you go out of your way to insult me, a person you've barely interacted with and know nothing about, and imply that even if you could prove something to me from the Bible that I would just dismiss it? What exactly about our extremely brief interaction has lead you to that bold judgment of a complete stranger?

              Originally posted by William View Post
              I'd like to give you a gift though:

              John 6:44
              No man can come to me (T)
              Lest the Father (U)
              Draws them to me (I)
              Then I will raise them up (L)
              On the last day (P)
              Well, on second thought, if that's what you consider "sound exegesis", you're right, I probably won't be persuaded!
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by Brother Jason View Post
                Well, other than the fact that I used the word "cult" I really don't see what's so insulting or "rabble rousing" about my question.
                What exactly about our extremely brief interaction has lead you to that bold judgment of a complete stranger?
                The fact that you came onto the board, asked Origen whether he was a heretic and went right to the creation of a thread that assumes Calvinist are a cult when you cannot even properly define a cult tells me a lot. You seemingly are in the business of trying to figure out who is a Christian or not? Are you? What you stated was that the before mentioned men eluded to who is a Christian. I see no evidence of that, but I do see them discerning theology. The fact is doctrine divides. If not, why are you an Anabaptist? Did you know that John Calvin married an Anabaptist?

                Originally posted by Brother Jason View Post
                Ah-huh, and I never said it had to be a denomination, you're the one who keeps asserting that it has to be a denomination.
                If you understood Calvinism you would know that Calvinism is not a denomination, sect, or cult but as already iterated is an area of soteriology.

                Originally posted by Brother Jason View Post
                Well, on second thought, if that's what you consider "sound exegesis", you're right, I probably won't be persuaded!
                I have no doubt that no sound exegesis would persuade you if you have actually read the detailed works of the likes of John Calvin or even James White.

                God bless,
                William
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by William View Post
                  The fact that you came onto the board, asked Origen whether he was a heretic
                  HA HA! Dude, give me a break! That was obviously a joke about the HISTORICAL Origen who most people consider a heretic (whether you like it or not), I'm not actually accusing the "Origen" in this forum of being a heretic. It was just a joke, and I thought I made that perfectly obvious when I did it.
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Brother Jason View Post

                    HA HA! Dude, give me a break! That was obviously a joke about the HISTORICAL Origen who most people consider a heretic (whether you like it or not), I'm not actually accusing the "Origen" in this forum of being a heretic. It was just a joke, and I thought I made that perfectly obvious when I did it.
                    My apologies.

                    God bless,
                    William
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by William View Post
                      If you understood Calvinism you would know that Calvinism is not a denomination, sect, or cult but as already iterated is an area of soteriology.
                      Calvinism is beyond just soteriology. It has a particular view on God's sovereignty, God's foreknowledge, anthropology, etc. So it would appear that you don't understand Calvinism.
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Brother Jason View Post

                        Calvinism is beyond just soteriology. It has a particular view on God's sovereignty, God's foreknowledge, anthropology, etc. So it would appear that you don't understand Calvinism.
                        Sovereignty and foreknowledge are directly related to soteriology. What you are suggesting is held by all Reformed and also the Protestant Lutheran denominations.

                        Religion is chiefly the study of a certain kind of human behavior, be it under the rubric of anthropology, sociology, or psychology. The study of Theology, on the other hand, is the study of God. Religion is anthropocentric; theology is theocentric. The difference between religion and theology is ultimately the difference between God and man - hardly a small difference.

                        Calvinism is theocentric.

                        God bless,
                        William
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Calvary Chapel is anti-reformed and considers Calvinism a cult.




                          James White debates the above video which is an audio of Chuck Smith (founder of Calvary Chapel)




                          James White debates Calvary Chapel.



                          God bless,
                          William
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Brother Jason View Post
                            That may seem like an odd question, especially considering I'm not a Calvinist myself, but you see, I have here a lot of quotes by prominent Calvinist theologians where they seem to be eluding to Calvinism being the only true form of Christianity. That honestly makes me wonder if the people who believe that have fashioned Calvinism into some sort of cult.

                            I understand that Calvinists are obviously going to have strongly held convictions about the doctrines that separate them from other Christians, but to go so far as to claim that Calvinism IS the gospel, and that the Christ of Arminianism isn't the Christ of the N.T., and that Arminianism teaches another gospel, etc. seems to me to turn Calvinism into a cult. So I'm posting this in the Reformed Theology forum because I'm wondering what Calvinists here think of that. Do you think Calvinism is the gospel? Do you think non-Calvinists have the wrong Jesus? If you believe that do you think you're a cult member?
                            I decided to go back to the top and discuss this head on (absent the snippets of out of context quotes).

                            Let me present a similar question from history as a starting point to clarify MY position on this and my objection with how you have framed the question. The First Century Jews were divided between Pharasies and Sadducees (theologically). The Sadducees believed that only the first five books of the OT were divinely inspired, so anything not taught by Moses was not the Word of God. The Pharasies believed that all of the books in our OT were inspired by God. As a result, Moses never spoke of the Ressurection of the dead, so the Sadducees claimed that God never said that there is anything after death. Later books do speak briefly of both an afterlife and the Ressurection of the dead, so the Pharasies claimed that God does teach about an afterlife and the Ressurection of the dead. Clearly, they are not both correct in their theology. At least one group must be wrong. Yet when the Pharasies claim that they are correct and the Sadducees are incorrect and that God did inspire all scripture (as NT writers and Jesus himself affirm), you would claim that the Pharasies are acting like a cult and accusing the Sadducees of not being Jews.

                            That is not what the Pharasies were claiming. They were claiming that the Pharasies had a more correct understanding of theology than the Sadducees (which is true, since both Jesus and Paul were Pharasies and not Sadducees from a theological perspective). Calvinism and Arminianism, likewise, have mutually exclusive views of how God saves. God cannot both save all by himself as a complete act of His soverign will, and as a cooperative venture that requires our consent and participation. One view (at a minimum) must be wrong. Calvinism claims that Monergism and the Soverighnty of God are supported by scripture and the ability of fallen man to act contrary to his fallen nature and choose to repent without God first regenerating (saving) him is not taught in scripture.

                            The Calvinist claim "to teach what the Bible teaches" does not make it a cult, nor does it mean that only Calvinists are saved, however no matter what Arminians believe, the Bible says what it says and Calvinists will not deny it for some ecumenical "kumbaya". The Sadducees will one day discover that the Psalms of David and the writings of Daniel were indeed God breathed, and the Arminians will one day discover that God really is SOVERIGN.

                            On that day, you will both (Sadducees and Arminians) need to suck it up and deal with it.
                            So to directly answer your question, Calvinists are not the only Christians and they are not a cult ... we are just Biblically correct.
                            Last edited by atpollard; 07-27-2017, 08:35 AM.
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Originally posted by atpollard View Post
                              I decided to go back to the top and discuss this head on (absent the snippets of out of context quotes).

                              Let me present a similar question from history as a starting point to clarify MY position on this and my objection with how you have framed the question. The First Century Jews were divided between Pharasies and Sadducees (theologically). The Sadducees believed that only the first five books of the OT were divinely inspired, so anything not taught by Moses was not the Word of God. The Pharasies believed that all of the books in our OT were inspired by God. As a result, Moses never spoke of the Ressurection of the dead, so the Sadducees claimed that God never said that there is anything after death. Later books do speak briefly of both an afterlife and the Ressurection of the dead, so the Pharasies claimed that God does teach about an afterlife and the Ressurection of the dead. Clearly, they are not both correct in their theology. At least one group must be wrong. Yet when the Pharasies claim that they are correct and the Sadducees are incorrect and that God did inspire all scripture (as NT writers and Jesus himself affirm), you would claim that the Pharasies are acting like a cult and accusing the Sadducees of not being Jews.

                              That is not what the Pharasies were claiming. They were claiming that the Pharasies had a more correct understanding of theology than the Sadducees (which is true, since both Jesus and Paul were Pharasies and not Sadducees from a theological perspective). Calvinism and Arminianism, likewise, have mutually exclusive views of how God saves. God cannot both save all by himself as a complete act of His soverign will, and as a cooperative venture that requires our consent and participation. One view (at a minimum) must be wrong. Calvinism claims that Monergism and the Soverighnty of God are supported by scripture and the ability of fallen man to act contrary to his fallen nature and choose to repent without God first regenerating (saving) him is not taught in scripture.

                              The Calvinist claim to teach what the Bible teaches does not make it a cult, nor does it mean that only Calvinists are saved, however no matter what Arminians believe, the Bible says what it says and Calvinists will not deny it for some ecumenical "kumbaya". The Sadducees will one day discover that the Psalms of David and the writings of Daniel were indeed God breathed, and the Arminians will one day discover that God really is SOVERIGN.

                              On that day, you will both (Sadducees and Arminians) need to suck it up and deal with it.
                              So to directly answer your question, Calvinists are not the only Christians and they are not a cult ... we are just Biblically correct.
                              Great response, atpollard. I learned something here and grew with you in the faith.

                              God bless,
                              William

                              Comment>
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