Posts Tagged ‘calvinism’


The Doctrines of Grace are clearly taught in the tenth chapter of the gospel of John. “sheep” are believers.

John 10

14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Who did Christ lay down his life for? The sheep. All who will be believers. The elect

24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.[b] 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

Why didn’t they believe? Because they were NOT of the sheep. Then Christ goes on to explain that all his sheep know his voice and will finally follow and believe and not only that but He will not lose ANY of his sheep and gives then ETERNAL life not temporary life.

We see here Total Depravity (they can’t believe because they are not sheep) Unconditional Election (he knows the sheep by name) Limited Atonement (Christ died for sheep only) Effectual Grace ( all his sheep WILL believe and follow His voice) and Perseverance of the Saints (He will lose NONE of his sheep but gives them ETERNAL LIFE)

Doctrines of Grace in a nutshell

Praise God!!!!


“Fourth, if election is from foreseen faith, God would not have elected man, but rather man would have elected God, and so predestination should rather be called postdestination; the first cause would be made the second, and God would depend of man (the falsity of which, both the thing itself exclaims and Christ expressly testifies: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” (Jn. 15:16).

Francis Turretin, Institutes of elenctic theology, trans. G. M. Giger, ed. J. T. Dennison (1679; 3 vols, Philipsburgh, 1992), i, 361.


In the reformed community there is a debate that continues on whether we are to refer to Gods outward goodness to the non-elect (reprobates) as “common grace” or as “providence”.

My intention in this short article is not to give a full polemic or a refutation but rather to merely share my own view concerning this topic.

My own studies of scripture and historical theology has helped me come to the conclusion that the term to be properly used is “Providence”, or may I suggest “common providence”, rather than “common grace” for the following reasons:

1. The phrase “common grace” is not found in our reformed confessional standards as correctly noted by the OPC website here.

“First, our confessional standards do not use the term “Common Grace” (nor do they include the 1924 statement of the Christian Reformed Church or CRC), and the concept of Common Grace does not appear to be present in our standards either.” (OPC website Q&A section)

Strikingly, Calvin says that any grace or faith attributed to the reprobate is only “by catechresis”; a tropical or improper form of expression; only because they … exhibit some appearance of obedience to it” (Institutes 3.2.9).

2. The term “charis” used for grace is never once used in Scripture to teach Gods disposition towards the reprobate but only towards the Elect.

“Scripture never uses chen or charis to refer to his blessings on creation generally or on non-elect humanity” (John Frame, The Doctrine of God: a Theology of Lordship (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 2002), pp. 429-30.
162)

“To distinguish the special redemptive work of God from his general providence to all, some have attempted to use terms with more precision. The term “grace” is often restricted to the redemptive work of God toward his elect, and not more broadly of the care of God for all his creatures. The term “common grace” was used by the early reformers in several senses but not as if God works benevolently toward those he has chosen to condemn eternally.” (Dr. Bob Burridge PCA, Effectual calling)

3. It causes grave confusion with many who are stuck between Arminianism and Calvinism as the phrase “common grace” and the idea that God loves all including the non-elect is used by Arminians to justify their Universal Atonement and resistable grace to name a few.

4. The fact that what the non-elect receive from God furthers their condemnation and heap Gods wrath all the more cannot be considered as “grace”. Adding to this concept, the fact that there is a blessing/curse aspect to the covenantal signs and seals absolutely refutes the usage of “common grace” in my opinion.

Calvin writes: “This is invariably true, and is not inconsistent with the fact, that the large benefits which the divine liberality is constantly bestowing on the wicked are preparing them for heavier judgment.” (Institutes of the Christian religion III, ii, 32)

In Romans 2:4-5 it reads:

“4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”

Calvin again writes:

“Not knowing that the goodness of God, etc. For the Lord by his kindness shows to us, that it is he to whom we ought turn, if we desire to secure our wellbeing, and at the same time he strengthens our confidence in expecting mercy. If we use not God’s bounty for this end, we abuse it. But yet it is not to be viewed always in the same light; for when the Lord deals favorably with his servants and gives them earthly blessings, he makes known to them by symbols of this kind his own benevolence, and trains them up at the same time to seek the sum and substance of all good things in himself alone: when he treats the transgressors of his law with the same indulgence, his object is to soften by his kindness their perverseness; he yet does not testify that he is already propitious to them, but, on the contrary, invites them to repentance. But if any one brings this objection — that the Lord sings to the deaf as long as he does not touch inwardly their hearts; we must answer — that no fault can be found in this case except with our own depravity. But I prefer rendering the word which Paul here uses, leads, rather than invites, for it is more significant; I do not, however, take it in the sense of driving, but of leading as it were by the hand.

verse 5. But according to thy hardness, etc. When we become hardened against the admonitions of the Lord, impenitence follows; and they who arc not anxious about repentance openly provoke the Lord.

This is a remarkable passage: we may hence learn what I have already referred to — that the ungodly not only accumulate for themselves daily a heavier weight of God’s judgments, as long as they live here, but that the gifts of God also, which they continually enjoy, shall increase their condemnation; for an account of them all will be required: and it will then be found, that it will be justly imputed to them as an extreme wickedness, that they had been made worse through God’s bounty, by which they ought surely to have been improved. Let us then take heed, lest by unlawful use of blessings we lay up for ourselves this cursed treasure.” (Calvin’s Commentaries)

5. Our reformed confessions of faith also uses the term “providence” to refer to God sovereignty over all things including sin and the restraint of it.

WCF chpt. V Of Providence

“I. God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.”

This takes care of the restraint of sin in the world

“VI. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous Judge, for former sins, does blind and harden, from them He not only withholds His grace whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts; but sometimes also withdraws the gifts which they had, and exposes them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God uses for the softening of others.

VII. As the providence of God does, in general, reach to all creatures; so, after a most special manner, it takes care of His Church, and disposes all things to the good thereof.”

This takes care of the general good done to all creatures both elect and non-elect BUT in a “special manner” takes care of His Church aka the Elect.

Heidelberg Catechism
Providence
Lord’s Day 10
“27. What do you understand by the providence of God?
The almighty, everywhere-present power of God,1 whereby, as it were by His hand, He still upholds heaven and earth with all creatures, and so governs them that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink,4 health and sickness, riches and poverty, indeed, all things come not by chance,7 but by His fatherly hand.”

Dr. Kenneth Talbot President of Whitefield Theological Seminary Writes: “There is nothing common about the “grace” of our God. However, there is a common goodness of God towards all men. Common grace implies a logical implication of universalism. Ricky you are correct, the common goodness of God towards all men is within the context of God’s providence. Goodness must not be confused with grace. Grace is particular – it is only extended to the elect. Goodness however is extended to all men. Got to run.” (on my facebook page)

I argue then that is within sound scriptural exegesis and confessionally sound to rather reject such a notion and refer to Gods restraining of sin and common gifts to men as “Providence” as all the Reformed Confessions teach. To go beyond this proper term leads to Amyraldianism and Universal Atonement, though many would inconsistently reject this conclusion. Grace in Scripture ALWAYS leads to salvation.

God does not in any portion of Scripture states that He loves the reprobate in any way shape or form. This is one of the main reasons “common grace” is rejected because it goes to the extreme by saying God has some sort of secondary class love for the reprobate which is not justified by scripture. When God gives good gifts to the reprobate it is for their condemnation so then that would be wrath and justice not mercy or grace.

The Well Meant Offer of the Gospel

Another doctrine that is often attached to “common grace” is the concept that the offer of the gospel is even unto the reprobate considered as “grace”. This is also an erroneous assertion made by common gracer’s.

Neo-Calvinists have taken this concept to another level and began to teach that God indeed loves every single individual and sincerely offers even unto the non-elect the option of salvation and desires their salvation to which I thoroughly disagree and affirm that this is neither biblical nor logical.

Grace is infinite eternal and unchangeable and since there are no variables in God, there is no other grace. What I want to know is how can one infer God’s intention from His precepts? Yes, God commands everyone every where to repent and believe, yet He only determines the elect to do so, of that, there is no doubt. However, I say that repentance is the reprobate’s duty, but to the elect repentance is a gift. God grants them repentance. Now, is it God’s intention to save the reprobate when He commands them to repent and believe? No.

God has a will of command and a will of decree, that is not to say though that God has two wills. That concept is preposterous. Rather it is emphasizing different aspects of the working of God’s will. A double minded man is unstable in all of his ways. What about a double minded God. God’s will is one. All of God’s attributes are one. It is a bridge too far to change the nature of God in order to postulate a doctrine that scripture refutes. I have no problem with saying God is in a sense good to the non-elect and allows them to breathe and eat etc.. but I believe people go to far when they start asserting that God actually in a very real desirable way Wills or WANTS the reprobate whom He created for a vessel of Wrath per Romans 9 to be saved. That’s the problem with this version of Common Grace. I believe because God is Providential the reprobate get exactly what God wants them to get and ARE USED FOR HIS GLORY JUST LIKE SATAN IS AND PHARAOH WAS AND JUDAS WAS.

For a full refutation of this version of the “Well Meant Offer” made more popular and postulated by Dr. John Murray see Dr. Matthew Winzer’s “Murray on the Free Offer of the Gospel: A Review

Final Thoughts

We understand the want to use the term “grace” because its undeserved and all that. If you don’t mind me saying, In my analysis of many individuals I have spoken to regarding this they are caught up in the desire to generalize the term “grace” and its definition. The thing is though that while people want to simplify and generalize the definition, Scripture on the other hand gives “grace” a special definition and is reserved specifically for Gods Elect people. Not name calling here but its the same generalizing principle that Arminians do when speaking of the Atonement. They want to simplify Christ atoning death and make it general for all, while we know that Scripture gives the atonement a special definition and is reserved specifically for the Elect. The Amyraldian make the same argument in this regard using common grace and generalizing not only the term “grace” but also generalizing the Atonement for all, Elect and reprobate, but that its effect is only for the Elect. Therefore according to them, the intent of the Cross is for “all” but the effect is for “some”. How do they try to justify this contradiction? The same way those who claim that God loves the reprobate in some way and that God desires the reprobate to be saved but doesn’t save them justify their claim, they quickly pull out the “Two Wills of God” card. The Amyraldians say that God in His Will of Precept intended the cross for all since he desires all to repent and believe but that in Gods Will of Decree did not choose to grant the cross to effect all. Do you see how this abuse of using Gods one will in the divided sense is done from both of these? Yes, God indeed has a Will of Decree and a Will of Command or Precept but this does not entail the above false assertions. We explain this divided sense to Arminians when they object to us Evangelizing to all while maintaining Election among a few things, only then is it proper to use that.

Now, common gracer’s maintain that because the non-elect receive gifts that are underserved that it is obviously “grace”. Ok, we get that. BUT I would argue that the gifts that the non-elect do receive are well deserved, why? Because as we have already maintained, these gifts serve the purpose of hardening them more and adding to their condemnation and destruction. This is the correct way of looking at it biblically. Therefore, if these gifts God gives the reprobate do not serve to whoo them to salvation nor benefit them spiritually in any way but serve to justly condemn them, bringing upon them Gods Holy wrath; brothers and sisters I submit to you that these gifts are curses, wrath and justice WHICH THE NON-ELECT CLEARLY DO DESERVE. I reiterate then that it cannot in any way shape or form be referred to as “Grace”.

I leave you with this scenario:

There is a supervisor of a company that has a constant beef with an employee. Now this employee hates the supervisors with a passion and is constantly acting insubordinate and rebellious, the supervisor in turn also hates the employee because of this malice towards him and everyone else in the company including the employees evidently see this conflict between the two. One morning a company meeting is held and during the meeting in front of everyone the supervisor presents the rebellious employee with a brand new iphone 5. This is to everyone’s shock because they all know about the animosity between the two and cannot for the life of them understand why the supervisor would give the employee who hates him a free gift of that nature or even a gift at all. Everyone leaves the meeting puzzled and scratching their heads as to this issue. The rebellious employee in the meantime continues to enjoy his brand new iphone and making fun of the supervisor who gave it to him and claiming how stupid he is and all that never giving the supervisor any credit or any gratefulness for the gift but nevertheless continues to enjoy the gift. Two days later the rebellious employee doesn’t show up for work and everyone is wondering where he is, as it turns out the iphone that was given to him exploded while he was using it and blew his brains out because the supervisor planted a micro-bomb into the phone before he gave it to the rebellious employee and took out his wrath on him in that way. When the other employees found out about that the supervisor planted a bomb into the phone they then truly understood why he gave the rebellious employee that free gift, it was for his death sentence his condemnation and judgement.

Now, do you think that was such a gracious gift? I for one don’t think so.

What the non-elect receive may indeed seem gracious in the outward perspective looking at it in a temporal manner, but since the scriptures reveal to us the reason and future outcome per Gods Decree for such outward gifts we then should not conclude that these outward gifts are given because God loves the non-elect and desires their salvation in the so called “common grace” of God.

Grace and Peace to the Elect in Christ


First let me state that I will be using the Westminster Confession of Faith(a Reformed Confession) to summarize the doctrines that we are going to investigate.

WCF 9:2,3

II. Man, in his state of innocence, had freedom, and power to will and to do that which was good and well pleasing to God; but yet, mutably, so that he might fall from it.

III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself to it.

The position a person takes concerning the way in which God saves man will be, to a large extent, due to the view one takes in reference to sin and its effect on man’s nature hence the reason why we will begin with Total Depravity for it entails the status or condition of man’s will after the fall.

When you hear us Calvinist/Reformed speak of being totally depraved what we mean by this is that man’s nature is corrupt, perverse, and sinful throught his whole being. What we DON’T MEAN by it is that man is as corrupt and perverse as he could possibly be, this is not what we mean by “total”. The word “total” for us then means that the WHOLE of man’s being is affected by sin this corruption of sin extends to EVERY part of man body and soul. Sin has defiled the totality of man’s faculties, his mind and his WILL.

There is a point that I find is neglected in these discussions concerning this subject. Please refer to the WCF paragraph 2 that I included above. Notice what it says. Humanity was not originally made in this corrupt condition. God made Adam and Eve upright with TRUE FREE WILL. The early church father St. Augustine described this free condition as “posse peccare and posse non peccare” which in latin means that Adam had the ability to sin and the ability NOT TO SIN this was freedom in its essence. He had no natural desire to choose evil.

BUT! In the fall Adam lost the ability NOT TO SIN for himself and for his offsprings, us (this is the doctrine of Original Sin) and plunged us into spiritual ruin and death. Also destroying the ability to choose spiritual good over evil. As a result of this cosmic tragedy man will is no longer free as Adam and Eve’s will was free before the fall, instead man’s will is in bondage to his sinful nature the will now becoming a slave to sin and dead to righteousness.

Now we are all born in sin, inhereting this depravity the unregenerate (spiritually dead) person is totally unable to do anything spiritually good therefore being unable to choose God in and of himself or to do anything contributing to his or her salvation. The Scriptures teach that man in this fallen state are enemies of God by “nature” blind and deaf to spiritual truth, dead in trespasses and sin, children of satan enslaved and under his control, their hearts are corrupt and evil. Man if left in this dead state are unable of themselves to believe the Gospel, repent, and come to Christ. Man has no power to change their own nature or to ressurect themselves and follow Christ.

Man must be made alive being born again by the power of the Holy Spirit given a NEW heart in order to follow Christ.

We still have a will and the ability to choose but the problem is that we will NEVER choose any spiritual good (we’re dead spiritually) but will ALWAYS choose spiritual evil (because we are its slave and love being one).

Heart/Mind (Deceitful and Wicked)

•Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

•Titus 1:15-16 – to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.

•Ecclesiastes 9:3 – Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

•Romans 1:28-31 – And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were… foolish

•Ephesians 4:17-18 – you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

•Jeremiah 10:7-8,14 – among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you. They are both stupid and foolish… Every man is stupid and without knowledge

•Matthew 15:19 – “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (c.f. Mark 7:21-23)

•Genesis 6:5 & 8:21 – The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… from his youth.

•Proverbs 10:20 – the heart of the wicked is of little worth.

•Proverbs 28:26 – Whoever trusts in his own [heart] is a fool

Mans Will a slave not free

•John 8:34 – Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”

•2 Peter 2:19 – They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

•Titus 3:3 – For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

•Galatians 4:8-9 – Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

•Romans 6:6,16,17,19,20 – We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey…? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed… For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

•Romans 7:14 – For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.

•2 Timothy 2:25-26 – God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

It would also be best to read these passages in their context….

Natural man in his dead state cannot comprehend the gospel or come to saving knowledge of God on his own will.

•1 Corinthians 2:14 – The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

•2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – our gospel is veiled… to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

•1 Corinthians 1:18,21-24 – For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles

•Deuteronomy 29:2-4 – And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.”

•Matthew 11:27 – “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

•Romans 8:7-9 – For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Dead man cannot can come to God or choose salvation

•John 3:27 – John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.”

•John 14:16-17 – “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.”

•John 1:12-13 – But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

•John 6:44,65 – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

•Romans 9:16 – So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

•Romans 11:35-36 – “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things.

•1 Corinthians 1:30 – And because of him you are in Christ Jesus

•Philippians 2:13 – for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
It is God who must resurrect the dead man

•Colossians 2:13 – And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses

•Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-5 – And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked… But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved

And my Favorite:

•Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ahhhhhh what amazing and sweet Grace!!

This in essence is Total Depravity


Mangled History

In the age old debate between Calvinist and Arminians you have good thorough scholarly work on both sides though disagreement arises in the exegetical (interpretation) portion of such writings. But then you have what you mostly see on the internet, what I like to call “internet theologians” and I’m using the word “theologian” very lightly in reference to these individuals. What you will find is that these self proclaimed “teachers” in their blind zeal do not actually do their homework and research before attempting to come against other points of view and or doctrine they disagree with, they don’t read original sources but instead depend on second and third party sources such as other internet theologians and self proclaimed teachers and they also base their theological backg round information and teaching on Wikipedia in doing so misinterpret not only the view they have taken up to critique but also with this lens misinterpret scripture to back their claims up, the blind leading the blind. In the debate world this is called a strawman argument which means that they build a weak and false version of the view they are attempting to attack hence the straws and then they proceed to tear down this strawman they have falsely built and then proclaim some type of victory or sound critique when in fact what they did was actually attack and tear down a point of view of their own imagination, not dealing with the actual arguments of the proposed view and not only that but also, and what is more disturbing, accuse the other view of error by attempting to use church history but what is actually being taught by these guys is historical opinion based on unhistorical events. This type of rhetoric is really frustrating for those who actually know what they believe because all it does is complicate the matter worse and tends to keep honest discussion going in circles and people talking past each other. This type of stuff is what you mostly see on blogs and Internet articles that attempt to discredit Reformed theology and or Calvinism. It is with this in mind that I will attempt to tackle a few recent articles written by a fellow blogger whose HipHop name is Justparadox which is also his screen name not sure what his real name is actually, who uses such erroneous techniques to proclaim a sound defense against Calvinism. The first part of this critique of his critique will then focus on the inaccurate historical statements. All in all I am contemplating that this entire critique will consist of 3 or 4 parts but we will just have to see. You can read these critiques for yourself at his blog paradoxparables.wordpress.com for further reading.

Why have I taken it upon myself to focus on this brother’s article out of the plethora of erroneous articles out there? Well, because this brother is part of my culture and pretty much have the same audience not to mention like myself he is also a member of a pretty large Christian hip hop community that gather at a website called Holy Culture Radio and also contributes to the message boards there where these things are discussed ad naseum. For those who don’t know me, I don’t claim to be some scholar or heavy theologian, yet hehe, so my critiques will not be so intellectual and professional that I omit my own character in it, I am going to be myself and speak as I always do speaking the truth in love, with a hint of sarcasm and comedy lol…

So then, first and foremost this part of my critique will consist of simply showing the historical errors this individual has made concerning Calvinism and its effects on the Church, people usually just cut to the chase and engage in a proof-text war with each other but I would like to take a different approach and start with the critiques use of history to support its assertions and false claims. I will be quoting him extensively to leave no room for speculation or claims of misrepresentation and will quote him as each misrepresentation appears chronologically in his article, his words will be in blue. Let us begin……..

Historical fallacies in part 1 of Justparadox’s critique

“To understand the Calvinistic Order of Salvation (Ordo Salutis) you have to understand the Catholic Ordo Salutis and Catechism.”

Really? How so? Where is his sources for such assertions? On the contrary the Ordo Salutis that is taught by Reformed theology is found in Romans 8:29-30 and has nothing whatsoever to do with a parallel or response to the so called Catholic ordo salutis and or their Catechism. The Romans passage reads as follows:

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)

This is what we call the Golden Chain of Salvation aka the Order of Salvation aka Ordo Salutis (Latin). Foreknowledge(fore loving not foreknowing our actions) predestination, calling, justification, glorification and all these ALREADY DONE in a true believer, the only step missing is Sanctification which is a ongoing process through the power of the Holy Spirit in us though technically also already done since it is God that gives us the want and ability to walk according to His statutes and His law that is ENGRAVED in our hearts.

“I’ve heard the debates for and against Arminianism and Calvinism and have always took a more balanced approach than either side takes this is not a new discussion just one that needs to be revisited in favor of balance and real reform, not just “Reformed” Catholicism. Martin Luther’s goal was to Reform Catholicism not repent and return to pre-Catholic biblical faith.”

“Martin Luther never sought to leave the Catholic Church, therefore all his followers are Reformed Catholics whether Episcopalian, Lutheran or any other form of Reformed follower of Martin Luther or his disciples.”

Here is our first example of his poor use of history but even worse his self claim of omniscience since he claims to know Luther’s heart in asserting that Luther’s goal was not to repent and return to pre-Catholic truth. Serious students of theology and Church history know that this statement is false reformed or not. While it is true that Luther wanted to Reform the Roman Catholic Church, his main objective was in fact to bring Rome back to the scriptures and eliminate all the man made traditions and man made sacraments of Rome as evident in his famous 95 thesis that he nailed to the castle church of Wittenburg. Most importantly what struck Luther was the phrase in the book of Romans that read “the just shall live by faith” and realized that faith is the sole means of justification and salvation without works of which Rome vigorously taught and in doing so Luther indeed did repent of his traditions of Rome and false teachings which resulted in his excommunication from Rome and enflamed the zealous fire of the Reformation. In other words since Rome did not accept Luther’s revisions and reform he was kicked out of the Roman Church his life also being threatened and Luther started a reformation of the people instead which spread like wild across Europe. Therefore Luthers and the Reformers main objective and teachings were to actually return to pre-Roman Catholic biblical faith hence the Great Reformation of the 16th century and its latin slogan POST TENEBRAS LUX when translated means AFTER DARKNESS LIGHT and what they meant by that is that the Church was in biblical darkness for many years but now has the Holy Spirit brought them back to its Biblical truth with its Light of the True Gospel. Thank God for Luther and the Reformation or we will still be worship ping Mary and praying to statues of saints which is Idolatry.

As far as his calling us reformed folk “Reformed Catholics” I don’t mind accepting that label as long as it is understood that it is NOT Roman Catholic and being the fact that the term “catholic” means Universal, therefore “Reformed Catholic” meaning the Universal Reformed Church. Lets move on then.

“The founders of many pseudo Christian cults (Jehovah’s Witnesses & 7th Day Adventist for one) have used this doctrine as a spring board to start anti-Christian doctrines.”

Now this assertion is extremely false and not even close to being a historical fact. I was almost not going to even entertain this assertion but for the sake of the uninformed I thought it would be best to at least say a little sumtin sumtin bout it, lol.

First of all, these cultic movements did not appear til like 200yrs later. Second of all, 7th day adventist are purely Arminian in their soteriology and heretical in their view of the atonement. Third and most importantly, the “spring board” that started the JW movement was their heretical view of the person of Christ (Arianism resurge) not double predestination which again the JW’s are Arminian to the core in their soteriology hence why I am baffled by such claims as this as an attempt to poison the well of Calvinism and make us look like something we are not. If you read his article you will see no actual sources for these claims whatsoever.

“Calvin’s first point asserts that the entire human (body, and soul, intellect and will) are fallen and helpless, passive and dead.”

This statement shows the lack of research in this paper. Calvin did not formulate the Doctrines of Grace aka 5 points of Calvinism a thorough investigation would have corrected this mistake. What’s interesting is that he got it right the first time in the beginning of this paper where he stated that the 5 points were a response to the Arminian 5 points of Remonstrance but then turns around and states that it was Calvin. I scratch my head and wonder if the writer of this paper even understands or is paying attention to what he is reading instead of just searching for points to attack, well I am not omniscient so I don’t know but it just seems that way.

“The inappropriate and false teachings of predestination have caused many to turn to false religions and paganism and as such are doctrines that do cause offense.”

Again, where is the proof? Where is his sources? Was there a consensus done to come up with this statistic? This is also a mere assertion that holds no weight.

“Calvin makes this his first point as a point of contention yet they seem to be in agreement at least in essence in the first part that man can not save himself.”

Once again this is incorrect. Calvin did not formulate the 5 points and so it cannot be stated that the first point of Calvinism was Calvins first point of contention, this is not a fact nor historical truth.

“The term saint was used for believers who were walking in the way of the Sect of the Nazarene, some came and some went, they are the foundation for the true Church.”

Wrong, the term “saint” was most vigourously used by the Apostle Paul to identify and refer to ALL Christians world-wide as found in most of his epistles, lets take a look a few:

Romans 1:7
7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor. 1:2
2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

2 Cor. 1:1
1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:

Ephesians 1:1
1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful [1] in Christ Jesus:

Philippians 1:1
1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants [1] of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers [2] and deacons: [3]

I assume you guys get the point.

Now the following statements by Justparadox were in response to my replies in his blogsite where he posted this paper. These few will also be historical errors one or two restated from above comments.

“Reformed theology has spawned the Jehovah’s Witness and Seventh Day Adventist, because the hard line they take both cults reacted to Calvinistic over reactions. Bet you didn’t know that.”

This is a reiteration of an above comment he made that I already spoke to. But suffice it to say once again that this assertion is false and unhistorical and once again, where are his resources for making such an assumption? He has none but probably false bias websites who make such false claims against Calvinism to make the system look evil, pure absurdity if you ask me. This tactic is dishonest and unscholarly.

“Martin Luther was only a reformed Catholic, the reformation didn’t fulfill its call to return to the first love it only reformed some bad Catholicism and kept other bad doctrine.”

Lol, he asserted something similar above to which I also already responded to. But let me add that the SOLE purpose of the reformation was in fact to return to sound biblical teaching as evident in the Reformers deeds and writings, now whether you agree with Reformed theology or not thats a different case but to claim that Luther and the Reformers (John Calvin, Zwingli, Knox to name a few) intention was to only remove some bad Catholicism is utterly ridiculous and false.

I conclude this first part with some advice to those seeking to really understands these debates and or disagreements. Really simple, DO YOUR HOMEWORK! No really if you are going to engage in study of this subject or ANY subject then actually study and thoroughly read the actual writings and works of what it is you are studying whether it be Calvinism, Eschatology, Apologetics or whatever, be of sound mind and actually do honest justice to what the subject at hand.

To be continued……………………..part 2 dealing with the strawmen and false charactitures next……stay tuned


Grace and Peace, I am Richard Roldan preferably Ricky. I’m married with 2 children and 2 stepchildren who all live with me. But before being regenerated aka being born again I was pretty much a bad dude. You know the whole thug life, drug dealin gun wheelin lifestyle etc… don’t feel the need to go into details cause that would be a book actually LOL…..no but seriously, I made an official commitment to Christ at the age of 20 since being raised in a Christian home where your pops is a pastor, you really don’t know when that actual regeneration occurred and I don’t think anyone really does, but anyways I stop thuggin cold turkey like the next day, which brought me some trouble but that’s another story. Ever since I have been given a Godly desire to take the gospel and sound doctrine back to da hood aka my culture…..not that my culture is all hood but that is term we lovingly use to describe the inner-city and urban environment.

Basically, I feel called by the Lord to be an Evangelist/Reformer/Pastor to my culture, to bring them the true message of the gospel and teach them sound christian doctrine as found in our creeds and reformed confessions, which we in the Reformed faith, believe are the accurate summaries of the Word of God. I do not have any formal training but I have been studying biblical theology and systematic theology through the same means as bible college and seminary students via books, audio, video, and mentors for the last 19yrs and I also have been teaching for 18yrs but I am open to getting a formal training for the sake of better credentials and hanging a degree up on my wall…lol…..not to downplay formal training or anything, there is much need for it, believe it!

Now what culture do I refer to? By that I do not mean my spanish culture as many people quickly assume being that I’m Puerto Rican or Philarican, I was born in Philly, rather what I mean by my culture is the Hip Hop culture/inner city urban culture to which I was born and raised in. This culture is a sub-INTERNATIONAL culture, I emphasis international because individuals not learned of this culture quickly assume it is only a sub-American culture, which it is but not limited to America. This like any other culture or nation must also be evangelized and discipled as the principles of our Reformed faith mandate, a Reform Ordinance sort of speak, to bring nations and its cultures to Christ receiving this command by our Lord in the Great Commission.

Some of you will not understand this need, and to be quite frank, it makes me no difference being that my concern is for those likened to me in the same culture I was raised in. Christ calls us to engage the culture not attempt to change it but He does call us to to call them to repentance and to shun the sins of the culture. That’s a little about myself and the intentions of my heart.