5 points of calvanism


#1

Hi everyone. So here is my dilemma: My best friend is Baptist and has recently introduced me to the 5 points of Calvanism which are, total depravity, unconditonal election, limited atonement, irresistable grace, and perserverance of the saints. I am trying to convey the catholic point of view to her in the best way possible and at times I have trouble doing that. If anyone has any good references for me, verses, information…anything that could help me argue against these points from the catholic perspective I would really appreciate it. Thanks and God bless!


#2

Try Jimmy Akin’s “A Tiptoe Through TULIP”.


#3

[quote=Vincent]Try Jimmy Akin’s “A Tiptoe Through TULIP”.
[/quote]

Is there anything Jimmy Akin doesn’t have a pamphlet on? :stuck_out_tongue:

DaveBj


#4

Here is an article on the Envoy Magazine site which might be helpful to you.
envoymagazine.com/planetenvoy/080304-SnippingCalvinsTulip-Full.htm


#5

Hmmmm,

Apart from anything else that I maybe could add to this, I’ll just say that you will have a hard time coming across as anything but what you’re friend will consider as an “Armenian.” You’d do well to avoid all titles, like “Wesleyan.” If you’re in unchartered territory here, than read up on St. Augustine, who wrote much on grace, justification, and predestination. Yeah, it will take some time, but you’ll be a better Catholic for it. Augustine is not a “Calvinist” (as if), and Calvin was not an Augustinian. Nor was Luther, though he was an Augustinian monk. Luther departed and followed a novel philosophy that influenced much of the Reformers’ mindset.

Where to start? I’d suggest “On the Spirit and the Letter” and “On Nature and Grace” oh yeah, “On Grace and Free Will” and also, “A Treatise on the Predestination of the Saints.”

They all happen to be here:
ccel.org/fathers2/NPNF1-05/TOC.htm

If you click on one of the titles, and it doesn’t bring up the main text, then just click on the little red page forward link, and it will take you there.

They are primarily works against Pelagians.

Basically, there’s agreement to faith being a gift of God, unmerited favor, but disagreement between Catholics and Calvinists on the specific outworking(s) of predestination.

But don’t take my word for it, consult the Father, Fathers Know Best!!

I’ll say this much, if nothing else, you will be encouraged and strengthened by reading just one of those suggested works. And, you’ll be presented with teachings that will truly challenge your Baptist friend.

I will say also, that the Catholic faith seems to be more “touchy feely” and Calvinists are more into the “unknown decree” of God. Like, Catholics should believe in God’s election and predestination and moving the hearts of men as He wishes, but aren’t apt to talk about it much like a Calvinist would. And, obviously, they should be at disagreement once they actually talk about it much beyond surface level.


#6

I will say also, that the Catholic faith seems to be more “touchy feely” and Calvinists are more into the “unknown decree” of God. Like, Catholics should believe in God’s election and predestination and moving the hearts of men as He wishes, but aren’t apt to talk about it much like a Calvinist would. And, obviously, they should be at disagreement once they actually talk about it much beyond surface level.

I agree with Reformed Bob and I also think its good to look at Jimmy Akins stuff.


I also think you should visit a website called " Puritans’ Mind"


apuritansmind.com/

To get where they are coming from.

John Calvin was the most brilliant, principled and theologically deep of the Reformation Fathers. I find it amusing that we are called a ‘cult’. The purest of the purest of the purest of the presumed elect are always trying to ever more perfectly distill the wisdom of his Christian Institutes, and truth be told a die hard Calvinist will hold it as very nearly canonical.


***In the end, the touchy feely side just might be the strength. Read the parables. Jesus sure did not act like a Calvinist. ***


Even when Jesus tells us to treat the erring brother like a tax collector and gentile, we are then reminded of how Jesus treated such persons; with generous consideration and love.


Hard core Calvinists are pure, proud and feircely committed to Gods’ Sovereignty. They tend to frame questions in judicial terms.


As ex Calvinist Scott Hahn points out, they do not seem to get that the trial of the Church is going to take place in a family room, not a courtroom. They are overly legalistic and unloving.


How many hospitals and orphanages are named for St Joseph, Our Lady, St Vincent de Paul, Mother Seton?


Now how many are named for John Calvin, John Knox, Rutherfordton, Oliver Cromwell or Johnathan Swift?


Be simple and charitable and focus on the words of Jesus.


For God so Loved the World…


Not merely the elect.


The real heresy of Calvinism is that it leads to an utterly and disdainfully proud piety that is essentially Manichean to the extent that it focuses on perfecting an interior disposition, while ever separating from others who are presumed to be not truly elect. Where is the ‘assurance’ of salvation?


The Calvinist is at some level always feeling a fraud and afraid he is not truly elect and that the people in his community are not truly elect, but they have to always clean up and look the part. In their hatred of Catholic ‘works’ and ‘legalism’ they creat their own world of dead works, many interior, always trying to have a truly perfect opinion to prove they are irresistably called.


Show respect, curiousity and expect them to have an answer for everything. And poke a bit of fun if you have a rapport, not at them or their beliefs but the where their belief leads. Ultimately, if all we do is gather up the elect, our own frail, failed human nature, will in pride talk us into thinking that Christs’ true Church is but three pious ladies who meet for tea on wednesday to read the Westminster Confession together.


And share Mary, if you can in a charitable way. Its what they are missing. Basically, Calvinists are not true children of the Mystery of the Incarnation. They try to have Christmas without Mary, but it does not work and they either have to act Catholic part of the year or be sourpusses.


#7

Of the modern sects that trace their roots to Calvinism - Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Dutch Reformed, or other newer denominations-- which comes closest to adhering to these 5 principles in teaching and practice?


#8

[quote=DaveBj]Is there anything Jimmy Akin doesn’t have a pamphlet on? :stuck_out_tongue:

DaveBj
[/quote]

No, considering Jimmy is one of the most prolific Catholic writers, as well as one of the most articulate and illustrative, I am GLAD he does.


#9

Thanks so much for all the info…I havent read it all yet but what I have has really helped. Thanks again!


#10

[quote=sazzle08]Hi everyone. So here is my dilemma: My best friend is Baptist and has recently introduced me to the 5 points of Calvanism which are, total depravity, unconditonal election, limited atonement, irresistable grace, and perserverance of the saints. I am trying to convey the catholic point of view to her in the best way possible and at times I have trouble doing that. If anyone has any good references for me, verses, information…anything that could help me argue against these points from the catholic perspective I would really appreciate it. Thanks and God bless!

[/quote]

Some, perhaps all, could, with a little revision, where needed, be perfectly Catholic.

It need not always be assumed that everything is wrong in the teaching of Calvin. Much of it is spot-on, such as is his insistence on the Sovereignty of God.

Why not see what you have in common with your friend ? You may well find a great deal of common ground. As Baptists are Christians, it would be astounding if there were no beliefs in common.

If election is to be gracious, and if grace is to remain grace and not become a sham with a misleading name, how can it be other than wholly unconditional ? In the OT, it is - why should it be different in the NT ? Abram, Jacob, Moses, David and the rest were not elected to serve God because they had anyrthing in them to recommend them - there was no reason to elect them at all, so God did elect them.

God elected, created, and made Israel His son, not because Israel was a great and mighty and strong nation - it became strong in God because it was elected by God. That election is the only important thing about it - in most ways, it was a completely unremarkable and insignificant people. God elects out of His sheerly gracious goodness, and for no other reason. Paul was not an Apostle because he deserved to be - he was no fitter than Caiaphas to be an Apostle. But God elects those who are nothing, that He may make them something - He has a bias to the poor, the weak, the powerless, so as to humble the rich and mighty and strong - see the Magnificat in Luke 1.46-56.

FWIW, if our election is conditioned by God’s foreknowledge of our good works, how is our election based on God’s free grace ? That - IMO repulsive POV - is permitted in the CC, but so, thank goodness, is that notion of election which allows no place at all to our good works; which saves the gracious character of election, and puts God under no obligation to elect any. This is far closer to the Bible than the Pelagianising fiction that allows foreknowledge of good works to be a motive in electing the elect.

There is far too much Pelagian rubbish on the go these days - Calvin had no time for it either ##


#11

:John Calvin was the most brilliant, principled and theologically deep of the Reformation Fathers.:

I’d beg to differ. I think Calvin is overrated, largely because he was a brilliant writer and expressed himself clearly and forcefully. But in terms of ideas I think there were quite a few Reformers–Luther, Melanchthon, Bucer, just to name a few–who surpassed him.

Originally, the whole point of the Reformed as opposed to the Lutherans was that they didn’t follow one theologian. Reformed theology proceeded by consensus and discussion and at its best was a remarkable example of different theologians with different perspectives working together and learning from each other. Unfortunately, Calvin eventually became enshrined as the theologian of the Reformed tradition, but this never happened quite as much as non-Calvinists think. In some respects that’s actually too bad–the Reformed generally have a less Catholic view of the Eucharist than Calvin did, for instance. But on the whole I think the Reformed refusal to follow Calvin blindly is a good thing, and insofar as it’s been eroded over the years I regret the fact.

puzzleannie, the Dutch Reformed were the ones who came up with the five points originally–they are represented in the U.S. by the Reformed Church in America, the Christian Reformed Church, and some smaller and more conservative groups. The RCA contains a liberal element but would still officially teach the five points. The CRC is staunch in its adherence to historic Calvinism.
There used to be a German Reformed Church but (in the U.S.) it merged with the UCC. There is a Hungarian Reformed Church but it’s very small in the U.S.

Among English-speaking Reformed traditions, the Presbyterians strongly affirm the five points in their official teaching. The large mainline PCUSA, however, contains everything from extreme liberals to touchy-feely evangelicals, and in practice traditional Calvinism is not much taught. One of the more conservative PCUSA pastors of my acquaintance, educated at Gordon-Conwell (where Scott Hahn went), admitted to me that even he didn’t believe everything in the Reformed confessions (though he may have been thinking of claims such as the identification of the Pope with Antichrist!). The more conservative Presbyterian denominations, such as the PCA, the OPC, and the Bible Presbyterians, would definitely affirm the five points.

Congregationalists historically taught the five points but there are only a few who would today–most Congregationalists are quite liberal, and even before that became the case many of them had adopted an evangelical theology that watered down traditional Calvinism. In other respects, Congregationalism is something other than mainstream Calvinism–they deny the existence of a universal visible Church, for instance. This is far more true of Baptists. A minority of Baptists today would hold to the five points (the number seems to be growing, however). But of course even these would have serious differences with the traditional Reformed confessions on ecclesiology and sacramental theology.

Finally, Anglicans traditionally affirmed a vaguer and less dogmatic version of Calvinist doctrine (definitely not the full five points, though Anglicans were represented at the Synod of Dort where the five points originated). However, there have always been Anglicans who were five point Calvinists. This is truer today in the Church of England than in ECUSA–a small denomination called the Reformed Episcopal Church split off in the 19th century and took many of the Calvinist Anglicans with it.

In Christ,

Edwin


#12

[quote=Reformed Rob]Hmmmm,

Apart from anything else that I maybe could add to this, I’ll just say that you will have a hard time coming across as anything but what you’re friend will consider as an “Armenian.”
[/quote]

Small correction: Arminius (the Latinised form of the surname of the Dutch Calvinist theologian Jakob Harmenszoon) and his theological influence, are not connected with the country or Christianity of Armenia, even in spelling.

If he had come down as Jakob Hermanson, a lot of confusion might have been avoided.

Where to start? I’d suggest “On the Spirit and the Letter” and “On Nature and Grace” oh yeah, “On Grace and Free Will” and also, “A Treatise on the Predestination of the Saints.”

They all happen to be here:
ccel.org/fathers2/NPNF1-05/TOC.htm

If you click on one of the titles, and it doesn’t bring up the main text, then just click on the little red page forward link, and it will take you there.

They are primarily works against Pelagians.

Basically, there’s agreement to faith being a gift of God, unmerited favor, but disagreement between Catholics and Calvinists on the specific outworking(s) of predestination.

But don’t take my word for it, consult the Father, Fathers Know Best!!

I’ll say this much, if nothing else, you will be encouraged and strengthened by reading just one of those suggested works. And, you’ll be presented with teachings that will truly challenge your Baptist friend.

I will say also, that the Catholic faith seems to be more “touchy feely” and Calvinists are more into the “unknown decree” of God. Like, Catholics should believe in God’s election and predestination and moving the hearts of men as He wishes, but aren’t apt to talk about it much like a Calvinist would. And, obviously, they should be at disagreement once they actually talk about it much beyond surface level.

This too is definitely worth a read: The Eternal Predestination of God. It fills out what he says about predestination in the third book of the “Institutes” - and answers plenty of objections.

One difference that may be impassable is in his understanding of predestination: a two-fold positive decree is not theologically difficult for Catholicism; a positive decree to elect to salvation is not difficult either. The difficulty comes if one teaches, with Calvin, that there is a positive decree to reprobate certain persons.

But, this latter aspect of the decree of predestination - there is for Calvin only one simple decree to predestinate, with these two aspects - is not as well founded on Scripture as the positive aspect of it: the election to salvation. That there is, in this decree, an aspect of reprobation, is an inference from the undoubted reality of election to salvation - Calvin’s doctrine would be less clearly symmetrical, if it omitted the aspect of reprobation, and also more Biblical

Catholic thinking on this mystery is very differently designed - it is much more metaphysical, for one thing. ##


#13

Might I add that many (probably not most) Calvinists don’t celebrate Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and the like.

For example, the only holiday my Pastor considers valid is Thanksgiving Day. Ok, maybe he’s a little extreme, but in my growing denomination, that’s the norm. I don’t know which is worse - his views on all that, or the fact that most people follow him without hesitation.

That’s a logical outplay of Sola Scriptura (the Regulative Principle of Worship) and the Reformation’s desire to depart from Rome.

Your Baptist friend probably won’t be that far along. But, as a former and “barely hanging on” Calvinist, I’d say that Catholicism presents a strong viewpoint that will challenge your friend and make her perhaps question some of those Calvinist modes of thinking.

But remember, she has a worldview.  You must present a worldview also, all encompassing.  **And if she's Baptist, she's not a Calvinist!**! John Calvin was essentially Presbyterian, and balked at those who would not have their children baptised into the Covenant!!  The "5 Points" are just watered down Calvinism.  But they do catch the essence of that system of salvation theology.

#14

While there might be people who are totally depraved, most people are basically good. We can usually find some good in everyone if we take the time to look.

There is no way we can know if we are among the elect. Yes, there are conditions for reaching Heaven. They include being baptised, believing the doctrines that the Catholic Church teaches, and obeying God’s commandments.

Jesus’s atonement on the cross was not limited. It was for the entire human race. We still of course have to do penance for our sins.

We can resist God’s grace and often do. Lapsed Catholics are one example of this. They received God’s grace in baptism and in the other sacraments. And then they resisted God’s grace.

Yes, we do have to perservere if we want to become a saint.


#15

[quote=Reformed Rob]Might I add that many (probably not most) Calvinists don’t celebrate Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and the like.

For example, the only holiday my Pastor considers valid is Thanksgiving Day. Ok, maybe he’s a little extreme, but in my growing denomination, that’s the norm. I don’t know which is worse - his views on all that, or the fact that most people follow him without hesitation.

That’s a logical outplay of Sola Scriptura (the Regulative Principle of Worship) and the Reformation’s desire to depart from Rome.

Your Baptist friend probably won’t be that far along. But, as a former and “barely hanging on” Calvinist, I’d say that Catholicism presents a strong viewpoint that will challenge your friend and make her perhaps question some of those Calvinist modes of thinking.

But remember, she has a worldview. You must present a worldview also, all encompassing. And if she’s Baptist, she’s not a Calvinist!! John Calvin was essentially Presbyterian, and balked at those who would not have their children baptised into the Covenant!! The “5 Points” are just watered down Calvinism. But they do catch the essence of that system of salvation theology.
[/quote]

There are some Baptists who are also Calvinists. I am one of them. A link to a Southern Baptist Calvinist page is here:
www.sbcalvinist.net/sbcworks.html
I grew up Southern Baptist but belong to a Baptist Bible Fellowship Church now.

And by the way, Calvin was a scholarly genius.


#16

I would get the book “The Salvation Controversy” by James Akin


#17

[quote=Gottle of Geer]## Small correction: Arminius (the Latinised form of the surname of the Dutch Calvinist theologian Jakob Harmenszoon) and his theological influence, are not connected with the country or Christianity of Armenia, even in spelling.
[/quote]

:rotfl: I didn’t call attention to “Armenia” because I thought it might be just a typo, like “calvanism” in the title of this thread. My Armenian friends are *definitely *Arminian.


#18

Ok. That’s nice.

I’m not doubting you, but it just seems odd. So the church believes in paedo-baptism (via sprinkling)? That goes against everything I understand about Baptism from a Baptist perspective.

And that grace is received in the Lord’s Supper, that it’s way more than just a memorial thing?

You probably know more about it than I do, which is why I'm asking.  

Sorry, I don’t want to get this thread off topic.

Please, quit picking on me about the spelling error, I’m sorry!!:crying:


#19

[quote=Reformed Rob]Ok. That’s nice.

I’m not doubting you, but it just seems odd. So the church believes in paedo-baptism (via sprinkling)? That goes against everything I understand about Baptism from a Baptist perspective.

And that grace is received in the Lord’s Supper, that it’s way more than just a memorial thing?

You probably know more about it than I do, which is why I’m asking.
Sorry, I don’t want to get this thread off topic.

Please, quit picking on me about the spelling error, I’m sorry!!:crying:
[/quote]

The principles of Calvinism written up after his death:

Total Depravity
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of Saints

These have been believed by many people, including Baptists.

Baptism and Lord’s Supper are ordinances and have nothing to do with the above principles. Both are symbolic. Baptism is symbolic of the death and resurrection of the new believer with Christ and the Lord’s Supper is a memorial of Christ’s death which Christ said, “Do this in remembrance of Me”.

In other words, in His memory - till He comes again.

I’m not saying that all Baptists are Calvinists. Most are Arminians. But, there are a precious few of us out there who follow Calvins theology AND attend Baptist churches.

Peace…


#20

[quote=Reformed Rob]Ok. That’s nice.

I’m not doubting you, but it just seems odd. So the church believes in paedo-baptism (via sprinkling)? That goes against everything I understand about Baptism from a Baptist perspective.
[/quote]

They do baptise infants in Scotland, certainly.

And that grace is received in the Lord’s Supper, that it’s way more than just a memorial thing?

Calvin’s Eucharistic doctrine has been described as “dynamic receptionism”. Only the elect receive the benefit of it - the reprobate do not.

You probably know more about it than I do, which is why I’m asking.
Sorry, I don’t want to get this thread off topic.

Please, quit picking on me about the spelling error, I’m sorry!!:crying:


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