Hopeless Calvinists - on grace and free will


#1

Hello everyone. I was shared Gospel ten months ago by Christian friends around me. Little did I know by then that they are actually Calvinists, one of the most dangerous things ever on earth. I am fortunate to finally find the way to embracing Catholic faith. Still I keep discussing faith and theology with them, in the hope of evangelizing them with Catholicism. However, there are a few things they cannot get through.

Basically, as you may already know, Calvinists hate the idea that man has free will and can do something that's not what God has planned. They would say our "fate" is planned by God unconditionally and exclusively, that is, without using God's foreknowledge on anything about His creation. As a result, they claim that those deadly sins and transgressions are both our real choice and God's decree onto us. Take the Fall for example. We as Catholics (and even most Protestants) believe that Adam and Eve freely chose to eat the fruit. But my Calvinist friends say God must unconditionally decreed the Fall and there is no way human can fall away from it, while human rather than God is responsible for it. Even worse, they will say while they don't understand, they nevertheless firmly trust it because they believe that's what God says (for example, from Romans 9). They also know Bible talks about falling away of the faithful, resisting the Holy Spirit, etc.; nevertheless, they claim that it's God's will that they fall away, i.e. it's God's (one) will to let people hold against God's (another) will.

It's nonsense, right? I know, but they don't know. Therefore, for the sake of evangelization of truth, what's the best weapon we can use to attack this gravely heretical teaching? Any suggestions are welcome! Thank you all and God bless!

http://counteringcalvinism.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/calvinism_-_makes_-_perfect_-_sense.jpg


#2

This seems to be a mishmash of hyperCalvinism, Calvinism and your own opinions about the same. I would suggest you study Aquinas.


#3

I would start with The council of Orange II tells us "that grace is preceded by no merit. A reward is due to good works, if they are performed; but grace, which is not due, precedes that they may be done."

The Council of Trent session 6 Ch 8 "none of those things which precede justification, whether faith, or works, merit the grace of justification for it is by grace...."
Notice how Trent went even further than the reformers to include faith too, this that faith dosnt even merit justification. That is because grace comes before that faith!

1) Eternal Beatitude surpasses our natural capacity

2) Since we can not attain eternal life by our own natural powers we must be predestined to that end by God directed by God as an arrow is directed by an archer. *(This does not contradict free will or that man plays a role)

3) Man can resist efficient grace but it remains in potency. (Calvinist believe in irresistible grace)

4) All men are given sufficent grace; but, it only remains in potency.*

5) Gods love is the cause of love in others. If not than some love would come from the lesser and not the greater.

6) Nothing is directed to an end unless the will for that already exist.

7) God doesn't cause things he hates but permits it for the greater good. (Calvinist believe God causes)

8) God is not determined by mans sin, God does not cause sin he is un-moved.

9) Gods eternal decree includes both the permission to sin and the punishment of sin without regard to future demerits. God remains unmoved.

10) God has two wills, antecedent will (what God wills in isolation) such as freewill without any other consideration. And Consequent will (after all things considered in light of the whole)

11) God wills the best goodness as a whole, not in individual parts.

12) God made the universe best as a whole, he did not make each creature best but one better than another.

13) Gods goodness could not be represented by one creature alone, He produced many some what is lacking in one can be supplied by another. (The existence of one rose *is good but many color roses are better.)

14) God wills some things to fail to manifest His goodness the greatest possible extent possible if not much good would not exist such as the patience of a sufferer if no injustice.

15) God permits sin, and then punishes sin by abandoning man and leaving him without grace all within His eternal decree.

16) God with holds grace and hardens hearts does not change or determine God b/c He is willing punishment while willing to permit sin. God is pure act.

17) Thus Gods will to give grace, punish those who reject His grace imply no change in God.

18) God antecedently wills all to be saved but consequently wills the salvation of the elect.

19) With sufficient grace mans power remains in potency with efficacious grace mans power to resist remains in potency.

20) Anyone who performs a single act does so by efficacious grace.

21) While God requires faith and works He brings about the faith and works by efficacious grace.

22) ALL MANS GOOD IS FROM GOD!

23) Efficacious grace can be divided into operating grace and cooperating grace.

24) With operating grace God moves mans will to do good.

25) With cooperating grace God causes man to freely chose the good.

26) Efficacious grace causes man to freely desire and chose good.

27) Man is only able to choose good b/c God continues in his will, making it calls of performing.

28) The will remains free even though the wills movement is caused by God b/c the determination of man is what's free.

29) God assist us by strengthing our wills so as to contain the act and then grants us the capability of operating.

30) MERIT] is the effect of efficacious grace.

31) If God as the primary cause does not apply the will to act secondary cause than some good does not come from the source of all good the greater would come from the lessor.

32) God does not will the destruction of the blind (Calvin) He wills to permit them to resist His grace.

Confused? I will try to answer any question but I will be off for awhile.

I really recomend "The Mystery of Predestination" according to scripture, the church & St. Thomas Aquinas by John Salsa!


#4

In my own experience, the best way to "defend" against Calvinism is to put it into perspective. Calvinists love to quote St. Augustine as being Calvinist; turn this line of attack back on them. Show that Augustine's "Calvinism" is really merely a defense against Pelagianism and is not a full-blown soteriology. And show how Calvin's own soteriology is much more nuanced than the five-point distillation of TULIP. And if it is taken to be a fully developed soteriology, perhaps then it is the time to introduce the logical contradictions you have shown.

But I would be very cautious with this last point. It may very well be that this is the logical ending point of Calvinist soteriology; however, in my own experience Calvinist after Calvinist would reject the position you seem to be putting forth. Since that is the case, I would begin by being very certain that my understanding is the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from the premises.


#5

[quote="Truthstalker, post:2, topic:305082"]
This seems to be a mishmash of hyperCalvinism, Calvinism and your own opinions about the same. I would suggest you study Aquinas.

[/quote]

Wait wait! you want her to study Aquinas to prove Calvinism?

As far I can recollect Aquinas is Catholic, what am I missing?


#6

[quote="JerryZ, post:5, topic:305082"]
Wait wait! you want her to study Aquinas to prove Calvinism?

As far I can recollect Aquinas is Catholic, what am I missing?

[/quote]

Aquinas' "Summa Theologica" is based on the format of "Objection - Answer", so we can learn from Summa Theologica many kinds of heretical teachings :-) Thanks for suggestion and I will surely keep working on that.

By the way, how do you know that I am a girl? Because I am not ...


#7

[quote="poptown, post:1, topic:305082"]
Hello everyone. I was shared Gospel ten months ago by Christian friends around me. Little did I know by then that they are actually Calvinists, one of the most dangerous things ever on earth....

[/quote]

Nah, modern secularists make Calvinists look as harmless as your eccentric uncle Lenny. Best to just confound them by becoming holy rather than arguing too much with them.


#8

[quote="manualman, post:7, topic:305082"]
Nah, modern secularists make Calvinists look as harmless as your eccentric uncle Lenny. Best to just confound them by becoming holy rather than arguing too much with them.

[/quote]

Great idea! Thank you. I also feel that arguing with them is not worthy of time ... I have shown them enough about Catholicism, so they know clearly what they are choosing and denying. Let God through our prayers take care of the rest!


#9

Saint Augustine was a Calvinist ;)


#10

The Formula of Concord which is part of the Lutheran Confessions was written against the Crypto-Calvinist Lutherans which one of the leaders of the Crypto-Calvinist was Philip Melanchthon. The Crypto-Calvinist wanted unity with Calvinist and Melanchton came up the Altered Augsburg Confession for this purpose. Every confessional Lutheran Church body confesses the Unaltered Augsburg Confession and the Book of Concord. One of the leaders of the Gnesio-Lutherans (True Lutherans) was Martin Chemnitz who is called the second Luther, without him, the Lutheran Church would have been corrupted by the Calvinist.


#11

[quote="hn160, post:10, topic:305082"]
The Formula of Concord which is part of the Lutheran Confessions was written against the Crypto-Calvinist Lutherans which one of the leaders of the Crypto-Calvinist was Philip Melanchthon. The Crypto-Calvinist wanted unity with Calvinist and Melanchton came up the Altered Augsburg Confession for this purpose. Every confessional Lutheran Church body confesses the Unaltered Augsburg Confession and the Book of Concord. One of the leaders of the Gnesio-Lutherans (True Lutherans) was Martin Chemnitz who is called the second Luther, without him, the Lutheran Church would have been corrupted by the Calvinist.

[/quote]

I thought Martin Luther taught predestination with greater force than John Calvin.


#12

Please read the Lutheran Confessions at bookofconcord.org/.


#13

monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/double_luther.html


#14

[quote="Christian_Unity, post:9, topic:305082"]
Saint Augustine was a Calvinist ;)

[/quote]

He is not! He believes in free will and doesn't believe in any one of the TULIP.


#15

[quote="Christian_Unity, post:13, topic:305082"]
monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/double_luther.html

[/quote]

Hey guys. I personally went through the same issue ...

Luther's teaching is kind of different from Lutheran teaching ... so when we talk about Lutheranism we should refer to the confessions (like Book of Concord) rather than quoting from Martin Luther.

Basically:

Catholicism teaches that through whole lifetime man does not lose free will and is able to and is required to cooperate with God's grace.

Lutheranism denies human's ability of cooperating with God's grace but nevertheless affirms that man's free will are "restored" upon generation, so the true faithful can fall away.

Calvinism holds that God alone plans everything for man; man's destiny, if not every will and action, is decided by God alone; free will doesn't exist, but man bears the responsibility of evil.


#16

[quote="poptown, post:14, topic:305082"]
He is not! He believes in free will and doesn't believe in any one of the TULIP.

[/quote]

reformationtheology.com/2009/04/grace_creates_a_truly_free_wil.php

Augustine's view of free will is how most Calvinists understand free will.

Augustine, On Grace and Free Will, 29

‘For we are now speaking of the desire for goodness. If they want to say that this begins from ourselves and is then perfected by God, let them see how they can answer the apostle when he says, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5)’


#17

Whenever the question of why are some saved, and not others, comes up it is common for Calvinists who advocate for the view that God has predestined some to hell, and others to heaven, to try to drag Martin Luther into their argument and claim that they are actually being faithful to what Martin Luther taught. Let this much be clear: Martin Luther did not teach double-predestination. I’ve heard from a number of Calvinists who tell me that they don’t even think John Calvin taught it either, but, that’s for them to hash out. My interest here is in refuting the claim of the “Truly Reformed” or “classic Calvinists” or “T.U.L.I.P. Calvinists.” Here then are two critical points for Calvinists to keep in mind, which, unfortunately, they often do not.
(1) The doctrine of the Lutheran Church is not determined or normed by every writing of Luther. The proper understanding and interpretation of Martin Luther is reflected in the Book of Concord, which is the Lutheran Church’s normative standard of doctrine and practices that flow from this doctrine. This is hard for Calvinists to understand, since they are unable to point to one, unique, formal book of their confessions. They are somewhat scattered about, over time and place.
(2) Luther’s Bondage of the Will is not, and was not, his last and final word on the subject of the hidden will of God. When Calvinists appeal to this document in support of their doctrine of predestination, they do so most often taking this document in isolation from the rest of his writings and teachings. It is a common tactic among Calvinists, and sadly, a common belief that John Calvin and his heirs were actually the more faithful followers of Martin Luther than the Lutheran Church which followed Luther.
Here then is what Luther wanted people to know and understand about his position on the issue of predestination. This is from Luther’s last and final lecture series he gave during his life, his great Genesis lectures. Here is what he said while commenting on Genesis 29:9:
It pleases me to take from this passage the opportunity to discuss doubt, God, and the will of God; for I hear that here and there among the nobles and persons of importance vicious statements are being spread abroad concerning predestination or God’s foreknowledge. For this is what they say: “If I am predestined, I shall be saved, whether I do good or evil. If I am not predestined, I shall be condemned regardless of my works.” I would be glad to debate in detail against these wicked statements if the uncertain state of my health made it possible for me to do so. For if the statements are true, as they, of course, think, then the incarnation of the Son of God, His suffering and resurrection, and all that He did for the salvation of the world are done away with completely. What will the prophets and all Holy Scripture help? What will the sacraments help? Therefore let us reject all this and tread it underfoot.
These are devilish and poisoned darts and original sin itself, with which the devil led our first parents astray when he said (Gen. 3:5): “You will be like God.” They were not satisfied with the divinity that had been revealed and in the knowledge of which they were blessed, but they wanted to penetrate to the depth of the divinity. For they inferred that there was some secret reason why God had forbidden them to eat of the fruit of the tree which was in the middle of Paradise, and they wanted to know what this reason was, just as these people of our time say: “What God has determined beforehand must happen. Consequently, every concern about religion and about the salvation of souls is uncertain and useless.” Yet it has not been given to you to render a verdict that is inscrutable. Why do you doubt or thrust aside

To be continued.


#18

Continued

the faith that God has enjoined on you? For what end did it serve to send His Son to suffer and to be crucified for us? Of what use was it to institute the sacraments if they are uncertain or completely useless for our salvation? For otherwise, if someone had been predestined, he would have been saved without the Son and without the sacraments or Holy Scripture. Consequently, God, according to the blasphemy of these people, was horribly foolish when He sent His Son, promulgated the Law and the Gospel, and sent the apostles if the only thing He wanted was that we should be uncertain and in doubt whether we are to be saved or really to be damned.
But these are delusions of the devil with which he tries to cause us to doubt and disbelieve, although Christ came into this world to make us completely certain. For eventually either despair must follow or contempt for God, for the Holy Bible, for Baptism, and for all the blessings of God through which He wanted us to be strengthened over against uncertainty and doubt. For they will say with the Epicureans: “Let us live, eat, and drink; tomorrow we shall die” (cf. 1 Cor. 15:32). After the manner of the Turks they will rush rashly into the sword and fire, since the hour in which you either die or escape has been predetermined.
But to these thoughts one must oppose the true and firm knowledge of Christ, just as I often remind you that it is profitable and necessary above all that the knowledge of God be completely certain in us and that we cling to it with firm assent of the heart. Otherwise our faith is useless. For if God does not stand by His promises, then our salvation is lost, while, on the other hand, this is our comfort, that, although we change, we nevertheless flee for refuge to Him who is unchangeable. For in Mal. 3:6 He makes this assertion about Himself: “I the Lord do not change.” And Rom. 11:29 states: “The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” Accordingly, this is how I have taught in my book On the Bondage of the Will and elsewhere, namely, that a distinction must be made when one deals with the knowledge, or rather with the subject, of the divinity. For one must debate either about the hidden God or about the revealed God. With regard to God, insofar as He has not been revealed, there is no faith, no knowledge, and no understanding. And here one must hold to the statement that what is above us is none of our concern. For thoughts of this kind, which investigate something more sublime above or outside the revelation of God, are altogether devilish. With them nothing more is achieved than that we plunge ourselves into destruction; for they present an object that is inscrutable, namely, the unrevealed God. Why not rather let God keep His decisions and mysteries in secret? We have no reason to exert ourselves so much that these decisions and mysteries be revealed to us.
Moses, too, asked God to show him His face; but the Lord replies: “You shall see My back, but you will not be able to see My face” (cf. Ex. 33:23). For this inquisitiveness is original sin itself, by which we are impelled to strive for a way to God through natural speculation. But this is a great sin and a useless and futile attempt; for this is what Christ says in John 6:65 (cf. John 14:6): “No one comes to the Father but by Me.” Therefore when we approach the unrevealed God, then there is no faith, no Word, and no knowledge; for He is an invisible God, and you will not make Him visible.
Furthermore, God has most sternly forbidden this investigation of the divinity. Thus when the apostles ask in Acts 1:6, “Has it not been predestined that at this time the kingdom should be restored?” Christ says to them: “It is not for you to know the times” (Acts 1:7). “Let Me be hidden where I have not the


#19

Continued
faith that God has enjoined on you? For what end did it serve to send His Son to suffer and to be crucified for us? Of what use was it to institute the sacraments if they are uncertain or completely useless for our salvation? For otherwise, if someone had been predestined, he would have been saved without the Son and without the sacraments or Holy Scripture. Consequently, God, according to the blasphemy of these people, was horribly foolish when He sent His Son, promulgated the Law and the Gospel, and sent the apostles if the only thing He wanted was that we should be uncertain and in doubt whether we are to be saved or really to be damned.
But these are delusions of the devil with which he tries to cause us to doubt and disbelieve, although Christ came into this world to make us completely certain. For eventually either despair must follow or contempt for God, for the Holy Bible, for Baptism, and for all the blessings of God through which He wanted us to be strengthened over against uncertainty and doubt. For they will say with the Epicureans: “Let us live, eat, and drink; tomorrow we shall die” (cf. 1 Cor. 15:32). After the manner of the Turks they will rush rashly into the sword and fire, since the hour in which you either die or escape has been predetermined.
But to these thoughts one must oppose the true and firm knowledge of Christ, just as I often remind you that it is profitable and necessary above all that the knowledge of God be completely certain in us and that we cling to it with firm assent of the heart. Otherwise our faith is useless. For if God does not stand by His promises, then our salvation is lost, while, on the other hand, this is our comfort, that, although we change, we nevertheless flee for refuge to Him who is unchangeable. For in Mal. 3:6 He makes this assertion about Himself: “I the Lord do not change.” And Rom. 11:29 states: “The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” Accordingly, this is how I have taught in my book On the Bondage of the Will and elsewhere, namely, that a distinction must be made when one deals with the knowledge, or rather with the subject, of the divinity. For one must debate either about the hidden God or about the revealed God. With regard to God, insofar as He has not been revealed, there is no faith, no knowledge, and no understanding. And here one must hold to the statement that what is above us is none of our concern. For thoughts of this kind, which investigate something more sublime above or outside the revelation of God, are altogether devilish. With them nothing more is achieved than that we plunge ourselves into destruction; for they present an object that is inscrutable, namely, the unrevealed God. Why not rather let God keep His decisions and mysteries in secret? We have no reason to exert ourselves so much that these decisions and mysteries be revealed to us.
Moses, too, asked God to show him His face; but the Lord replies: “You shall see My back, but you will not be able to see My face” (cf. Ex. 33:23). For this inquisitiveness is original sin itself, by which we are impelled to strive for a way to God through natural speculation. But this is a great sin and a useless and futile attempt; for this is what Christ says in John 6:65 (cf. John 14:6): “No one comes to the Father but by Me.” Therefore when we approach the unrevealed God, then there is no faith, no Word, and no knowledge; for He is an invisible God, and you will not make Him visible.
Furthermore, God has most sternly forbidden this investigation of the divinity. Thus when the apostles ask in Acts 1:6, “Has it not been predestined that at this time the kingdom should be restored?” Christ says to them: “It is not for you to know the times” (Acts 1:7). “Let Me be hidden where I have not


#20

Continued

revealed Myself to you,” says God, “or you will be the cause of your own destruction, just as Adam fell in a horrible manner; for he who investigates My majesty will be overwhelmed by My glory.”
And it is true that God wanted to counteract this curiosity at the very beginning; for this is how He set forth His will and counsel: “I will reveal My foreknowledge and predestination to you in an extraordinary manner, but not by this way of reason and carnal wisdom, as you imagine. This is how I will do so: From an unrevealed God I will become a revealed God. Nevertheless, I will remain the same God. I will be made flesh, or send My Son. He shall die for your sins and shall rise again from the dead. And in this way I will fulfill your desire, in order that you may be able to know whether you are predestined or not. Behold, this is My Son; listen to Him (cf. Matt. 17:5). Look at Him as He lies in the manger and on the lap of His mother, as He hangs on the cross. Observe what He does and what He says. There you will surely take hold of Me.” For “He who sees Me,” says Christ, “also sees the Father Himself” (cf. John 14:9). If you listen to Him, are baptized in His name, and love His Word, then you are surely predestined and are certain of your salvation. But if you revile or despise the Word, then you are damned; for he who does not believe is condemned (Mark 16:16).
You must kill the other thoughts and the ways of reason or of the flesh, for God detests them. The only thing you have to do is to receive the Son, so that Christ is welcome in your heart in His birth, miracles, and cross. For here is the book of life in which you have been written. And this is the only and the most efficacious remedy for that horrible disease because of which human beings in their investigation of God want to proceed in a speculative manner and eventually rush into despair or contempt. If you want to escape despair, hatred, and blasphemy of God, give up your speculation about the hidden God, and cease to strive in vain to see the face of God.
Otherwise you will have to remain perpetually in unbelief and damnation, and you will have to perish; for he who doubts does not believe, and he who does not believe is condemned (Mark 16:16).
Therefore we should detest and shun these vicious words which the Epicureans bandy about: “If this is how it must happen, let it happen.” For God did not come down from heaven to make you uncertain about predestination, to teach you to despise the sacraments, absolution, and the rest of the divine ordinances. Indeed, He instituted them to make you completely certain and to remove the disease of doubt from your heart, in order that you might not only believe with the heart but also see with your physical eyes and touch with your hands. Why, then, do you reject these and complain that you do not know whether you have been predestined? You have the Gospel; you have been baptized; you have absolution; you are a Christian. Nevertheless, you doubt and say that you do not know whether you believe or not, whether you regard as true what is preached about Christ in the Word and the sacraments.
But you will say: “I cannot believe.” Thus many are troubled by this trial, and I recall that at Torgau a little woman came to me and complained with tears in her eyes that she could not believe. Then, when I recited the articles of the Creed in order and asked about each one whether she was convinced that these things were true and had happened in this manner or not, she answered: “I certainly think that they are true, but I cannot believe.” This was a satanic illusion. Consequently, I kept saying: “If you think


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