Help! Is There a Cure for Calvinitis?

A medical “itis” is never a good thing. The same thing could be said as to a theological “itis” Maybe I should join a twelve-step support group – “Hi, my name is Bob and I have Calvinitis.” The condition of Calvinisticalism occurs when something normally easy to read and understand suddenly becomes difficult and complicated because word definitions have unknowingly been altered to convey a completely different thought. This condition is most prominent when a non-Calvinist reads a Calvinist’s letter and must superimpose Calvinistic tenants onto that letter in order to understand just what actually being inferred. For example, the below letter is from a Calvinist pastor inviting his congregation to participate in small group discussions about the prodigal son. I’ve imparted Calvinisticals to make clear the inherent Calvinist logic and thought which may not be obvious to those unaffected by Calvinitis. The bolded and bracketed wordings are the Calvinisticals.

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Fighting God’s Decree Through Prayer

A Calvinist friend sent this out via a FB post:

Dear friends – perhaps you’ve noticed that I haven’t posted anything in past few days. If you’d be so kind, please pray for my father’s healing. As God promises in his Word, he can heal any sickness, disease, and infirmity. And that’s where our hope is right now – that our mighty and inerrant physician – who is in control over everything would bring his healing powers to my father. I appreciate your prayers in the name of Jesus. All glory be to him.

I lost my own father twelve years ago and so I’m sympathetic to this friend’s request. However, I’m frustrated because we’ve had numerous discussions as to whether or not God controls the events in our lives. This Calvinist believes God divinely determines all things including when an individual will leave this earth. That being the case … I would think that this Calvinist’s prayer would NOT be for the healing of his father but instead should be for God to grant peace to the dying father and family members.

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God … Prayer … Amputees – A Disconnect?

Mark 11:24 – Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

In his book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster states, “Prayer catapults us onto the frontier of the spiritual life. Of all the spiritual disciplines, prayer is the most central because it ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father.” Although I’d heard many people praising God for all kinds of answered prayers as to health, grades, direction in life, seeing a relative become a Christian, etc, prayer never seemed real to me. The more I heard about answered prayers, the more I wondered whether prayers were really being answered prayers rather was the ‘answer’ the culmination of contributing factors with the most logical outcome being the final result?

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Predestination – A Squirrely Doctrine … and a good laugh!

Sometimes you just have to laugh! This was sent by a friend who’s “on the other side” when we discuss such things as the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. He apparently thought I needed a good laugh. And he was right. Source unknown:

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My Top 10 Difficulties with Calvinism

Calvinists obviously have their tenants and beliefs, but I sincerely doubt they understand why so many express serious disagreements with Calvinistic doctrines. After a recent encounter, and in no particular order, I cobbled together 10 difficulties that I have with Calvinist doctrines.

1st point: Many Calvinists seem to delve into the Greek language when doing Bible studies if only to ‘prove’ a point. I prefer the NIV and believe it to be a reasonable translation. The scholars who put together the NIV (or any other translation for that matter) typically have advanced degrees and have studied the language, culture and history. How can I hope to do better?

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An Unborn Child Is Most Likely Damned Through Calvinism’s Doctrine of Unconditional Election

Calvinist says – If anyone ends up in hell, it’s because they deserve to be there on account of their sins. They will be there justly/in justice. That anyone is saved from hell is a matter of mercy and grace. Grace and mercy, by definition, are not obligated. If it were obligated, then it would be justice, not mercy or grace.

My response – A significant error in your Calvinistic beliefs is that, according to your doctrine of unconditional election, God essentially chooses whom he will and conversely not save. Consider what if a child dies in the womb or is otherwise aborted. Has this child actually sinned? No! So, even if this child had a ‘sin nature’, the unborn child has not sinned. Yet if God didn’t unconditionally elect this child, then God is damning someone who is innocent of sin.

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A Newborn Grandson Undercuts Total Depravity and Unconditional Election

I understand well the concept of Total Depravity. I reject it. Part of reason I reject Total Depravity – I look at the picture of this newborn little boy. He’s only a few minutes old. Has he had the time or even the inclination to sin … even if he was born with a sin nature? What is the worst thing that he could have done so far – cry because he experienced pain from passing through the birth canal or is experiencing light, sound and cold for the first time and obviously not understanding anything? Even more so, children who die in the womb – would they not stand before God’s judgement – sinless and therefore innocent? So logically, the Calvinist accepts that God condemns sinless people to hell? And God is glorified by this?

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Another Calvinist Response to Eph 1:4

This post is a follow-on to a previous conversation from my previous post. Maybe it’s just me. But I’m sensing that the Calvinists I interact with don’t necessarily have a good basis for believing their doctrines. In a previous post I stated that Eph 1:4 doesn’t support unconditional election. Eventually, the response from “Calvinist #1” was, sadly, “crickets.” Shortly afterwards, though, “Calvinist #2” continued the conversation:

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A Calvinist Response to Eph 1:4?

On a non-Calvinist FB forum, a Calvinist asked the question: If God allowed or permitted evil acts, the denial of the Gospel, & [election] based on divine foreknowledge, did God also decide the course of redemptive history before he created [the world]?

Another Calvinist quickly responded to the effect that many within this forum deny the Bible’s teachings (aka Doctrines of Grace). I asked for a specific example and received a litany of Bible verses in return. I inquired whether he’d like to take his first reference (Eph 1) and defend unconditional election. After a while and no response, I put forth my defense that Eph 1:4 does not support unconditional election and wrote the following:

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Determinism & God’s Nature and Character

A Calvinist recently asked me why I have such antipathy towards the Doctrines of Grace. I responded how I find the teachings of determinism and unconditional election problematic such that they affect the very nature and character of God. I elaborated how it’s beyond me that a Calvinist can realistically say, ‘Well, it may be that God has chosen you to be reprobate. But don’t feel bad. God has intentionally doomed you for his glory.’

I went on to explain that years ago, and without realizing it, I’d been attending a Calvinist church. I’d gotten involved in a men’s Bible study where one of the books we went through was Jerry Bridges’ Is God Really in Control? I read through each page and continually said to myself, “That can’t be right” or “I don’t think so!” if only because theistic determinism is (to me) so incompatible with the entirety of Scripture. Why would God see the need to give us Proverbs if he’s determining everything that will happen?

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