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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Calvin Against the Semi-Pelagians

I am often amused when Van Tilians quote Calvin to refute "rationalists."  I say that because the "rationalists" whom Calvin was refuting were semi-pelagians in the Roman Catholic Church.  Luther's diatribe against Erasmus is a classic example of how the doctrine of predestination and unconditional election has been used to defeat "rationalism."  

What is humorous, however, is when folks like Michael Horton or R. Scott Clark accuse the late Gordon H. Clark or the late Carl F. H. Henry of "rationalism" when they were in fact as Calvinist as you could get.  Calvin clearly says that it is the explaining away of God's decrees by reading human reason into the text that is "prying" into the secret counsel of God:


But before I enter on the subject, I have some remarks to address to two classes of men. The subject of predestination, which in itself is attended with considerable difficulty is rendered very perplexed and hence perilous by human curiosity, which cannot be restrained from wandering into forbidden paths and climbing to the clouds determined if it can that none of the secret things of God shall remain unexplored. When we see many, some of them in other respects not bad men, every where rushing into this audacity and wickedness, it is necessary to remind them of the course of duty in this matter. First, then, when they inquire into predestination, let them remember that they are penetrating into the recesses of the divine wisdom, where he who rushes forward securely and confidently, instead of satisfying his curiosity will enter in inextricable labyrinth.  For it is not right that man should with impunity pry into things which the Lord has been pleased to conceal within himself, and scan that sublime eternal wisdom which it is his pleasure that we should not apprehend but adore, that therein also his perfections may appear. Those secrets of his will, which he has seen it meet to manifest, are revealed in his word—revealed in so far as he knew to be conducive to our interest and welfare.

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 1997).

In other words, if the Bible teaches predestination let us not explain it away with Arminian arguments!  I can easily prove that this is Calvin's view:






NINE years have now elapsed since Albertus Pighius, the Campanian, a man of evidently phrensied audacity, attempted, at the same time, and in the same book, to establish the free-will of man, and to subvert the secret counsel of God, by which He chooses some to salvation and appoints others to eternal destruction. But as he attacked me by name, that he might stab, through my side, holy and sound doctrine, I have deemed it necessary to curb the sacrilegious madness of the man. At that time, however, being distracted by various engagement, I could not embrace, in one short space of time, the discussion of both subjects; but having published my thoughts upon the former, I promised to consider, when an opportunity should be given, the doctrine of predestination. Shortly after my book on free-will appeared, Pighius died. And that I might not insult a dead dog, I turned my attention to other serious matters. And from that time till now I have always found plenty to do. Moreover, as I had already copiously treated of this great point of doctrine, and had set it forth clearly, and confirmed it by solid testimonies of Scripture, this new labour upon it did not seem so absolutely necessary, but that it might safely be suffered to rest for a time.

But since, at the present day, certain maddened and exulting spirits strive, after the example of Pighius with all their might to destroy all that is contained in the Scriptures concerning the free election of the godly and the eternal judgment of the reprobate, I have considered it my duty to prevent this contagion from spreading farther, by collecting and summarily refuting those frivolous objections by which such men delude themselves and others.   (Calvin's Calvinism, Section I).
In short, by the standards of Van Til and his followers, Calvin himself was prying into the secret being of God by affirming that we can have genuine knowledge of unconditional election by what we read in the Scriptures.  We can know we are saved and that God has chosen us simply because of the fact that we have been called out of darkness and into His marvelous light:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10 NKJ)
 

2 comments:

Mr. Mcgranor said...

You give the Catholics too much credit.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I'm not surprised you would say that since Arminians are nothing more than papist sympathizers. Don't you know what the high church Laudian Arminians did to the Puritans in the star chamber?

Besides, since you're a self-proclaimed school dropout, why would anyone take your opinions seriously?

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