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.]

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, September 21, 2012

Was Tozer A Calvinist?

[This article was written some time ago.  Since this time my views have been modified slightly.  In agreement with the late Dr. Gordon H. Clark I can no longer say that all Arminians are unconverted.  But they are most certainly mistaken.  Secondly, the Bible does contain a few paradoxes.  But properly understood a paradox is merely an apparent contradiction, not an actual contradiction.  These paradoxes can be solved through either logical and propositional thinking or through further discoveries in archeology or textual criticism.  But a theology based totally on mystery or a theology that "all Scripture is apparently contradictory" amounts to something very similar to Neo-Orthodoxy.  The Scriptures are the Word of God and without error in all they affirm as recorded in the original autographs.  Charlie J. Ray.  5/12/2022.]


In regards to your post, Was Tozer a Calvinist, I say no.  You admitted as much when you said:

"After I read the comment about Tozer not being a Calvinist I thought to myself, “Yes, that is true in one sense. But in a more important sense it is not quite true.” Why? Well, because Calvinism does not consist in affirming the five points of the Synod of Dordt."

By definition all Arminians were officially condemned as non-Calvinists at the Synod of Dort.  Any so-called "Calvinist" who thinks Arminians are by some magical incantation believers in the sovereignty of God is simply redefining terms or plain out dissimulating and equivocating.  The Canons of Dort are hardly optional.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that the Canons of Dort anathematize Arminians as unconverted and as a papist leaning movement back to Rome.   Your deliberate equivocation above and quoting a few proof texts where Tozer "seemed" to agree with Calvinism does not negate the many more quotes where he upholds free will and other such nonsense.

No, Tozer was not a Calvinist.  He was heterodox since he said things that contradicted Calvinism many times over.  I appreciate your quotes but they do not and cannot prove a man to be Calvinist who had no commitment whatsoever to any Reformed standard or confession.  In particular, the Arminian doctrine of free will negates any claim to Calvinism:

Now this twofold predestination, of some to life and of others to death (if it may be called twofold, both being constituent parts of the same decree), cannot be denied without likewise denying (1) most express and frequent declarations of Scripture, and (2) the very existence of God, for, since God is a Being perfectly simple, free from all accident and composition, and yet a will to save some and punish others is very often predicated of Him in Scripture, and an immovable decree to do this, in consequence of His will, is likewise ascribed to Him, and a perfect foreknowledge of the sure and certain accomplishment of what He has thus willed and decreed is also attributed to Him, it follows that whoever denies this will, decree and foreknowledge of God, does implicitly and virtually deny God Himself, since His will, decree and foreknowledge are no other than God Himself willing and decreeing and foreknowing.   Jerome Zanchius: ABSOLUTE PREDESTINATION: CHAPTER II WHEREIN THE DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION IS EXPLAINED AS IT RELATES IN GENERAL TO ALL MEN.

The idea that some Calvinists think that we have no choice in our conversion is just untrue.  The Calvinist view is that we cannot do anything to save ourselves whatsoever.  But the choice we make is itself a gift of God!  Even our conviction of sin and being effectually called to saving faith is ALL of God.  Your contention here is just ridiculous:

Calvinists have the tendency to preach divine election as if humans make no real choice. In fact, a well known theologian once preached a sermon in my own pulpit and said, “Since you are dead in your sins you can do nothing at all. The best you can do it [sic] put yourself in the place where God might save you!”

Bad news.  Dead men cannot put themselves anywhere!  Until God effectually calls a person to Christ they will not and cannot believe anything whatsoever.  While preaching is an instrumental cause of conversion which God uses (Romans 10:14-17), it cannot persuade a reprobate person of the truth.  God ONLY grants the elect the ability to believe.  That's Calvinism.  You reveal yourself to be in fact a closet Arminian.  You probably think those who believe the false doctrines of Rome and of the Remonstrance to be genuinely converted.  But how can that be when all of their logical propositions directly contradict the doctrines of free grace? 

You reveal yourself to be an Arminian when you suggest that the reprobate have "free choice" to accept Christ as if they have the "ability" to do so:

Simply put, the doctrine of total depravity is never presented in the Scripture as a doctrine that hinders any unbeliever from coming to Christ whenever they desire to come. Free grace and human responsibility, and thus real choice, are doctrines of the Bible.

If you had said, "The doctrine of total depravity is never presented in the Scripture as a doctrine that hinders any "elect" unbeliever from coming to Christ," you would have been correct.  But you conflate reprobation with election as if all men without exception are able to "desire to come".  The reprobate are clearly unable to come to Christ for if they were they would.  It's that simple.  Although the doctrine of predestination is no excuse for the reprobate's rejection of the Gospel, it is not a doctrine that should never be preached as you imply.  In fact, it should be preached with vigor because it gives assurance to believers and warns those who reject the Gospel of their impending doom:

PREDESTINATION to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, He hath constantly decreed by His counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom He hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation as vessels made to honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God's purpose by His Spirit working in due season; they through grace obey the calling; they be justified freely; they be made sons of God by adoption; they be made like the image of His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works; and at length by God's mercy they attain to everlasting felicity.

As the godly consideration of Predestination and our Election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons and such as feeling in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh and their earthly members and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: so for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation or into wretchlessness of most unclean living no less perilous than desperation.

Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise as they be generally set forth in Holy Scripture; and in our doings that will of God is to be followed which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.

Your deliberate equivocation is exemplified in your admiration for the confused theology of A.W. Tozer.  The Word of God has no contradictions, mysteries, or paradoxes therein.  What God reveals in propositional truth claims is a rational revelation.  Your view renders any hope of understanding God's Word utterly impossible since for you it is merely a mystery.  If the Scriptures are nothing more than analogy and mystery, why would God bother revealing Himself to us in special revelation in the first place?

Ironically, all Calvinists are supposed to believe the Canons of Dort.  You do not.  What a mystery that is!

Sincerely yours,

Charlie J. Ray, M. Div.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen. Visit 1662 Book of Common Prayer: Daily Prayer and Reasonable Christian Blog

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