Friday, March 16, 2012

"There is a darkness to Calvinism"?

Lin left a comment under one of my posts and I'm wishing she has said more.

Lin: " There is a darkness to Calvinism that is inexplicable. I saw it in reading about Calvin and others. I could discuss what I saw for days on end. It is chilling. Now, I am running into people who were totally immersed in it a few years back that are now athiests! "

I really think she means New Calvinists, because of these statements:
"I highly recommend George Marsden's bio of Edwards"
"Marsden records the suicides that occured with Edward's Awakening and they are bizarre."

But I'd really like for her to clarify things herself.

I only ask because I see New Calvinism as a very troubling force in Christianity. And I see New Calvinism creeping into my own church. If there really is a darkness about it, I want to understand it and combat it, somehow.


Paul said...

Spiritual I met with the author yesterday and got a good learnin' on Reformed theology. He wrote a book I am going to buy that I think goes into all of this stuff pretty in-depth. I'm really struggling to see where these guys did anything for the church, and my background is Reformed.Augustine was an unabashed integrationist (Plato/Christianity) and Luther got most of his stuff from him.
Oh, by the way: I guess Mahaney has a new book out where he plainly states that man cannot know truth among other outragous statements. But yet, MacArthur et al refuse to seperate from the guy. Baffling.

Lin said...

Mara, I also meant Calvinism. I think New Calvinism is only a logical outcome of plain old Calvinism with the "determinist" God.

I wish I could describe the darkness I see in it. I know of Christians who are shunned by family members who become New Calvinists. They refuse to tell them why but have just totally shunned them. I have known those who were totally immersed in it who are now athiests.

I think it comes from trying to understand the "determinist" God. It is not that different than Islam's Allah except they speak of "grace" for some in Calvinism.

I want the Calvinist to explain someething to me....whether they are new or old line. And this is ONE example from scripture in Luke 18:

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[d]”

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Look at verse 21. The Creator of the universe looked at him and LOVED him and then consigned him to hell? The rich young guy had no choice. He was not able to resist grace on his own?

What kind of a God would look at him and LOVE him into hell? REmember, with Calvinism, the young man had no choice at all. So why does God in the Flesh look at him and LOVE him?

Mara, That is one example of why I think a "determinist" God is so dangerous to believe in. It is full of despair and cruelty. Was Jesus playing with the man? The man genuinely asked. Why not make his heart give up the riches since there is "irresistable grace"?

Mara Reid said...

Thanks Paul.

Understanding Calvinism,of all stripes, escapes me. But I had always considered it possible to co-exist with traditional Calvinism.

Yes, there is so much in Scripture that, at least to me, seems to knock the feet right out from under Calvinism. Just plain, old fashioned, common sense, logical stuff.

I'm still working on understanding, which is frustrating since I'm so busy right now with work and home stuff. I wish I had time to read all the stuff people are telling me about.

Paul said...

Correction on Mahaney: it wasn't a book--I will get the actual quote.

Paul said...

Based on what I learned from the 2.5 hour lunch with this guy who is a foremost authority on the subject: Old C. was indeed very dark. But OC has been greatly influenced for the better. Hence, the OC of today. HOWEVER, NC have gone back to the old roots. From time to time in history, movements rediscover the old roots of dark Calvinism, ie, the Australian Forum. It's a concept that is eventually rejected and rediscovered again. The AF rediscovered it and here we are. trust me, it was quite a lunch! And he even paid! But anyway, basically, Lin is dead on. It all goes back to how Augustine integrated Platonism into Scripture. Platonism is deterministic to say the least--in regard to human participation that is.

Mara Reid said...

Very interesting...

Lin said...

"It all goes back to how Augustine integrated Platonism into Scripture. Platonism is deterministic to say the least--in regard to human participation that is."

This is pretty much where I started to see huge problems with it. I read 'about' Augustine (including his own writings) and then about Plontonius, Plato, the Mancheans (sp) that all influenced him. Basically, Augustine brought forth a different Christianity that really took off. If you dig deep, you will find that most of what is taught today about original sin/Total depravity comes from Augustine who was influenced by Greek philosophers. And besides taht, he was not a nice guy when it came to the mother of his child he nver married but banished her from her child after living with her for years. Cruel!

Lin said...

"But I had always considered it possible to co-exist with traditional Calvinism."

I agree. And I also thought this until the last 10 years or so. Some of those most concerned about what is considered Calvinism now are those from some of the old line Calvinist denoms.

The best line I ever heard about this came from Arce over at TWW: They do not believe God is soveriegn over His own Sovereignty. That really sums it up. As in God can give us free will if He wants to. Or He cannot give us free will as He so chooses to do. The one thing I think is He created us for "relationship". I see very little true relationship with God in the Flesh in what Calvinists teach.

We can start with the fact they elevate their doctrine over "relationship". They will defend "Calvinism" to the death. They will say it IS the Gospel. They are focused on a doctrine instead of Christ.

I also think there are some Calvinists who never despair because they don't question it closely. It actually gives them carte blanche to continue in sin and be saved if you think about it.

Mara Reid said...

And yet, Lin, I hear of Calvinists saying that the only reason others aren't Calvinist is because they haven't studied it out in scripture sufficiently.

Lin said...

I know that is what they say, mara. That is what makes it an exclusive club, Mystical And elitist. It is a very cult like Position. They plead special knowledge or understang. It is a form of gnosticism.

Sorry about the bad punctuation. Am writing on the phone. Voice recognition caps the strangest things

and people like being in an exclusive club... and they like movements. They think they have found the special knowledge. It makes them feel important and smart. The new calvinist movement has been presented in such a way that if you are not on this train you are not one of the smart ones

Mara Reid said...

Thanks, Lin.
That makes sense.
Another lure for intelligent young men. So sad. So pointless. So misleading. And such a waste.