You Shouldn’t Ever Say You’d Never Worship the God of Calvinism

It is incredibly troubling when an individual opposed to Calvinistic teaching utters the phrase, “I’d never worship the God of Calvinism.” Enter any debate over the sovereignty of God in salvation and it won’t take terribly long for this bomb to be lofted in. The reason it troubles me though is not because I take this as some form of personal insult. It is the height of blasphemy against God, namely, because the God of Calvinism is the God of the Bible.

For the sake of argument, I wish to run a little thought experiment:

A pastor leads a bible study through 1 Samuel 15. Inevitably, the class arrives at verse 3, which shows a direct command from the Lord to Saul, saying, “Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” Upon hearing it, one person says, “I wouldn’t worship a God who does that!” Well, God did command that. Furthermore, He is worthy of all praise, honor, and glory.

Now, behind that comment is a fundamental misunderstanding of the text, and it could be approached in a couple of different ways. One way would be to teach on a theodicy, or rather, providing an answer to the question, “Why does a good God allow evil?” Another would be highlighting the character and nature of God, including, but not limited to, His divine right over Creation, the seriousness with which He takes idolatry, yet also His divine attributes. There are ample resources available for study on these topics and it would prove fruitful for the troubled soul.

Another option would be how I plan on approaching the idea here, and I would only use this option if the individual entrenched themselves in the statement. This is often the case when Calvinism is discussed; in fact, even higher profile Arminians have uttered that they would never worship the God of Calvinism (I think of Roger Olson, for one).

Amazingly, people don’t seem to pause long enough to reflect on the chance that their convictions over the matter might simply be wrong. No man is impervious to holding misconceptions about the character and being of God, and any genuine Christian ought to be terribly afraid of issuing both blessing and cursing against their Lord. It is the embodiment of the height of arrogance many Calvinists are accused of having.

The point is simple: on the off chance that you might be incorrect in your understanding of the text, you do realize saying such things would be incredibly blasphemous, no? Secondly, it reveals a deeper-seated issue, in that it expresses the equivalent of the atheist who hates the God he doesn’t believe in. For when you say something akin to the God of Calvinism being a malevolent bully void of love, you are more closely resembling Hitchens than the thought of any Christian. If you insinuate, as Olson has, the God of Calvinism is scarcely different than Satan, or perhaps Satan himself, you are treading into grounds no genuine Christian belongs.

I come back to my most basic question of all—to classical, high (i.e., “TULIP” Calvinists): How do you distinguish God from the devil except with degrees of power? And what if it turned out that God is the devil in disguise? Would you still worship him? I would not; I hope you would not. But therein lies the secret to why I have said that IF it were revealed to me in a way I could not doubt that God is as high, classical (i.e., “TULIP” Calvinism) claims I would not worship him. (I lose no sleep over this, by the way.) Because, in that case, there would really be no reason to worship God instead of the devil. In fact, as John Wesley famously said, in that case God would be worse than the devil because at least the devil is sincere! (Roger Olson)

Surely, I’ll admit such quips have a sort of rhetorical flare to them – but it is just that. It is an emotionally laden outburst rather than an earnest theological critique of the concept. It is the more verbose equivalent of, “My God wouldn’t do that!” I have no qualms with an individual challenging my understanding of the text, and doing it from the text itself, however, I do take issue to the one who will simply make pithy statements devoid of substance, especially when they are taking aim at their Creator. Equally problematic is the fact that it is disingenuous, in that I highly doubt genuine believers would stop worshiping God if He pulled back the “veil”.

Yet since we also have a historic faith, it would behoove us to study the wealth of historic, theological resources given to us on the topic. The reason I say this is that the charge is often only against Calvin, even though other notable figures were those whom Calvin gleaned his theological expression from. There is perhaps no clearer representation on the teachings of predestination, election, and the bondage of the will than the writings of Augustine of Hippo. Calvin, though credited for the origin of these concepts, paid homage to Augustine again and again throughout his Institutes, as did Luther and Zwingli in their own writings.

If I were inclined to compile a whole volume from Augustine, I could easily show my reader, that I need no words but his (Institutes, Book III, Chap. 22).

This observation only demonstrates the theological categories used to speak on these concepts did not originate with Calvin, Luther, and Zwingli. All three of them made distinct use of Augustine’s writings in formulating Reformation ideals – and wholeheartedly contributed these ideals to the great, African theologian. Yet it also must be made abundantly clear: these theologians did not simply quote Augustine, but utilized many writings from the church fathers in order to demonstrate the catholicity of Reformed doctrine.

The short and simple reason for this post is to usher caution to the one who wishes to cavalierly speak in such a manner. It is not meant to be an exhaustive defense of Calvinism so much as a reminder. It is the tongue which reveals the heart; reveling in such speech only displays the position of one’s heart against God. I would usher the same caution toward Calvinists who speak in such a way, namely, because I believe that if we are orthodox in our understanding, we worship the same God. I hold no reservations, however, in saying that simply because both groups uphold traditional orthodoxy, it must mean the topic is not worthy of debate. It does, however, mean that how we debate and the idle words used when we debate may come back to haunt us.

There is a direct correlation to the disposition of your heart toward the true God and the God of Calvinism. We must also be willing to acknowledge the point Scripture makes painstakingly clear: all men will, at one point, bow the knee in an act of worship to their Creator. This is what makes the statement so particularly dangerous – for if you are incorrect and you refuse worship of Him now because you despise the God of Calvinism, you shall at the eschaton. However, the quality and expression of that worship will be inexhaustibly different. We ought not make such a statement so lightly, but acknowledge the logical conclusion thereof.

So play nice.

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  • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

    This is an extremely important warning–and one, sadly, that is urgently needed. I’m not sure if I have ever read or hear someone say that he would not worship the God of Calvinism, but I have heard remarks like “I would never worship a god like that” and “I would never worship a god who would do that”.

    Note: “a deeper-seeded issue” should be “a deeper-seated issue”.

    But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
    For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
    –Matthew 12:36-37

    • Gilsongraybert

      Thanks Salvatore, both for the feedback and the proofreading!

      • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

        You’re welcome. As I was out walking this evening, I thought more about your article, and I thought of more reasons to be concerned.

        If a Christian who is not a Calvinist believes that Calvinists do not worship the same god that he does, the logical conclusion is that he believes the god of the Calvinists is not the God that Christians worship. It means that Calvinists are not Christians. It means that no Calvinist theology is no more Christian than is Islamic theology. It means that Calvinists should not be invited to participate in ecumenical gatherings. It means that a Christian should not pray with a Calvinist. It means that Calvinistic evangelists and missionaries spread a gospel of a false god, which leads to perdition.

        I am not arguing here that Calvinism is correct on all points of doctrine: I am just pointing out the drastic ramifications of believing that the god which Calvinists worship is not the god of the Bible.

        • Gilsongraybert

          You are spot on – Calvinists would be those only worthy of being wholly condemned by anyone in the church if that statement is correct.

        • Stefanie

          I think I have said before: I would or could never worship the Calvinist God. But I don’t think that Calvinists are not Christians or that we worship different God’s. I think we just have a different view of the same God. God is awesome and mysterious, but also fully revealed in Jesus. I try to build my understanding of what God is like around Jesus. The reason I feel comfortable saying: I don’t think I could worship the Calvinist God, is because I am already thinking it. If I am thinking it God already knows, but he also knows that I am very interested in seeking him. That I am honestly trying to learn more about him, so if he choses to reveal to me that I am absolutely wrong, I would try and deal with that. I am trying to be aware of how my background and my view on life influences my view on God, and I don’t purposefully try to create God in my own image.
          But I would not hide my feelings, God can deal with them. He probably has heard worse.

          • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

            I suggest that instead of thinking or saying “I would or could never worship the Calvinist God”, you think or say “I don’t think I could worship God if He is as I understand the Calvinists believe Him to be”.

            That way, it will not sound as if Calvinists do not believe in, worship, and serve the same God you do.

            Like you, Calvinists believe that Jesus is God. Therefore, to learn about Jesus is to learn about God, and to learn about God–for example, by studying the Old Testament–is to learn about Jesus.

            Note that within Calvinism there are different views about God. So one ought not to assume that everything one Calvinist believes is what all Calvinists believe.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    The great commandment is to love God, not to worship him. We worship God because we love him, but if we do not love him, worshipping him is worthless. The God repeatedly described by the author of this blog can be obeyed, feared and, yes, worshipped, but cannot be loved.
    He cannot be loved, because the author is explicit that this God does not love us, but only for his own glory condescends to behave kindly to a lucky, random cohort creatures he detests. This God cannot be loved because there is nothing in him worth loving, since he is cruel, full of hatred for mankind and only interested in mankind as foils to display his own greatness. You cannot truly love something like that (although you can say you do and behave lovingly for fear of a beating – I do not think this is what the Bible means by “love” though).
    To love God is to love God because he us good, because he is the source of all goodness and first loved us, not because you are scared he will hurt you. God is love, is goodness and is these things in the ordinary (non-Calvinist) sense of these words, as being delight in mankind and creation and desiring of our good, not hurt, not “loving behaviour” and naked exercise of power. These are definitional qualities of God. If whatever it is you worship you could not have these qualities and still be identifiably the same thing it isn’t God but something else. If what you feel about “God” is independent of whether God is good or not, is independent of God’s essential qualities and would continue even if it didn’t have them, it would not be love. If I were to continue to “love” my wife if I found out she had been replaced by an imposter, I never loved her in the first place.
    I might kowtow to the horrible “God” the Calvinand others insist upon, if the curtain were pulled back and the true God who loves the universe into being turned out to be a sham created by this “not-God”, but only through weakness and fear. There is no reason, though to suppose such a not-God exists. It should be more concerning if one could indeed switch one’s supposed “love” of God happily and easily to love of this “not-God”, if it existed, because this would demonstrate beyond doubt you never loved God (the true God) in the first place.

  • Your striking title raises deep troubling points.

    I will tell you why everyone ought to state that they would never worship the God of Calvinism, because the God of Calvinism is utterly evil.

    Like John Wesley famously wrote, he would rather be an atheist than believe in an almighty tyrant.

    Consider these points:
    #1 When we were 17 years old a new leader (a Calvinist) of our youth group claimed that God would sometimes order us to do what is immoral! He specifically told me that God was ordering me to do what is contrary to Jesus’ own words!!
    I was horrified then, and now many years later, I still am. I would NEVER do what is evil because the God of Calvinism told me to do so.

    #2 The characteristics of the God of Calvinism is the worst evil leader in existence. For instance, Calvinists such as Matt Chandler claim that every infant is in essence, evil.
    Some Calvinists claim that since they think their God is sovereign that therefore their God planned the Jewish Holocaust in order to be glorified!!!!!!!!
    Indeed, according to Calvinists their God planned every rape and every murder in human history.

    According to Calvinists, their God wills every natural disaster, wills ever disease, wills every harmful event.

    #3 All Calvinists claim (like Muslims and some secularists) that all humans have no choice.

    #4 John Calvin even claimed that it was God’s will that all humans sin.

    #5 Calvinists follow John Calvin in claiming that before the beginning of the cosmos, that their God foreordained most of the billions of humans to eternal damnation. Read Calvin’s passages in the Institutes.

    Lastly, again, think about it. The God of Calvinism is the opposite of all that is Good.

    • Gilsongraybert

      Your youth group leader seems to have had some misconceptions on how Calvinism applies, as ot clearly does not teach that God would order us to do evil. Secondly, the idea is that we come back to Scripture on these things. If Scripture indeed does teach the Doctrines of Grace, it is not Calvin you have an issue with – but Scripture.

      I linked to two other posts within this one that I wrote some time back, regarding whether or not Calvinism makes God out to be a moral monster by necessity of its principles. If you’d like to, take a read – they ought to (hopefully) clear up some misconceptions you might hold regarding the doctrine and what we affirm.

      • It’s unlikely that I will be influenced by your other posts, but I will take a look at them.
        After that very bad experience with the youth leader–he used the Old Testament to prove that he was correct–
        at university I studied in an American Intellectual History class with a professor who earned his PhD. on Jonathan Edwards.
        I’ve read many of the most famous Reformed/Calvinists including R.C. Sproul, John Piper, Loraine Boettner (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination), even read a book by R.L. Dabney, the famous Presbyterian theologian who was a chaplain for Stonewall Jackson, some John Owen, 5 biographies of John Calvin, books on Erasmus versus Luther, Augustine, etc.

        Also, our former assistant minister–before I left our church–knew Professor Richard J. Mouw, president of Fuller Seminary, and so I dialogued via email with Mouw, and he personally sent me his brief book, All that is Fair.
        ETC.

        I spent 55 years dialoguing and studying Reformed/Calvinism and after all those thousands of encounters and pages, was more certain than ever that its theology is reprehensibly horrific and completely untrue.

        The only thing that it achieved is to finally convince me after 55 years is that Christianity is untrue. Heck, most Calvinists claimed to me that the Baptist religion I grew up in was heretical, that Billy Graham was entirely wrong when he claimed that God loves to save every single human.

        I was a Billy Graham counselor, a Baptist youth minster, etc. years ago.

        I don’t know if you remember Graham’s famous sermon where he proclaimed the good news that even if only one human had sinned, Jesus would have died for him.

        But now the Billy Graham Association claims that only a limited number of humans are foreordained to salvation. I spoke with a leader of the organization about 6 years ago for 45 minutes. He said that Graham still thinks everyone can be saved, but none of the leadership do. Plus, I used to get Decision magazine for many years, until it started promoting Calvinists in every issue.

        I don’t think I have any misconceptions about Calvinism.

        After all these years of complex study and dialog, I understand it only too well.

        • Gilsongraybert

          Well – you are quite right that if you’ve read any of these others, I certainly will not be the one to change your mind. It is sad though, as your certainty on much of what it teaches (some correct, some very incorrect), even after dialogue, study, etc., seems to be colored by your experience as a youth more than anything else.

    • Pilgrim

      Hi,

      #3 John 15 quotes Jesus speaking with his disciples saying, ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.’
      Your #5 is directly spoken of in the text of the bible. Ephesians 1:4-5, ‘4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will..’
      Author and minister, R.C.Sproul has written many books on the reformed faith and worth looking at. At the ligonier.com website you will find an article called, ‘“Double” Predestination
      by R.C. Sproul. In the age old argument of Pelagianism, the theology of Jacobus Arminiusis, is the belief that man in his natural state is able to freely choose good over evil and live a sinless life, without help from God. It denies the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and it denies original sin. Arminius’s teachings were compared to Pelagianism because of his emphasis on man’s free will: Arminius said that a man could struggle against sin before being regenerated by the Holy Spirit and had the power of free will to either refuse or accept regeneration. Calvinists disagree with this notion, reasoning from the Bible’s teaching that the natural man is “dead in trespasses and sins” that we can do nothing to be saved without the supernatural intervention of God (Ephesians 2:1–3). The main issue is man’s free will versus God’s sovereignty in salvation. Jacobus Arminius and his adherents would say man has the ability to make choices that advance him toward his eventual regeneration. Calvinists disagree on this and other points, saying that Arminianism amounts to a denial of the biblical doctrine of God’s election and places salvation ultimately in the hands of the individual rather than in the hands of God. Arminianism appeals to the vanity of man, as it is man-centered and appealing. There is a tension in the scriptures with some texts leaning towards Arminianism and others towards Calvinism. As we can see in the USA, maverick yankee individualism, Arminianism won the day.

  • Craig

    The God of the Bible is Immoral.

    Based upon the majority of Christian Theology & Thought ….

    God ‘wilfully’ and ‘intentionally’ brings specific people ( could be billions or even trillions of people ) into existence that He Already Knows He will be subjecting to everlasting sufferings and torments in an Eternal Hell / Lake of Fire.

    Our moral conscience tells each one of us that this is morally wrong. However, people who claim that they are Christians ( Calvinists, Arminians, Molinists, and Open Theists ) deny and reject their moral conscience in favour of what the Bible says.

    It is the same with Radical Muslims. They deny and reject their moral conscience in favour of what the Koran says.

    Getting back to Christians …

    They think God gets an exemption from the moral law.

    I have heard many a Calvinist say to me that God is the Potter and we are the clay and God can do whatever He wants with us and who are you Oh man to question God ? ( Parroting off Romans 9 ).

    Then I will ask them …

    If God has an exemption from the moral law and He can do whatever He wants with His human creatures, then how do you know for certain that God is telling you the truth and not lying ?

    They say ….

    “ God can’t lie because the Bible says that He can’t. “

    I will reply …

    “ How do you know the Bible is true and not lies ?? “

    They reply …

    “ Because it is God’s Word and He would not lie. It says so in the Bible. “

    And so around and around in circles it goes.

    As you can see they are begging the question ( which is logically fallacious ).

    If Calvinism or any branch of Christianity was true, then it would mean that God is NOT Morally Perfect. It is that simple !

    If God is not morally perfect, then there is no basis to believe that anything He says is true.

    Christianity has a moral problem that it just can’t deal with or fix.

    Calvinism is the most blatant Immoral position to hold out of all the Theological positions.

    If Calvinism were true, then God Sovereignly Decreed for me to write what I have. I could not have written other than what I have.

    • Gilsongraybert

      What’s relatively humorous is that you speak of logical fallacies, and then commit at least three.

      • Craig

        You would need to “specifically” show where I have committed logical fallacies.

        Claiming that I have is not good enough.

        Until you show “specifically” where I have made logical fallacies, my post stands unrefuted.

        • Gilsongraybert

          Well, I mean, you literally started with an anecdotal appeal by citing your “moral conscience” as the determiner of moral wrongs.

          • Craig

            When a little girl or a little boy is brutally raped and murdered, then should I deny my moral conscience when it tells me that such actions are morally wrong ?

            Would that be a Yes or a No ?

          • Gilsongraybert

            Strawman fallacy. Shall I keep going as you bring new replies, or is the point sufficiently made?

          • Craig

            You have not shown I have made any logical fallacies thus far. You just keep asserting that I am making them without showing that I am.

            Show me where I have made a Strawman Fallacy. Explain how I have done this …

          • Gilsongraybert

            Lol, you’re refuting an argument I haven’t made, thus, you are attacking a straw man. The question was if your moral conscience is the determiner of moral wrongs, not if it *can* determine moral wrongdoing.

          • Craig

            My conscience does determine and know moral wrongs – the same as yours.

            Why do I need to appeal to anything beyond my moral conscience ?

            My moral conscience tells me that child abuse, rape, and murder are ALL morally wrong actions.

            Why do I need to go any further than that ??

            Seriously ??

            Why do I need to go any further than what My moral conscience tells me ??

          • Gilsongraybert

            Because plenty of other people’s moral conscience tells them that child abuse, rape, and murder are not morally wrong actions. You have entire cultures that believe honor-killings are morally good. One’s moral conscience can be defunct – that’s why you need to appeal to something outside of your own moral conscience.

            Secondly, we all have some criteria that informs our moral conscience, whether we realize that or not. You didn’t develop a system of personal ethics in a vacuum, but you did (anecdotally) decide which ethics you found appropriate to adhere to. What makes your decision-making more appropriate or authoritative than the one who disagrees with certain principles you hold?

            You assume objective morality (which is good) – but your criteria is subjective. If morality is objective, it is outside of the personal determination of any single man or woman. Which we then go back to the question of “by what standard?” It certainly isn’t individual or cultural – because they bring conflicting moral beliefs, and they can’t logically be both moral and immoral at the same time (which then also means they aren’t dependent on outside criteria, hence why it would be objective). What you are left with then is a choice of *what* you will appeal to beyond your own personal, moral conscience, not if.

          • Craig

            We all ‘Universally’ have similarities on major moral fundamentals – knowing that actions like rape, murder, child abuse, and stealing are morally wrong actions.

            People always know what is morally wrong ( from the first person ) if something is done to them or someone else that they value.

            For example…

            A Thief will know that you are doing wrong if you steal his car.

            A Rapist will think you are doing wrong if you try to rape him or someone that they care about.

            Haven’t you been reading C.S.Lewis or listening to Frank Turek ?

            They will tell you exactly what I am telling you. C.S.Lewis will talk about the moral law in us … in “Mere Christianity”.

            At this present time in my own city… a little 11 year old girl was just recently abducted and sexually abused and the city as a whole is morally horrified.

            They are not running to any religious book ( like the Bible ) and looking up the index or concordance to see if sexual abuse and rape of a little girl is wrong. Nay !! – They all have a conscience. They all know internally [ in their conscience ] that what was done to that little girl was morally wrong.

            We all have an internal moral compass ( so to speak ) where we just know that some actions are morally wrong.

            The thing with people like you, is that, you want to deny your moral conscience and submit it to the words of the Bible. I have heard John Piper do it. He loses his humanity for the Bible. He denies what his conscience tells him as being morally wrong for whatever is written in the Bible.

            For people like Piper ( and those who share his Calvinist Theology ) , God can just do whatever He wants with people. God has the right to create vessels of wrath and submit them to ‘everlasting conscious torment’.

            Our moral conscience tells us… that if a man set his ex-girlfriend on fire for his own person reasons, then it would be morally wrong. BUT… Christians want to give God the exemption from living according to the moral law.

            It would be subjective morality if I was basing morality on personal opinions and preferences. But I am not ! I am saying that I have a moral conscience ( the same as you ) and regardless if there is a God or not…. I know by my moral conscience ( as you do ) that some actions in life are just morally wrong.

            I don’t need to get beyond my conscience to know that some actions ( like rape and murder ) in life are morally wrong !!

            Your missing link ( as it is the missing link with the majority of Christian Apologetics ) is to overlook Moral Epistemology ( how we come to know something is Right and Wrong ) and just jump straight to Moral Ontology ( By What Standard ? ).

            By What Standard ? is not always a good question because a Muslim could say that he Judges “By the Standard of Allah and The Koran”.

          • Craig

            It is obvious that you are removing my comments and not letting them go through and stay. It is a dishonest act by you to do that.

          • Gilsongraybert

            I haven’t removed a single thing. The only time we remove comments is when someone is belligerent or continually using nasty language. So unless you’ve done that and the other admin has seen it prior to me, then I honestly don’t know what to tell you. It also doesn’t seem like there’s a gap in any of the context of what you’ve said thus far.

          • Craig

            We all ‘Universally’ have similarities on major moral fundamentals – knowing that actions like rape, murder, child abuse, and stealing are morally wrong actions.

            People always know what is morally wrong ( from the first person ) if something is done to them or someone else that they value.

            For example…

            A Thief will know that you are doing wrong if you steal his car.

            A Rapist will think you are doing wrong if you try to rape him or someone that they care about.

            Haven’t you been reading C.S.Lewis or listening to Frank Turek ?

            They will tell you exactly what I am telling you. C.S.Lewis will talk about the moral law in us … in “Mere Christianity”.

            At this present time in my own city… a little 11 year old girl was just recently abducted and sexually abused and the city as a whole is morally horrified.

            They are not running to any religious book ( like the Bible ) and looking up the index or concordance to see if sexual abuse and rape of a little girl is wrong. Nay !! – They all have a conscience. They all know internally [ in their conscience ] that what was done to that little girl was morally wrong.

            We all have an internal moral compass ( so to speak ) where we just know that some actions are morally wrong.

            The thing with people like you, is that, you want to deny your moral conscience and submit it to the words of the Bible. I have heard John Piper do it. He loses his humanity for the Bible. He denies what his conscience tells him as being morally wrong for whatever is written in the Bible.

            For people like Piper ( and those who share his Calvinist Theology ) , God can just do whatever He wants with people. God has the right to create vessels of wrath and submit them to ‘everlasting conscious torment’.

            Our moral conscience tells us… that if a man set his ex-girlfriend on fire for his own person reasons, then it would be morally wrong. BUT… Christians want to give God the exemption from living according to the moral law.

            It would be subjective morality if I was basing morality on personal opinions and preferences. But I am not ! I am saying that I have a moral conscience ( the same as you ) and regardless if there is a God or not…. I know by my moral conscience ( as you do ) that some actions in life are just morally wrong.

            I don’t need to get beyond my conscience to know that some actions ( like rape and murder ) in life are morally wrong !!

            Your missing link ( as it is the missing link with the majority of Christian Apologetics ) is to overlook Moral Epistemology ( how we come to know something is Right and Wrong ) and just jump straight to Moral Ontology ( By What Standard ? ).

            By What Standard ? is not always a good question because a Muslim could say that he Judges “By the Standard of Allah and The Koran”.

          • Gilsongraybert

            So all of that and you still don’t really answer the question, but instead just assert you know your moral conscience is the determiner of moral law because, well, you just know?

            For the record, I don’t entirely disagree that we intrinsically “know” what is morally right – I am merely saying your own moral compass cannot possibly be the final determinant in that “knowing”, because your moral compass is subject to being wrong, hence bringing it into ontology. We only properly understand ourselves in light of understanding our relation to God – and that involves all spheres of knowledge and being. Rightly understand God and what He has done, and you will rightly understand man.

          • Craig

            You wrote …..

            // We only properly understand ourselves in light of understanding our relation to God //

            You are “assuming” or “presupposing” that God would be telling the truth.

            The only way that anyone could know for certain that God was telling the truth and not lying, would be… to be God. That would be the only way to have access to every single one of God’s thoughts and intentions.

            Since no one [ who claims that they are a Christian ] is God, then they have to rely upon a book ( The Bible ) that they believe is all true but cannot know for certain is all true.

            Thus –

            Your position is a position of “raw faith” – “raw faith” in what a book says – and that you have no way of knowing for certain is all true or not.

            This is the problem with “Presuppositional Apologetics”. Namely, it begins with “The Presupposition” that God is telling the truth. And those that use this method think that God is telling the truth by appealing to the Bible – but they have no way of knowing for certain if the Bible is all true or not.

            As I wrote in my Original and Initial Post ….

            Based upon the majority of Christian Theology & Thought ….

            God ‘wilfully’ and ‘intentionally’ brings specific people ( could be billions or even trillions of people ) into existence that He Already Knows He will be subjecting to everlasting sufferings and torments in an Eternal Hell / Lake of Fire.

            Our moral conscience tells each one of us that this is morally wrong. However, people who claim that they are Christians ( Calvinists, Arminians, Molinists, and Open Theists ) deny and reject their moral conscience in favour of what the Bible says.

            There is no basis to trust that such a Being would be telling the truth when He ‘wilfully’ and ‘intentionally’ brings specific people ( could be billions or even trillions of people ) into existence that He Already Knows He will be subjecting to everlasting sufferings and torments in an Eternal Hell / Lake of Fire.

            How is such a Being being morally good To each one of those persons to bring them into existence [ already knowing ] that He will be subjecting them to everlasting sufferings and torments ?

            Answer: He isn’t !!

          • Gilsongraybert

            Presuppositional apologetics approaches the apologetic method with the notion that we all have presuppositions – the overarching question within that is which presuppositional framework is correct. You’ve done nothing here but assert your own presuppositions about God the entire time without really showing any support to these ideas beyond your own, personal, subjective moral conscience (which you subsequently claim is objective, but then also conveniently can’t show how). All you’ve done is avoid questions (or statements against the logical fallacies you assumed, especially when they were clearly called out) and reassert the same presuppositions and straw men you began with. When challenged with the standard you derive these magical propositions from, you just appeal to your own knowledge once again. But, of course, Christians are the ones assuming everything.

          • Craig

            You wrote ….

            // You’ve done nothing here but assert your own presuppositions about God the entire time without really showing any support to these ideas beyond your own, personal, subjective moral conscience //

            As I have already written …

            We all ‘Universally’ have similarities on major moral fundamentals – knowing that actions like rape, murder, child abuse, and stealing are morally wrong actions.

            People always know what is morally wrong ( from the first person ) if something is done to them or someone else that they value.

            For example…

            A Thief will know that you are doing wrong if you steal his car.

            A Rapist will think you are doing wrong if you try to rape him or someone that they care about.

            Haven’t you been reading C.S.Lewis or listening to Frank Turek ?

            They will tell you exactly what I am telling you. C.S.Lewis will talk about the moral law in us … in “Mere Christianity”.

            At this present time in my own city… a little 11 year old girl was just recently abducted and sexually abused and the city as a whole is morally horrified.

            They are not running to any religious book ( like the Bible ) and looking up the index or concordance to see if sexual abuse and rape of a little girl is wrong. Nay !! – They all have a conscience. They all know internally [ in their conscience ] that what was done to that little girl was morally wrong.

            We all have an internal moral compass ( so to speak ) where we just know that some actions are morally wrong.

            The thing with people like you, is that, you want to deny your moral conscience and submit it to the words of the Bible. I have heard John Piper do it. He loses his humanity for the Bible. He denies what his conscience tells him as being morally wrong for whatever is written in the Bible.

            For people like Piper ( and those who share his Calvinist Theology ) , God can just do whatever He wants with people. God has the right to create vessels of wrath and submit them to ‘everlasting conscious torment’.

            Our moral conscience tells us… that if a man set his ex-girlfriend on fire for his own person reasons, then it would be morally wrong. BUT… Christians want to give God the exemption from living according to the moral law.

            It would be subjective morality if I was basing morality on personal opinions and preferences. But I am not ! I am saying that I have a moral conscience ( the same as you ) and regardless if there is a God or not…. I know by my moral conscience ( as you do ) that some actions in life are just morally wrong.

            I don’t need to get beyond my conscience to know that some actions ( like rape and murder ) in life are morally wrong !!

            Your missing link ( as it is the missing link with the majority of Christian Apologetics ) is to overlook Moral Epistemology ( how we come to know something is Right and Wrong ) and just jump straight to Moral Ontology ( By What Standard ? ).

            By What Standard ? is not always a good question because a Muslim could say that he Judges “By the Standard of Allah and The Koran”.

            —-

            NOTE: You ignored that whole post. You are running around in circles with no where to go.

            —-

          • Craig

            You wrote ….

            // You’ve done nothing here but assert your own presuppositions about God the entire time without really showing any support to these ideas beyond your own, personal, subjective moral conscience //

            As I have already written …

            We all ‘Universally’ have similarities on major moral fundamentals – knowing that actions like rape, murder, child abuse, and stealing are morally wrong actions.

            People always know what is morally wrong ( from the first person ) if something is done to them or someone else that they value.

            For example…

            A Thief will know that you are doing wrong if you steal his car.

            A Rapist will think you are doing wrong if you try to rape him or someone that they care about.

            Haven’t you been reading C.S.Lewis or listening to Frank Turek ?

            They will tell you exactly what I am telling you. C.S.Lewis will talk about the moral law in us … in “Mere Christianity”.

            At this present time in my own city… a little 11 year old girl was just recently abducted and sexually abused and the city as a whole is morally horrified.

            They are not running to any religious book ( like the Bible ) and looking up the index or concordance to see if sexual abuse and rape of a little girl is wrong. Nay !! – They all have a conscience. They all know internally [ in their conscience ] that what was done to that little girl was morally wrong.

            We all have an internal moral compass ( so to speak ) where we just know that some actions are morally wrong.

            The thing with people like you, is that, you want to deny your moral conscience and submit it to the words of the Bible. I have heard John Piper do it. He loses his humanity for the Bible. He denies what his conscience tells him as being morally wrong for whatever is written in the Bible.

            For people like Piper ( and those who share his Calvinist Theology ) , God can just do whatever He wants with people. God has the right to create vessels of wrath and submit them to ‘everlasting conscious torment’.

            Our moral conscience tells us… that if a man set his ex-girlfriend on fire for his own person reasons, then it would be morally wrong. BUT… Christians want to give God the exemption from living according to the moral law.

            It would be subjective morality if I was basing morality on personal opinions and preferences. But I am not ! I am saying that I have a moral conscience ( the same as you ) and regardless if there is a God or not…. I know by my moral conscience ( as you do ) that some actions in life are just morally wrong.

            I don’t need to get beyond my conscience to know that some actions ( like rape and murder ) in life are morally wrong !!

            Your missing link ( as it is the missing link with the majority of Christian Apologetics ) is to overlook Moral Epistemology ( how we come to know something is Right and Wrong ) and just jump straight to Moral Ontology ( By What Standard ? ).

            By What Standard ? is not always a good question because a Muslim could say that he Judges “By the Standard of Allah and The Koran”.

            —-

            NOTE: You ignored that whole post. You are running around in circles with no where to go.

            —-

          • Craig

            You wrote ….

            // You’ve done nothing here but assert your own presuppositions about God the entire time without really showing any support to these ideas beyond your own, personal, subjective moral conscience //

            As I have already written …

            We all ‘Universally’ have similarities on major moral fundamentals – knowing that actions like rape, murder, child abuse, and stealing are morally wrong actions.

            People always know what is morally wrong ( from the first person ) if something is done to them or someone else that they value.

            For example…

            A Thief will know that you are doing wrong if you steal his car.

            A Rapist will think you are doing wrong if you try to rape him or someone that they care about.

            Haven’t you been reading C.S.Lewis or listening to Frank Turek ?

            They will tell you exactly what I am telling you. C.S.Lewis will talk about the moral law in us … in “Mere Christianity”.

            At this present time in my own city… a little 11 year old girl was just recently abducted and sexually abused and the city as a whole is morally horrified.

            They are not running to any religious book ( like the Bible ) and looking up the index or concordance to see if sexual abuse and rape of a little girl is wrong. Nay !! – They all have a conscience. They all know internally [ in their conscience ] that what was done to that little girl was morally wrong.

            We all have an internal moral compass ( so to speak ) where we just know that some actions are morally wrong.

            The thing with people like you, is that, you want to deny your moral conscience and submit it to the words of the Bible. I have heard John Piper do it. He loses his humanity for the Bible. He denies what his conscience tells him as being morally wrong for whatever is written in the Bible.

            For people like Piper ( and those who share his Calvinist Theology ) , God can just do whatever He wants with people. God has the right to create vessels of wrath and submit them to ‘everlasting conscious torment’.

            Our moral conscience tells us… that if a man set his ex-girlfriend on fire for his own person reasons, then it would be morally wrong. BUT… Christians want to give God the exemption from living according to the moral law.

            It would be subjective morality if I was basing morality on personal opinions and preferences. But I am not ! I am saying that I have a moral conscience ( the same as you ) and regardless if there is a God or not…. I know by my moral conscience ( as you do ) that some actions in life are just morally wrong.

            I don’t need to get beyond my conscience to know that some actions ( like rape and murder ) in life are morally wrong !!

            Your missing link ( as it is the missing link with the majority of Christian Apologetics ) is to overlook Moral Epistemology ( how we come to know something is Right and Wrong ) and just jump straight to Moral Ontology ( By What Standard ? ).

            By What Standard ? is not always a good question because a Muslim could say that he Judges “By the Standard of Allah and The Koran”.

            —-

            NOTE: You ignored that whole post. You are running around in circles with no where to go.

            —-

          • Craig

            We all ‘Universally’ have similarities on major moral fundamentals – knowing that actions like rape, murder, child abuse, and stealing are morally wrong actions.

            People always know what is morally wrong ( from the first person ) if something is done to them or someone else that they value.

            For example…

            A Thief will know that you are doing wrong if you steal his car.

            A Rapist will think you are doing wrong if you try to rape him or someone that they care about.

            Haven’t you been reading C.S.Lewis or listening to Frank Turek ?

            They will tell you exactly what I am telling you. C.S.Lewis will talk about the moral law in us … in “Mere Christianity”.

            At this present time in my own city… a little 11 year old girl was just recently abducted and sexually abused and the city as a whole is morally horrified.

            They are not running to any religious book ( like the Bible ) and looking up the index or concordance to see if sexual abuse and rape of a little girl is wrong. Nay !! – They all have a conscience. They all know internally [ in their conscience ] that what was done to that little girl was morally wrong.

            We all have an internal moral compass ( so to speak ) where we just know that some actions are morally wrong.

            The thing with people like you, is that, you want to deny your moral conscience and submit it to the words of the Bible. I have heard John Piper do it. He loses his humanity for the Bible. He denies what his conscience tells him as being morally wrong for whatever is written in the Bible.

            For people like Piper ( and those who share his Calvinist Theology ) , God can just do whatever He wants with people. God has the right to create vessels of wrath and submit them to ‘everlasting conscious torment’.

            Our moral conscience tells us… that if a man set his ex-girlfriend on fire for his own person reasons, then it would be morally wrong. BUT… Christians want to give God the exemption from living according to the moral law.

            It would be subjective morality if I was basing morality on personal opinions and preferences. But I am not ! I am saying that I have a moral conscience ( the same as you ) and regardless if there is a God or not…. I know by my moral conscience ( as you do ) that some actions in life are just morally wrong.

            I don’t need to get beyond my conscience to know that some actions ( like rape and murder ) in life are morally wrong !!

            Your missing link ( as it is the missing link with the majority of Christian Apologetics ) is to overlook Moral Epistemology ( how we come to know something is Right and Wrong ) and just jump straight to Moral Ontology ( By What Standard ? ).

            By What Standard ? is not always a good question because a Muslim could say that he Judges “By the Standard of Allah and The Koran”.

  • Jeffrey

    “It is the height of blasphemy against God, namely, because the God of Calvinism is the God of the Bible.”

    I’ll give you this – you write good catch lines.

    But the fact remains, so-called ‘calvinism’ did not exist for over 1,500 years after Christ founded His one, holy Church.

    It did not take the Holy Spirit a millennium and a half to finally get it right, although it did take that long for Satan to convince arrogant heretics such as Luther and Calvin that they could blaspheme God and still delude themselves into thinking they were genuine Christians.

    The sovereignty of God is undeniable, irrefutable and – because of its staggering eternality – far beyond the human mind to adequately grasp with any great clarity, which is why Christ’s one true Church has always allowed for a degree of leniency in its interpretation.

    But the very fact that Luther, Calvin and the rest of their rebellious brood all learned their theology initially from Roman Catholic sources shows that there is nothing ‘reformed’ about the doctrines of election, predestination, foreknowledge, etc.

    St. Jerome taught it, St. Thomas Aquinas taught it, the Council of Trent taught it, the Dominicans still teach it, Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange, one of the professors who taught future Pope John Paul II, wrote a wonderful book about it that’s still in print.

    For these and countless others unmentioned here, election is a free, utterly mysterious act of Divine sovereignty, which hinged upon nothing other than God’s good will to grace many with the gifts of faith and (for His true elect) perseverance of faith until death.

    A side note – The protestant thievery of St. Augustine is especially humorous.

    This is the same man who declared salvation to be completely impossible outside the Holy Catholic Church, who believed that unbaptized infants could not be saved (a belief the Church did not make dogma), who declared unashamedly that the eucharist was the actual body of Christ, who demanded excommunication for anyone denying that Mary was the ‘Mother of God’, who explicitly denied that ‘faith alone’ could save anyone… and is the same man R.C. Sproul referred to as a ‘proto-Protestant’.

    I mean, I get it. Protestantism is essentially ahistorical. It didn’t exist until very recently in Christian history, and so they are devoid of any historical foundation whatsoever.

    But so-called ‘reformed’ theology shouldn’t be rejected because it teaches that God is completely sovereign over His creation.

    It should be rejected because it denies the Church that Christ Himself founded, the only one with apostolic succession (although I give the Orthodox a mulligan on this one).

    It should be rejected because it has a heretical ecclesiology unknown for over 1,500 years, a heretical soteriology invented by Luther almost on a whim, because Calvin came as close to Nestorianism as he could get without admitting it outright, denying the omnipresence of Jesus Christ, denying that Mary is the Mother of God, calling Christ a liar when He said ‘This is My Body’, and initiating the vile blasphemy of a completely symbolic, meaningless communion of ‘remembrance’.

    I could go on, but why?

    To these I would declare ‘It is the height of blasphemy to say you would never worship the God of Roman Catholicism, because the God of Roman Catholicism IS the God of the Bible.’

    And I’d have vastly more Biblical, apostolic, traditional and historical weight behind my comment.

  • J. Inglis

    Gilbert seems to be missing the point of (most of) those who declare that they would not worship the “God of Calvinism”. True, there are many who make that statement merely for its rhetorical flair or without any depth of thought about what they are saying or perhaps simply as some sort of tribalist statement about where they think they belong.

    However, those who think about it in any reasoned way are are saying it for the same reason and purpose as those who say they will not worship Baal, or Caesar, or any other false idol or god. It is like those who in the early twentieth century argued that the “liberal” church did not actually worship the true god. Do Mormons worship the same god as traditionally orthodox christians simply because they use the Bible as one of their scriptures, use the name “Jesus”, and claim to worship the same capital “G” God as traditional protestants, eastern orthodox, RCs and Coptics?

    It has long been argued in the christian church that the content of one’s belief is as important as one’s behaviour / praxis (and, ironically have fought wars over the validity and truth and orthodoxy of that content). So Gilbert’s reasoning flies in the face of that reasoning and hundreds of years of support for the importance of content.

    And it does not help at all to say that one might be wrong. That is true,but trite, and trivially so. Lutherans and Southern Baptists and Presbyterians could all be wrong about the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Being humble about our beliefs does not mean that we refuse to call them out as non-Christian and argue that holding to their beliefs puts one’s soul in danger (only God truly knows who is saved, and many people in the church at large love and serve and worship the triune God without critically thinking about the correctness and biblical foundations for their beliefs).

    And since Olson was referenced, it bears looking more closely at what he has said in so far as it is representative of many who reject a Calvinist portrait of God as being a correct and representative portrait of the true God. Olson has not said that all those who profess to be Calvinists worship the wrong god or are unsaved. He has stated his belief that most of them are. He has drawn attention to the inconsistency in the beliefs / theology of many who call themselves Calvinist. He clearly believes that inconsistency and error in one’s beliefs about God are not sufficient in and of themselves to separate a person from God and his salvation. He has even raised the possibility that since the heart and the praxis that flows from it are critical to salvation and since the heart is only known by God, it is therefore within the realm of possibility that someone who attends a Mormon church can know the real Jesus and follow him and worship him and thus be saved despite attending a church where the official teaching is heretical.

    No one’s beliefs are entirely correct, and there is no percentage of correct belief that puts one in or out of salvation.

    What Olson has said is that some of the expressed beliefs of some Calvinists are directly contrary to God’s revelation through Jesus and in his written word (especially those who are consistent and thorough-going in their Calvinist beliefs and allow such beliefs to shape their entire theology). He is particularly critical of the impact of nominalism and voluntarism on Calvinist theology. He has also drawn attention to the similarities between some Calvinist portraits of God and those of the Moslem god.

    Olson also stresses that his more extreme critique is focussed on those who hold to thoroughgoing Calvinist portrait of God despite the inconsistencies between that portrait and the Bible and who therefore reject or reinterpret those statements in the Bible that are inconsistent with their nominalist and voluntarist five-point Calvinism. Olson’s point is that such a god–i.e., a god who corresponds to such a portrait–would not correspond to the representation that God makes of himself in and through Jesus and the scriptures. Such a God is rightfully and properly rejected, as is the case with the Mormon god, or the god of Islam.

    Yes, any one of us might be wrong in our theology, but that does not mean that we should not act as the Bereans and investigate scripture to find the truth and then declare that truth. Sometimes the theology in question is a more peripheral and less essential matter and should not separate believers from fellowshipping with each other. We should be very humble and open to differences in such areas. But other issues are more critical and require much stronger statements.