Quote of the Moment: Expensive Theologians

On the topic of Piper and his Calvinism, I ran across a discussion of Calvinist theology in Michael Braddick’s God’s Fury, England’s Fire, a history of the British Civil War. Apparently one of Calvin’s disciples, Theodore Beza, did take the theology to the logical extreme. He was a determinist, and he argued that everything that occured in life was all according to God’s inscrutable design, right down to the fall of Adam and Eve.

This position was not widely embraced. Braddick explains:

Clever theologians, like expensive lawyers, are adept at failing to push arguments too far and there were many respectable positions short of the one adopted by Beza.

Interesting comparison.

In America, the questions put to Calvinist theologians were about the principle of election. Are there babies who died in infancy roasting in hell simply because they were not of the elect? The implications of the theology would seem to lead to that conclusion, but the Calvinist preachers stopped short of spelling that out.

  • Greg G.

    It seems to me that Calvinism is the logical conclusion of the theology of the Bible and, therefore, the theology of the Bible should be rejected by reductio ad absurdum.

  • Machintelligence

    I rather like John Stuart Mill’s take on Calvinism:

    According to [Calvinistic theory], the one great offence of man is self-will. All the good of which humanity is capable is comprised in obedience. You have no choice; thus you must do, and no otherwise: “whatever is not a duty, is a sin.” Human nature being radically corrupt, there is no redemption for any one until human nature is killed within him. To one holding this theory of life, crushing out any of the human faculties, capacities, and susceptibilities, is no evil: man needs no capacity, but that of surrendering himself to the will of God: and if he uses any of his faculties for any other purpose but to do that supposed will more effectually, he is better without them. This is the theory of Calvinism; and it is held, in a mitigated form, by many who do not consider themselves Calvinists; the mitigation consisting in giving a less ascetic interpretation to the alleged will of God; asserting it to be his will that mankind should gratify some of their inclinations; of course not in the manner they themselves prefer, but in the way of obedience, that is, in a way prescribed to them by authority; and, therefore, by the necessary condition of the case, the same for all.

    I can also see where, if you accept determinism and believe in a just God, that the just world fallacy follows right from it.

  • MNb

    This guy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franciscus_Gomarus

    still has some followers in The Netherlands.

  • ORAXX

    Theology is the only field I know of with multiple, irreconcilable, paradigms, all based entirely on conjecture.

    • Pofarmer

      Well, when you start with Bronze age literature, written by multiple authors over hundreds of years,then , for some reason assume that it’s all factual, what else would you expect? I think it’s hard for people to realize these people thought God literally opened the gates of heaven for it to rain. The thought the tides were miraculous. They really did beleive in demons and angels.


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