27 November, 2016


Modern Modified Calvinism: Its Ambiguities and Contradictions

The center and core of the Calvinistic system is that the sole purpose and end of creation, the fall of angels and men, and the plan of redemption is the glory of God and the manifestation of His perfections. This teaching of the Scripture is expressed in the terms of our Confession:

Chapter 3: Of God’s Eternal Decree.

Section 3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.

Section 4. These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.

The natural man has always refused to receive unconditionally the teaching of Scripture, that all mankind is wholly alienated from God, except for those chosen in Christ from the foundation of the world. With him is identified the evangelical fundamentalist who modifies the teaching of Scripture in either or both the following ways by teaching that:

1. All men are possessed of a natural ability, and are able to please God and contribute to their own salvation.

2. All men are the objects of God’s love and favour to the extent that He desires their salvation.

It is the second of these teachings which is openly taken by those who are classified herein as ‘modern modified Calvinists.’ It cannot be denied that the notion that God desires the salvation of all men is a modification and softening of the statement of the Confession quote above, or that the designation, ‘modern modified Calvinist’ is applicable.

Modern modified Calvinists attempt to justify their position by claiming on the one hand, that they hold the particularistic terms of the standards of their Church and the Reformation, while on the other, they modify and soften the terms of those standards by bringing in the notion that God desires the salvation of all men in the free offer of the gospel.

Two things motivate modern modified Calvinists. First, the desire to adhere to the traditions of their Church and the Reformation, hence their attachment to their Confessional standards, while modifying them under that which constitutes their second motive, namely, the naturalistic concept under which they present the gospel.

The outworking of their system is seen in the following list of ambiguities and contradictions to which their theology is committed:

1. God desires the salvation of all men, but has Himself ordained that the non­elect shall perish.

2. Though God desires to save all, He does not grant to all the gifts of faith and repentance by which they must be saved.

3. The nature of God’s love is changeable. In life He loves the non­elect, even though He has made them the objects of His everlasting displeasure and wrath. In death, God’s love to the non­elect ceases, and only His wrath remains.

4. God does not inwardly call by His Spirit all those He earnestly desires to save and so He had a desire which is at variance to His will as an efficient cause to the doing of all His good pleasure.

5. God Himself expresses an ardent desire for the fulfilment of certain things which He has not decreed in His inscrutable counsel to come to pass. This means that there is a will to the realization of what He has not decretively willed, a pleasure towards that which He has not been pleased to decree.

Modern modified Calvinists attempt to hide the fact of the contradictions and ambiguities of their system behind the mystery of Divine Sovereignty. Any attempt at exposure of their falsity is immediately said to be an unwarranted intrusion into the secret counsels of the Divine Mind.

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