27 November, 2016


The Problems of Modern Modified Calvinism in the Defense and Propagation of the Faith

The immediate problems raised by this system are fourfold.

1. In the first place its proponents present themselves as the true representatives and exponents of the Reformed faith, whereas in truth, they represent it in a state of error and decline.

2. In the second place it produces a preaching which cannot, because of its contradictions and ambiguities, logically uphold the principles of the Reformed faith, but rather destroys them. In place of the principles of faith, it concentrates on preaching up the fruits of reform in terms of attitudes, feelings and dispositions toward Christ. In this regard it is most deceptive to the hearer because its terminology concerning the fruits of the Spirit is Reformed, but divorced from the principles of the Word of God which are given to produce them. As discussed later, it separates the law from the gospel and holds out a Christ who belongs to every man.

3. In the third place there is the matter of the effect of the doctrine on man’s behaviour. Many good men have unwittingly embraced this system not knowing whence it would lead them. Others may have willfully pursued it. Since “Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (I Sam. 61:7), we can but judge the system and its fruits, and leave the judgment of persons and their motives to God. It is nevertheless a scriptural principle concerning man, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). This is borne out in the trends in the moral behaviour of modern man, which are a direct result of the permissive philosophies under which he lives. If by the grace of God, man is brought to adhere with singleness of purpose to the moral law of God, then he will be upright before God and man. In religion, man’s behaviour is a reflection of his concept of the God he worships. If he adopts a concept which ascribes duplicity to the mind of God, his system of doctrine will also be contradictory and ambiguous. If then he lives by that doctrine, it would seem to be inevitable that such a man will be contradictory and ambiguous in his behaviour towards his fellows and before his God. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Modern modified Calvinism cannot, therefore, contribute to the solution of the problems of our age, it can only add to their confusion.

4. In the fourth place, modern modified Calvinism robs the Calvinistic and Reformed faith of its defenses, because it has no logical answer to the schools of Arminius, Davenant, and Amyraut. This is because the universalistic interpretation of Scripture texts on which that system rests is coincident with those systems. While the modern modified Calvinist generally attempts to divorce his universalism from the implications of universal redemption as to purchase, the Arminian in that area of his theology, has an apparent consistency. The Arminian, having assumed that God loves all men and desires their salvation, concludes that Christ has purchased a redemption for all men. In the face of the illogical position of modern modified Calvinism in respect to the atonement and the other contradictions and ambiguities which belong to that system, Arminianism and any other form of autosoterism (self-salvation) must go unchallenged.

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