September 23, 2017

Why Calvinism HAS TO BE wrong

According to God's Word, Calvinism HAS TO BE wrong!

We simply DO NOT see the concept of God that Calvin advocated in the life of Jesus.  And what we "see" in the life of Jesus is exactly what God wants us to know about His essential nature and His attributes.

Jesus  is "the image of the invisible God" in whom all the fullness of God dwells (v. 19) - Colossians 1:15, 19)

Jesus is "the exact imprint of His [God the Father's] nature" (ESV) or "exact representation" (NASB) - Hebrews 1:3

And Jesus said, "if you have seen me, you've seen the Father" (John 14:9)

So what did Jesus reveal about the nature of God?  What kind of God does His life and ministry reveal?  The God of Augustine/Calvin who is essentially all-powerful and that power is expressed through His meticulous control of absolutely everything or a God of love whose is also all-powerful, but whose power is expressed OUT OF and as an expression of His eternal love.  

According to Augustine and Calvin, God's essential nature is His power and His control.  The "unconquerable" will of God was a core doctrine for St. Augustine after he moved away from the Apostolic understanding of God's character and nature (around AD397).  Augustine, influenced it appears by both NeoPlatonism and his own Gnostic background, abandoned the primitive view that God is primarily love and doesn't force His will upon His creation, began to teach a view of God's sovereignty and control that essentially eradicated human freedom.  Everything had to be under God's meticulous control – every act of evil, every human decision and ultimately by logical extension who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.  Since God's will is unconquerable, everything that happens must be an expression of His will and power.  This became the view of John Calvin and for the most part Martin Luther (an AUGUSTINIAN monk) and has come down to us today and has been advocated today by teachers like John Piper and RC Sproul.

But is that the view of God's nature that Jesus modeled?  If Augustine and Calvin's view is correct, then I argue Jesus was a terrible representation of God's essential nature and the Apostle Paul and John both got it terribly wrong in the aforementioned Scripture passages.  Jesus didn't go around forcing His unconquerable will on anybody.  He offered the Kingdom, He invited people to respond to His offer and to willingly obey and follow Him.  He completely and entirely undermines the viewpoint of Augustine and Calvin.  People walked away.  Even Judas who was chosen by Jesus, abandoned him.  The Rich Young Ruler was made an offer.  He freely chose to walk away.  Jesus used outrageous language like "whosoever believes".  

So if Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3 and John 14:9 are all true, which I believe them all to be part of God's infallible, inerrant Word, then Calvinism HAS TO wrong.  God is all-powerful.  He is the sovereign ruler of the universe, who expresses that power and sovereignty in submission to His essential nature which is love.  Love is not subordinate to His power and control, rather it is His control and power that by definition is subordinate to His love.  And this is EXACTLY what we see in the life of Jesus.  He was an attractive person.  If He was HYPER-controlling, having to get His way in everything at all times, He would have never found a single follower.  Nobody wants to be around abusive people and when when we think about people like that, we use words like "abusive", "insecure", "controlling", "manipulative".  None of those adjectives even remotely describe the Jesus we find in the Gospels who has accurately shown us who the Father is, and what He is like.

And finally because we are commanded to love God with all of our hearts, souls, mind and STRENGTH (both in the OT and the NT) – I know for sure that love trumps power and that "strength" is subordinated to love.

We were not commanded to control everything (exercise strength) with all of our love, but rather to love with all of our strength.  That is what Jesus did, what He modeled and therefore that must be HOW God is – He LOVES with all of HIS STRENGTH.  Power and sovereignty in submission to His core nature which is love.

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