Genuine Historical Calvinism (1)

[The following brief discussion took place on a Calvinist internet forum in December of 2006. It will be slightly edited for the purpose of readability.]

Chris,

You make some interesting points on your new web sight (http://www.calvinism.us/intro.htm), but it also raises a few questions.

You wrote:

Different Calvinists believed different things down through history. They even fought one another over certain doctrines. But they all had this in common:

They denied at least one essential gospel doctrine. This means they were all unsaved. The heresies that Genuine Historical Calvinists believed/believe and taught/teach include the following:

Salvation is conditioned on faith.

God does not actively control all actions and events; instead, he merely permits some things to happen.

Are you saying that one can be saved without having faith?

If God is powerful enough to stop some thing from happening but does not do so, isn’t the fact that he did not do so mean that he allowed it to happen?

If saving faith is a gift from God and only given to the elect, why not say faith is a condition that God meets in the elect but that he does not meet in the non elect?

Looking forward to your answers.

Hello-

My comments/answers below. You wrote:

Are you saying that one can be saved without having faith?

Not at all (by the way, I am not a Brandon Kraft hyper; nor am I anti-duty-faith).

Also, I do not believe in “justification from eternity” as defined by the Kraft hypers–said hypers defining it in such a way that twists Ephesians 2:1-3 to their own destruction.

However, I do believe in “justification from eternity” in the Romans 8:30 sense — that is, as defined by Romans 8:30:

God’s people are CALLED, JUSTIFIED, and GLORIFIED from eternity in Christ. In the eternal sense, God’s people are already GLORIFIED. Does that mean that, temporally, God’s people are glorified in their sinless state while on the earth? No. But because of Christ’s work, they are GLORIFIED from the eternal perspective. God LOVED Jacob before the foundation of the world (Romans 9:13). Jacob was CALLED, JUSTIFIED, and GLORIFIED before the foundation of the world — in the eternal sense, not in the temporal sense.

You also wrote:

If God is powerful enough to stop something from happening but does not do so, isn’t the fact that he did not do so mean that he allowed it to happen?

Not in the sense that Calvinists have historically defined the term, “allow.” God did not stop the death of Christ from happening because He had decreed from eternity to actively cause it to happen:

“For truly both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the nations and the peoples of Israel, were assembled against Your holy child Jesus, whom You anointed, to do whatever Your hand and Your counsel before-determined to be done” (Acts 4:27-28).

The important question for you (and all Calvinists) is: How can God “allow” (“permit”) the events in Acts 4:47-28 to happen (instead of actively causing the events to happen), and yet infallibly determine them to be done in a way that is not merely an expression of Divine prescience? In other words, how does that dictum of Augustine, “permissio efficax” (i.e., “efficacious permission”), differ substantially from the Arminian view of Divine prescience?

You write:

If saving faith is a gift from God and only given to the elect, why not say faith is a condition that God meets in the elect but that he does not meet in the non elect?

Because salvation is conditioned solely on the work of Jesus Christ, and NOT in any sense on the sinner. Those who believe that salvation is conditioned on faith are laboring under a delusive ignorance of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel (Romans 10:1-4).

Faith may indeed be spoken of as an instrument that receives the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ and is justified, but it is NOT an “instrumental condition” for salvation. The sole condition for salvation is a righteousness that answers the demands of God’s law and justice: (1) perfect obedience; (2) satisfaction to divine justice. To put it another way, salvation is conditioned solely on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

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