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John Calvin and the American Founding
Worldview Times ^ | Reed R. Heustis, Jr., Esq.

Posted on 07/04/2013 6:28:51 AM PDT by Gamecock

The commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of the great Geneva Protestant Reformer, John Calvin, took place this past July 10, 2009. Without question, Calvin was a giant among men used by God to rediscover and expound on biblical truth that long had been forgotten and rejected by Rome. His influence on all spheres of life is immeasurable, and today, his understanding of theology is making a huge comeback within certain quarters of the Christian community.

However, what Americans do not realize immediately is that the birth of the American republic is steeped in Calvinist presuppositions, and perhaps it is precisely this fact that leads Secular Humanists into a quest to dismantle every vestige of Christianity from America's heritage.

One of the key presuppositions to which the founding fathers held at the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 was the fallen nature of Man. They presupposed that Man's entire capacity was intrinsically evil, and that outside of God's sovereign grace, Man could accomplish no good thing. The Bible makes it plain: "[T]he intent of man's heart is evil from his youth." (Gen. 8:21)

One of Man's sins is his insatiable lust for power. Unless restrained, a powerful man will stop at nothing to trample the rights of others. He must be restrained both inwardly with the power of the Holy Spirit, and outwardly with mechanistic controls. Therefore, many state constitutions required a belief in Christ as a prerequisite to hold office, while the framers devised a federal Constitution that was intended specifically to check and balance the ambitions of men lest they accumulate tyrannical powers.

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, wrote in Federalist No. 51, "What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?"

Disappointingly, Secular Humanists have uprooted the Constitution from its original presuppositions. Today federal judges constantly adopt the notion that the founding document is nothing but an evolving Constitution that can be reinterpreted to fit every whim and fancy. Instead of allowing the People to amend the Constitution the proper way via the built-in amendment process, judicial activists have taken the golden calf of Darwinism and applied it to constitutional jurisprudence. As expected, many of these same judges reject the Calvinist - and more accurately, biblical - presupposition that Man is a fallen being. As a result, America has been left with a judicial oligarchy rather than a Constitutional republic.

By default, when one rejects Calvin's presupposition, he necessarily adopts that of Karl Marx. Author of the Communist Manifesto, Marx presupposed that Man is inherently good, and that all of Man's problems are the result of a bad environment.

Such a Marxist presupposition inevitably leads to Statism because if Man is inherently good, then there is no need for governmental checks and balances that prevent Man from governing pursuant to his "goodness". Marx recognized this and tried to belittle Christian presuppositions by smearing religion as "the opiate of the masses". Of course, what Marx did not disclose is that his own presupposition is no less religious because it is rooted in the religion of Secular Humanism.

It is ironic when people offer a caricature of conservative Christians as those who would impose a top-down tyranny that forces each and every subject to believe in every jot and tittle of their theology. In reality, it is the other way around: it is the Secular Humanist who lusts for the reins of state power in order to shape society according to his own Christless vision. It is the Statist who is the tyrant, not the conservative Christian who holds to the presuppositions upon which the Constitution is based.

Some readers indubitably will conclude that Calvinism is too negative and pessimistic. On the contrary, Calvinism is extremely positive and optimistic. The true Calvinist recognizes that it is undeniable that Good most definitely is found in Man. Goodness is spotted whenever adults lovingly adopt an orphan into their homes; whenever the rich feed the starving; whenever victims forgive their enemies; or whenever a rescuer sacrifices his life for that of another. Shame on those who would depict the Calvinist as nothing but a doom-and-gloom ogre. The Calvinist not only recognizes the existence of Good in Man, but also celebrates it.

However, it must be remembered that any Good found in Man comes not from Man's inherent nature, but from above. Left to his own devices, Man is depraved and in rebellion against God. If God ever were to withdraw His hand of common grace, the entire planet would transform into a Hell on earth faster than a lightning bolt blasts from east to west.

Constitutional attorney, John Eidsmoe, sums it up in his book, Christianity and the Constitution, The Faith of our Founding Fathers, by writing, "The fact man has a sinful nature does not mean he is incapable of doing good. God bestowed his common grace on all mankind, and it is manifested through human reason and human conscience."

John Calvin's influence upon the American founding cannot be denied. Whereas most Christians in the nascent American republic held to Calvinistic presuppositions, today most people reject them, including - sadly - self-professing Christians who have wandered from their theological roots. Thus, it comes as no shocker that the Constitution has been all but hijacked by Secular Humanists and those who reject Calvinism at every turn.

Many of today's Conservatives wrongly suggest that if the Constitution simply were to be "restored", then most of America's ills would vanish. They miss the point entirely. The problem is not a broken Constitution. The problem is sin.

Unless there is national repentance and reformation, neither the Constitution nor the American republic will ever be restored.

Five hundred years ago, God blessed the world with the birth of John Calvin, and then later blessed the New World with his theological influence. Let us pray that 500 years from now, when it is time to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of the birth of Calvin, every nation on earth will embrace the many precious biblical truths championed by Calvin, and proclaim the Kingship of Jesus Christ.


TOPICS: General Discusssion; History
KEYWORDS: calvinism; grpl; predestination; predestintarian; presbyterian; rebellion; sectarianturmoil

1 posted on 07/04/2013 6:28:51 AM PDT by Gamecock
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To: drstevej; OrthodoxPresbyterian; CCWoody; Wrigley; Gamecock; Jean Chauvin; jboot; AZhardliner; ...
Happy Presbyterian Rebellion Day!

GRPL Ping

Seems even more true today.

2 posted on 07/04/2013 6:31:01 AM PDT by Gamecock ("Ultimately, Jesus died to save us from the wrath of God." ¬óR.C. Sproul)
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To: Gamecock

Having researched this in the past — and I am not a Calvinist — the Calvinists were far and away the largest group of founding fathers. Anglicans of the day were also largely out of the cromwell Calvinist influence, iirc.

I’m a Methodist Only one or two of the founders were Methodist. Mitigating that, of course, is that Methodism was brand new in America at that time.


3 posted on 07/04/2013 6:40:18 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! True supporters of our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: Gamecock
By default, when one rejects Calvin's presupposition, he necessarily adopts that of Karl Marx. Author of the Communist Manifesto, Marx presupposed that Man is inherently good, and that all of Man's problems are the result of a bad environment.

Such a Marxist presupposition inevitably leads to Statism because if Man is inherently good, then there is no need for governmental checks and balances that prevent Man from governing pursuant to his "goodness". Marx recognized this and tried to belittle Christian presuppositions by smearing religion as "the opiate of the masses". Of course, what Marx did not disclose is that his own presupposition is no less religious because it is rooted in the religion of Secular Humanism.

It is ironic when people offer a caricature of conservative Christians as those who would impose a top-down tyranny that forces each and every subject to believe in every jot and tittle of their theology. In reality, it is the other way around: it is the Secular Humanist who lusts for the reins of state power in order to shape society according to his own Christless vision. It is the Statist who is the tyrant, not the conservative Christian who holds to the presuppositions upon which the Constitution is based.

Happy Presbyterian Rebellion Day, Gamecock!

4 posted on 07/04/2013 6:40:35 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: xzins
"I’m a Methodist Only one or two of the founders were Methodist. Mitigating that, of course, is that Methodism was brand new in America at that time."

And of course the very first Methodist, the one who coined the term "Methodist", George Whitefield, was a Calvinist.

5 posted on 07/04/2013 6:59:56 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: Gamecock; Alex Murphy
Happy Presbyterian Rebellion Day!!!!

Hoss

6 posted on 07/04/2013 7:07:40 AM PDT by HossB86 (Christ, and Him alone.)
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To: xzins

Mitigating that, of course, is that Methodism was brand new in America at that time.”

And (as you know) its day would come soon enough. It would explode across the fruited plan after about 1800, like a prairie fire!

I’m a Calvinist...But I must say, I am very fond of this man:

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


7 posted on 07/04/2013 7:12:11 AM PDT by ConservativeDude
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To: Gamecock

A few years ago, I inserted the significance of the Reformation, and Calvin, and Geneva into a conversation here about the Founding and received a bunch of snide comments like, “where did you learn history?”. I posted links to books and articles and so on, but to no avail.

In any event. The influence on Calvin and his progeny on the founding, while true, and obvious to us, is still way under appreciated in these strangely secular times.


8 posted on 07/04/2013 7:14:22 AM PDT by ConservativeDude
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To: Gamecock
 photo CalvinandHobbes_zps4f173a7b.jpg
9 posted on 07/04/2013 7:20:55 AM PDT by SunTzuWu
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To: circlecity

Yes, Whitfield was the billy graham of America in that era. He was a favorite, iirc, of Ben Franklin He was decidedly Calvinist (which verifies Anglican Calvinism, btw) yet understood the reality of Romans 10...it had to b e teaching universal OUTREACH!


10 posted on 07/04/2013 7:24:01 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! True supporters of our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: Gamecock

The fallen nature of man is Catholic orthodoxy.

Calvin’s novel doctrine or heresy wasn’t about man’s fallen nature - it was the concept of ‘Total Depravity’. This is the idea that man cannot do anything towards his salvation.

Which is simply not true. We have free will. We can choose God. That power of choice is ours alone - it is God’s gift to us. We had it before The Fall, and we retain it still.

Take away that concept - as Calvin sought to - and you get insane and inhuman concepts such as predestination and the denial of free will.

The concept of a universe full of aimless automata plunging towards a fate that they can neither choose nor reject may be a good fit for Modern America (under the increasingly tyrannical rule of the left). However it’s nothing but an insult to free men and to the Founding Fathers of America.


11 posted on 07/04/2013 7:34:14 AM PDT by agere_contra (I once saw a movie where only the police and military had guns. It was called 'Schindler's List'.)
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To: Gamecock

Yep.

John Witherspoon

http://johnwitherspoon.com/


12 posted on 07/04/2013 7:38:14 AM PDT by Texas Fossil
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To: agere_contra

Total depravity of man and predestination posits that all men are evil and God chose the elect and the reprobates before the earth was created i.e. who is going to heavan and who is going to hell before He created the earth. If you follow the logic Calvinists believe Good happens to Good people i.e. the elect and bad happens to bad people i.e. the reprobates. So if you ever wonder why some quote unquote Conservatives don’t want to address structural problems - they don’t have to worry about them - because God has already decided - the reprobates (they can be recognized by the fact that they have nothing or little) are going to hell anyways - why worry about them here on earth.


13 posted on 07/04/2013 7:59:27 AM PDT by BellaBlackLab (BellaBlackLab)
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To: Gamecock
Total depravity of man and predestination posits that all men are evil and God chose the elect and the reprobates before the earth was created i.e. who is going to heaven and who is going to hell before He created the earth. If you follow the logic Calvinists believe Good happens to Good people i.e. the elect and bad happens to bad people i.e. the reprobates. So if you ever wonder why some quote unquote Conservatives don't want to address structural problems - they don't have to worry about them - because God has already decided - the reprobates (they can be recognized by the fact that they have nothing or little) are going to hell anyways - why worry about them here on earth.
14 posted on 07/04/2013 8:03:26 AM PDT by BellaBlackLab (BellaBlackLab)
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To: Gamecock

Excellent article. I believe one of the great failings of the church today is the fear to preach about the evil nature of man. We don’t like to see ourselves this way. And many in the church are convinced that it is just so negative that no one will listen.


15 posted on 07/04/2013 8:05:28 AM PDT by HarleyD
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To: Gamecock

Re: “By default, if one rejects Calvin’s presupposition (of the fall of man) then you are a Marxist”

This is absurd - Calvin was not the first to teach the idea of the fall of man - from Moses to the Jewish Rabbis to the NT Apostles to the early church fathers to Catholic teachings to Baptist to Lutheran to , yes, John Calvin, all believed and taught the doctrine of the fall of man.

I would agree that Calvin has taken that doctrine to an extreme view that man so totally depraved that he CANNOT respond to God’s offer of salvation unless he is predestined to do so, but he is not the first to teach that man has a fallen, sinful nature.


16 posted on 07/04/2013 8:14:16 AM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: HarleyD

Yep. The natural depravity of man is all around us and pointed out clearly in Romans if one cares to read it. The founders understood it. Great article.


17 posted on 07/04/2013 8:15:28 AM PDT by plain talk
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To: agere_contra
That power of choice is ours alone ...Take away that concept - as Calvin sought to - and you get insane and inhuman concepts such as predestination and the denial of free will.

Your straw man is coined Hyper-Calvinism.
Calvinism which is also Luther's understanding (read bondage of the will) Augustine's and apostolic see below:


18 posted on 07/04/2013 8:18:59 AM PDT by DaveyB (Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. -John Adams)
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To: BellaBlackLab

Re: “If you follow the logic Calvinists believe Good happens to Good people - the Elect and bad happens to bad people”

What about the Book of Job? I think that was one of the key messages of that book - that good people often do suffer and endure evil/bad events in their lives - that experiencing suffering is not always the result of sin in one’s life - right?

Also, speaking of Job, Calvinists believe that faith to believe comes from God because man is so totally depraved that he cannot respond to God’s salvation. If that is true, then why does God point out Job to Satan as being a flawless example of a righteous man of faith?

Satan accuses God of protecting Job and blessing Job materially and that that is why Job is so faithful to God. What’s curious to me is that Satan never accuses God of “causing” Job’s faith. Why didn’t Satan say, “We’ll of course Job is faithful to You because how could he do anything else? You cause him to be faithful - You are the one giving Job his own faith!”

If Job’s faith comes from God alone, because remember, man is so totally depraved he cannot exercise faith in God without that faith coming from God first- right? Then what is the point of testing Job’s faith? If it all comes from God then Job’s great faith is just God’s working - not Job’s.


19 posted on 07/04/2013 8:42:36 AM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: DaveyB

What you are missing is that that faith, that pouring of the Spirit, that calling to salvation is available to all.

Yes, Jesus said that no man comes to the Father unless the Spirit draws him - and Jesus made clear that that “drawing to the Father” is there for everyone to respond to. “Come unto Me all that are weary and heavy laden, and I’ll give you rest.”

Yes we cannot save ourselves - that is only accomplished through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ - but we have to respond. Jesus’s sacrifice is sufficient for the salvation of all mankind. “For God so loved the world” means just that - the whole of humanity.

The Bible is filled with the command “choose this day Whom you will serve”, “follow Me”, “resist the devil”, “come unto Me”. None of these commands make sense if we do not have the ability to respond ourselves to God’s grace.

God giving us the freedom to grasp onto to His lifeline of salvation in no way takes away from His glory or sovereignty. He sovereignly chose to give us the ability and freedom of our wills to accept or reject Him.

If we don’t have that freedom, then how is it loving Him if we choose Him since we were pre-programmed to do so? That makes no sense to me.


20 posted on 07/04/2013 9:06:11 AM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: Gamecock

We don’t need to preach commentaries; we need to preach the Bible. We don’t need to preach Calvinism; we need to preach the Gospel. No, Calvinism is NOT the Gospel.

The Gospel is that...
1) Christ died
2) was buried
3) and rose again the third day
4) according to the scriptures
5) and was seen by many witnesses
so that God now commands all men everywhere to
6) repent of their sins
7) and believe in Him for salvation from sin

All of the explanations, pontifications, theological presuppositions and commentary are secondary to the message.

God has used many great preachers, both Calvinists and non-Calvinists, to proclaim the simple message which resluted in the salvation of millions.

It is hubris and heresy, plain and simple, to equate Calvinism with the Bible.


21 posted on 07/04/2013 9:11:13 AM PDT by unlearner (You will never come to know that which you do not know until you first know that you do not know it.)
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To: unlearner

Totally agree with you.


22 posted on 07/04/2013 9:21:02 AM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: rusty schucklefurd

[The] “ ‘drawing to the Father’ is there for everyone to respond to.”

The gospel message is a limited time offer. Overlooking this has resulted in one of the logical fallacies of Calvinism when it comes to so-called “irresistable grace”. We are told “now is the accepted time” and “today is the day of salvation”.

After death and, at least for some, even in this life, there comes a time when people who harden their hearts to the truth no longer have this offer of salvation to respond to.

So we see there are some who CANNOT believe. This is not because they never had the opportunity to repent and believe. Rather, it is because they refused to do so until it was too late.

Because we may not know who has hardened their hearts to this point, we must continue to preach the Gospel to all who will listen even if only a small percentage repent and believe.


23 posted on 07/04/2013 9:40:24 AM PDT by unlearner (You will never come to know that which you do not know until you first know that you do not know it.)
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To: rusty schucklefurd
Hi Rusty,
“What about the Book of Job? I think that was one of the key messages of that book - that good people often do suffer and endure evil/bad events in their lives - that experiencing suffering is not always the result of sin in one’s life - right?”

I agree with you completely! In Genesis G-d says (I'm paraphrasing) You can choose between good and evil - then he suggests one choose good. That is the essence of free will -

Happy Free Will Day!!

24 posted on 07/04/2013 9:51:37 AM PDT by BellaBlackLab (BellaBlackLab)
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To: BellaBlackLab

I think if Calvinism becomes merely a dry logical construct...and you simply follow that construct—without the Holy Spirit through the Bible being integral to daily life...one can become calloused (just as Hindu’s in India are calloused, when they think reincarnation is a caste system of penalties and rewards—as the poor in such a system, deserve it). However, a real life of Christian & Calvinist faith is much more than a logical construct.

Integral to Calvinism itself—is Holy Spirit led love, and biblical instruction...and historically, Calvinists HAVE cared for the poor, HAVE sent out MANY missionaries (most of the pioneering missionaries of 150+ years ago were Calvinist), as also logically, God determines the end....AND the MEANS of His love, that is through the loving lives of His people.

So Christians are called to love everyone, AND since we are not God, we have no idea now—who all the elect are—therefore we must preach the good news of Jesus indiscriminantly, and actively do acts of charity to everyone we can, as much as possible.

To take a logical construct from Calvinism—outside a dynamic bible-loving walk of faith—is to entirely pervert it, and misunderstand Calvin and Calvinism completely.


25 posted on 07/04/2013 1:52:55 PM PDT by AnalogReigns (because the real world is not digital...)
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To: rusty schucklefurd

It is a fact however, that English-speaking Protestants of 225 years ago were—overwelmingly—specifically Calvinistic in their assumptions about all of life, especially the ones in America.

While original sin—and the individual’s total inability to save himself, and God’s sovereign grace—is surely, universal (even small “c” catholic) Christian teaching, Calvin among the Protestant Reformers 200 years before America’s founding, was the loudest and clearest herald of that truth.

English Anglicans and Puritans (who you’ll recall were overwelmingly Americas first mass legal immigrants...) had a huge influence on the thinking and assumptions of their grandchildren....our Founders.


26 posted on 07/04/2013 2:02:28 PM PDT by AnalogReigns (because the real world is not digital...)
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To: AnalogReigns
Our country was formed giving each of us freedom of religion and the right to agree to disagree.

I have studied Calvin and Luther and Augustin - and I reject the premise that we do not have free will and in my view the cynical view that some of us are elect and some are not irrespective of our actions and thoughts, principles and heart - G-d is not the head of a lottery - God put us on this earth with a virtuous soul and the ability to choose good over bad and He asks and encourages us to choose good and when we don't he asks us to return to him - and to repent - He is both merciful and judges us - and loves us all - we are not pawns in some random game.

God Bless

27 posted on 07/04/2013 2:32:28 PM PDT by BellaBlackLab (BellaBlackLab)
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To: Texas Fossil

Was Witherspoon orthodox in his beliefs, or was he a radical? I have heard that he was.


28 posted on 07/04/2013 2:54:20 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu!)
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To: Zionist Conspirator; rusty schucklefurd; P-Marlowe; xzins; Gamecock; Springfield Reformer; ...
28 posted on 7/4/2013 4:54:20 PM by Zionist Conspirator: “Was Witherspoon orthodox in his beliefs, or was he a radical? I have heard that he was.”

Witherspoon was the president of what became Princeton back when it was a strictly conservative institution, and the moderator of the First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the USA.

The only thing I can think of on which he might be considered something other than orthodox was the revision of the Westminster Confession, made under his leadership, to say that the civil government should support Christianity but is not required to endorse a particular denomination of Christians.

There are a few small denominations in America which still affirm the original unamended Westminster Confession, but virtually all modern American Presbyterians have accepted the church-state revisions of the Westminster Standards.

Here is a historical essay I wrote on a related subject which includes extensive citations of the history of the confessional revisions: http://baylyblog.com/blog/2013/04/what-two-kingdoms-theology-and-why-does-it-matter

29 posted on 07/04/2013 4:51:33 PM PDT by darrellmaurina
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To: BellaBlackLab; rusty schucklefurd; P-Marlowe; xzins; Gamecock; Springfield Reformer; Diamond; ...
14 posted on 7/4/2013 10:03:26 AM by BellaBlackLab: “If you follow the logic Calvinists believe Good happens to Good people i.e. the elect and bad happens to bad people i.e. the reprobates.”

This is factually false.

Calvinists believe good happens to bad people and that there is no such thing as “good people.” All of us deserve eternal damnation and none of us deserve anything good. Election, according to Reformed doctrine, is not based on any foreknowledge by God of good deeds by the elect or any goodness whatsoever in them, but merely good done by God to undeserving sinners who have earned hellfire but get grace instead.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with Calvinism, it is not too much to ask you to correctly represent what Calvinism teaches. I will provide confessional reference if needed. This isn't an area in dispute.

30 posted on 07/04/2013 4:53:59 PM PDT by darrellmaurina
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To: Zionist Conspirator
“was he a radical?”

Depending on what gauge you used to define “radical”, he probably was to some.

Remember he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and an advanced tutor to James Madison. By signing the Declaration he was immediately on the hit list of King George.

Here is a biography that on the surface deals with some of what you asked about him.

http://archive.org/stream/johnwitherspoon00woodgoog/johnwitherspoon00woodgoog_djvu.txt

“The question was not one of ortho-
doxy versus heresy but of authority versus lib-
erty ; of tyranny acting under cover of the law,
too often arbitrarily enacted, interpreted and
enforced on the one side ; and of popular rights,
as yet accepting the established church, making
no attempt to abolish it but claiming justice
and freedom within it, on the other side. This
was the condition of affairs in the church of
Scotland in the first half of the eighteenth cen-
tury. “

I am a great admirer of James Madison and credit some of his education to the influence of Witherspoon.

31 posted on 07/04/2013 4:59:58 PM PDT by Texas Fossil
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To: darrellmaurina; Texas Fossil

Thanks guys. The Wikipedia article says his philosophy of law and morality was based not just on religious beliefs but also on the Scottish enlightenment and Scottish “common sense philosophy.”


32 posted on 07/04/2013 5:32:35 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu!)
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To: Zionist Conspirator; Texas Fossil
That's correct about Witherspoon and the then-current views of Scottish common-sense philosophy.

An important thing to remember here is that Witherspoon was living in a time when “common grace” was understood to have given ancient pagan Greek and Roman philosophers enough knowledge of God to know that the world has a Creator and to know some basic things about the “natural laws” of that Creator.

This was not a new viewpoint, but rather was in line with what had been fairly standard Christian doctrine since the later days of the Roman Empire, when Christians in government and academia wanted to find some way to make use of the centuries of pagan accomplishments in law, philosophy and science from the heyday of Rome.

It is at least arguably a legitimate exegesis of Romans 1-3.

I personally do not hold to that view. I hold a much more radical view of the extent of human depravity, and would argue that in societies such as modern America and Europe which are aggressively jackhammering out the remaining vestiges of their Christian foundations, having already destroyed all of what remained of the above-ground portion of the building, common sense isn't that common.

An unregenerate mind in a culture of aggressively anti-Christian unregenerate minds is unlikely to see Christian presuppositions as common sense.

33 posted on 07/04/2013 5:45:23 PM PDT by darrellmaurina
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To: darrellmaurina

Rationalist can never bring themselves to accept “faith” without proof. And man cannot prove directly Christianity.

Reason is a wonderful gift, but you cannot become a Christian in a manner other than faith. That requires accepting many things that “can be seen” in people and the world that cannot be proven with science.

I have known many scientist, engineers and technicians. The more intelligent understood that science failed at explaining the “big picture”.

A good physicist friend explained to me back in the early 1980’s the accepted equations left a big piece of matter unaccounted for. He told me then that he expected a revolution in the reasoning of that science in the future.


34 posted on 07/04/2013 5:58:01 PM PDT by Texas Fossil
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To: Texas Fossil

-— Rationalist can never bring themselves to accept “faith” without proof. And man cannot prove directly Christianity. -—

It isn’t difficult to get to “more probable than not.” But if someone doesn’t want to believe, then no amount of evidence will suffice.

Disbelief is usually connected to a particular vice.


35 posted on 07/04/2013 6:05:35 PM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: darrellmaurina
“Calvinists believe that good happens to bad people and there is no such thing as good people” My apologies - you are correct - but you correction has nothing to do with the notion that G-d decided before he created the earth who was going to heaven and who to hell. Why do you need a savior if God already decided - is the savior just for the elect?
Your statement just underscores my point that human nature being what it is - most people will assume that they are elect - because they are doing well and those not doing well are reprobates and since G-d has already damned them - why should an elect really care. It all comes down to justifying the difference between the haves and the have-nots - since all is predetermined - well you just have to accept “God's will” -
Who cares - why bother - I'm doing just fine.
36 posted on 07/04/2013 6:23:25 PM PDT by BellaBlackLab (BellaBlackLab)
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To: darrellmaurina; Texas Fossil
Here's an interesting article critical of Witherspoon.
37 posted on 07/04/2013 6:35:26 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu!)
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To: darrellmaurina

re: “ Calvinists believe good happens to bad people and that there is no such thing as “good people.” All of us deserve eternal damnation and none of us deserve anything good. Election, according to Reformed doctrine, is not based on any foreknowledge by God of good deeds by the elect or any goodness whatsoever in them, but merely good done by God to undeserving sinners who have earned hellfire but get grace instead.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with Calvinism, it is not too much to ask you to correctly represent what Calvinism teaches.”

First, in reference to the “If you follow the logic Calvinists believe Good happens to Good people i.e. the elect and bad happens to bad people i.e. the reprobates.”, I responded to that comment, not in the belief that Calvinists believe that, because I know that Calvinists think that people cannot do good and that God sees no good in His creation at all - no I responded to the comment in and of itself - apart from Calvinism, so if I implied that that was a doctrine of Calvinism, I apologize.

As to your statement that “Calvinists believe good happens to bad people and that there is no such thing as ‘good people.’ All of us deserve eternal damnation and none of us deserve anything good.”, I completely accept the doctrine that none of us deserve God’s salvation, none of us can earn that salvation based on any good works. I also accept the doctrine that God took the initiative to bring salvation to helpless, sinful mankind.

Where I disagree is the total inability of man to respond to God’s grace and the freewill to choose God’s offer of salvation. I understand that “election” is taught in the Scriptures but I do not believe that that election or His sovereignty means that God has fixed, without any ability to respond, without any ability to recognize God’s offer of salvation, who will go to heaven and who will go to hell.

Man having the ability to respond to God’s undeserved offer of grace does in no way take away from His glory or His sovereign will to allow men to freely choose Him through the drawing of the Holy Spirit Who is working in the hearts of all men:

“It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:7-11

I also do not believe that infants who die can possibly go to hell through “predestination”. Why? because I believe that the Bible teaches that we must come to an understanding of the difference between good and evil, right and wrong - which people do actually do!! Even those who are non-believers are able to do this - why?? Because God has imprinted His moral standard in our hearts - this is one of Paul’s apologetic arguments in Romans 1 - 3 that mankind is without excuse to be aware of God and His moral law.

If the Calvinist doctrine of total inability is true, then God created some people solely for the purpose to burn in hell and I just cannot believe that that is part of God’s character. Over and over He calls us to make choices to serve Him or reject Him. It makes no sense that man has no ability or freedom to choose.

His grace and Jesus’s atonement is available to all. His drawing all men to Himself is a calling to all.

How does a Calvinist explain the Book of Job if Job had no ability to freely live a life of righteous faith in God. God Himself pointed Job out to Satan as one who was exemplary in righteousness and faith. Satan never once accused God of causing Job to have faith. He did accuse God of protecting Job, blessing Job, and giving good health and material wealth to Job and that that was why Job exercised faith in God. The easiest accusation Satan could have made was, “Hey, Job only has faith in You because you are causing him to have that faith”.

What is the point of the Book of Job if he did not have the ability to accept or reject God?? There are other examples, but that is one that comes to mind off the top of my head.

In Jeremiah 18:3-10 it reads:

“Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?”
says the Lord.

“Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.”

Even God says that when a condemned nation repents, He says He will relent of that disaster that He was going to bring upon it - how is that possible without free will??

How does the Book of Jonah make any sense unless Nineveh had the freedom to choose to repent?

Love, courage, cowardice, sacrifice - none of these things have any meaning if men cannot choose to do these things on their own. If we are just pre-programed to do whatever God wants us to do, then we are nothing but robots. How is our love to Him real if we cannot choose or not choose to respond to Him?? How is the Calvinist view of man any different than B.F. Skinner’s “determinism” idea that none of us have freewill but are completely controlled by our environment?

All who turn to the Lord are His Elect. He called and predestined us to fulfill works He has prepared for us to do and He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son - but that is His will, not forcing us to do it, it is His predetermined will that we do these things - that does not mean that He makes us do them. If we just do these things because God makes us do them, then why the rewards in Heaven, why the crowns of glory that Paul mentions??


38 posted on 07/04/2013 7:11:04 PM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: Zionist Conspirator
the Jesuits designed in Washington, DC.

Now that statement puzzles me. I do not see Jesuit influence in DC. Other groups, but not that.

I am not Presbyterian. But I worked for a fine man who was, for a good part of my life. I am Baptist, many of his employees were. He came to understand he could totally trust my brethren and we totally trusted him. He traveled in a more aristocratic circle than we did, but we loved him for his character and grace.

Now on your statements about Witherspoon. His views were very compatible for the Scottish Enlightenment views of the time.

As a very young man, I read Locke, Hume, Burke, Descartes, Rousseau, Montague, Machiavelli, Paschal. Must admit my understanding of their thoughts at that age was not complete.

39 posted on 07/04/2013 9:55:20 PM PDT by Texas Fossil
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To: BellaBlackLab

“some of us are elect and some are not irrespective of our actions and thoughts....”

I agree, and such is a dreadful unbiblical idea—never taught by Calvin, Luther or Augustine.

As far as human beings are able to see and understand, we do make real choices uncompelled....freely...with real consequences...freely based on our actions and thoughts. Calvinism properly understood has always taught that.

This is why preaching the gospel has always been vitally important—as the good news that Jesus saves—and people having faith and believing that....is the means by which God is calling people to Himself.

However, for God’s free grace to be FREE grace—there is nothing in us that deserves His favor—and God being God has utterly complete freedom of choice, higher than ours...

Romans Chapter 9 spells it out very convincingly—and people who deny God freely choosing a people for Himself—based only on His own secret council—with nothing in us at all deserving...must deny (or usually just ignore, or try to say it doesn’t apply to us now...) Romans 9. Reading that chapter humbly...must make a man bow his head.

There are no robots or machines in this—merely the idea that our freedom does not bind or limit God’s higher freedom—and our free choices are ultimately within His own higher (highest) free choices and ultimate final will...since God is God.

We assume that EITHER God chooses us (and we are robots...) OR we choose God (without being compelled)...anything else is a contradiction, whereas the bible teaches both—God does choose us, and we do choose to follow Him. Both choices are real, and one does not contradict the other. How to resolve this seeming contradiction? You don’t. Any more than you can understand how God can be one Being AND three Persons...from all eternity. Mystery in God’s ways is part of His glory.

No one can say in Heaven, “Wow Lord, this is fantastic! I’m so happy that I was wise enough to choose you, that’s the best thing I ever did!”

Any more than someone else can say in Hell: “Oh, wish I had the chance to choose Jesus, but I never got that opportunity...I was just predestined to be here...”

BOTH ARE WRONG!!!

Rather all in Creation is to His glory alone, and all crowns in Heaven are laid at His feet.


40 posted on 07/04/2013 11:44:17 PM PDT by AnalogReigns (because the real world is not digital...)
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To: Gamecock

Great Article.

John 15:16
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.


41 posted on 07/05/2013 9:51:15 AM PDT by bkaycee (John 3:16)
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BTTT


42 posted on 07/04/2014 11:27:07 AM PDT by Gamecock (There is room for all of God's animals. Right next to the mashed potatoes and gravy.)
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