Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Sick Feeling of a Calvinist

My most beautiful Daughters, Amy Joy and Sarah Anne
I just read a blog where a Calvinist parent seeks an answer to a question regarding the implications of Reformed/Calvinist theology that seems to torment him.  The question, which this Calvinist parent admitted sickens him, is..."What if my kids aren’t elect?"
 
As you read the posting on the Parchment and Pen blog, it seems that Tim Kimberly does not give a direct answer to the parent's question.  I'm amazed that after over 15 comments, no one yet seems to pick up on this.
 
I just want to post here my comment (#131) to Kimberly's reply (please read his reply to the Calvinist before reading my comment), as follows:

My handsomely silly Grandson, Josiah Steven Ortiz 
An honest question deserves and ought to receive a straightforward answer.

First, Kimberly's "step back" is not only irrelevant but also deflects from the real issue, which the question evokes, and is misleading.

Although it is true that both Calvinist and Arminians agree that "each individual must come to Jesus
on their own", Kimberly fails to mention the Calvinist view portrays the individual as responding due solely to the divine predetermination regarding how this or that particular person will respond to the Gospel; that is, in reality, no response -- positive or negative -- is ultimately an act of one's own free will but God's predetermined act to effect the desired response from each individual based on nothing but God's unrevealed will. This view is in stark contrast to Arminian soteriology and renders the similarity as Kimberly suggests merely superficial.
 
Second, when "getting back to the issue at hand", there remains an (unconscious? conscious?) attempt to evade the real answer which the inquirer seeks.  The question was not, "What if my kids do not love Jesus?" but "What if my kids aren't elect?" There is a big difference between the two questions and, as such, his answer does not at all deal directly to the query.

The more accurate answer, logically following Calvinist teaching, is simply: if your child is not elect, there is nothing at all you can do about it. The only comfort that one may afford is that at present you do not know whether or not your child is elect. Praying will not change God's mind if your child is not elect. As a Calvinist, all that seems left to do is cross your fingers and hope for the best; and, yes, the idea that one's child is not of the elect should cause a parent to be sick and have "a hard time" -- a very hard time -- seeing it as conducive to God's glory. 

End of comment.
 
A really good critique of Tim Kimberly's answer to the Calvinist parent's question is found in William Birch's blog, Classical Arminian.
 
My youngest Grandson, already of vast intellect, Brantley Connor, also known to his peers as "Mr. B".  
It is sad to note that Reformed theology of the Calvinist persuasion, for all practical intents and purposes and when  you read many of the comments from Calvinists under this subject on the P&P board, is wholly untenable as a bulwark of hope for a child's salvation for parents to embrace wholeheartedly.  One Calvinist seems to continually comment that, basically, God is God and he does what he wants to do; and if he chooses to send your child to an eternal torment because it pleases him to obtain glory through the damnation of your child, there is nothing - not fervent praying, not loud crying with tears, not "standing on the promises of God, my Savior" - you can do about it; and it is precisely in this, if one is to faithfully espouse Calvinist theology and the clear implications that arise from it, that the Calvinist commentator is correct: there is simply and absolutely nothing you can do about it. 
 
No wonder some go as far as saying that the god of Reformed/Calvinistic theology is a monster rather than the God of the Bible.  And it is no surprise why this Calvinist parent who asked the question should have a sick feeling.
 
My study of the Bible shows me that the Reformed/Calvinism understanding of election is inimical to divine grace and the character of God as revealed in no uncertain terms; it is altogether a distorted interpretation of a right understanding of the divine love that prompts election and the saving work that springs from that love demonstrated on the Cross of Christ.
 
The electing God of Calvinism is enough to make any thinking and loving parent sick.  On the contrary, if a parent, believing that their own heart is desperately wicked, nevertheless, desires and seeks the salvation of their children, how much more does the Father in Heaven.
My Granddaughter, Ella Claire, "My Little Girl".  Now, how adorabe can one get?
 

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