Perhaps there is no greater dispute among those who name themselves (or who are called) Baptists than the issue of Calvinism. I have seen and heard many arguments over this issue that range from intelligent treatises to nothing more than eloquent name-calling and name-dropping. The really sad part of this is that some believe that appealing to authorities other than the Scripture nets them some sort of superior argument. I have to wonder, who do they think they need to please: God or man? Appealing to authorities other than the Scripture to prove one’s argument may look good and persuade men, but it doesn’t mean spit in the eyes of God. No, there is one, and only one text that has the respect of the LORD God: His own Holy Word. In this He is very express:
I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:1-2)
Hence, I have to wonder just who those who are arguing about this doctrine think they are pleasing? Moreover, I wonder if they argue about this based upon the call of God in their lives, or is it simply a desire of the flesh to be seen and heard, and in some way justify what they believe? In any case, this constant citation of what men have said proves nothing. Men, no matter how good they think they are, are not God, and they do not say or write what equates to the word of God. We have a complete Bible, and it is fully authoritative and needs no help from man.
However, it is not usually the case in the writings I see on the issue of Calvinism (also known as “Sovereign Grace”). Rather, what I see is a preponderance of quotes from other men who have held the same doctrinal position. Moreover, in some cases there is a total absence of Scripture. Thus, I have to ask: Just what does this prove? Aren’t we told in the Scripture that we are to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thessalonians 5:21)? And, isn’t the standard of proof Scripture?
Thus, if we cannot prove the doctrine by rightly dividing the Scripture, what good are the words of other like-minded men? No matter how much they may agree, it still doesn’t prove the doctrine. Everyone on earth could suddenly agree that God has no authority over us; would that agreement make it true? Certainly not. If everyone on earth, and all the angels along with them decided that God didn’t exist, would that make it true? No, for the Scripture is express:
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (II Timothy 2:11-13)
END OF STORY
It doesn’t matter what you or I believe and who agrees with us. What matters is “What does the LORD God say in His word?” if we do not agree with what God states, then we are wrong. End of story.
Now, pertaining to the false doctrine of Calvinism, perhaps those holding the doctrine could explain the wording and construction of the following passage, particularly the use of personal pronouns? Oh, and don’t shortcut and divert and say that I do not understand the sovereignty of God. I certainly do, and you can find the evidence in the article “God’s Box.”
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
You know, for Calvinism to be true, the pronoun “his” would have to be changed and the wording of the passage changed significantly, would it not?