Posted by: Yvonne | August 22, 2012

Dave Hunt on Calvinism

from Dave Hunt’s Facebook post 8/22/12:

Question: In the July ’05 Berean Call Letters section, “TF of Ireland,” a self-proclaimed “Calvinist,” acknowledged that you are saved. Is it possible for someone who believes only in the soteriology of Calvin to be saved? Specifically, that God has to first change a person’s heart. Then…with the gift of grace, faith and salvation in Ephesians:2:8-9, man afterwards, by God’s decree, will come to Him (John:6:37), and fulfill God’s requirement for him to believe and repent. Again, assuming that the fruits and works that follow are genuine, could this soteriology allow for salvation, apart from attributing any part of it to man’s free will (John:1:12-13)? Can you extend a statement of being a fellow believer to TF (and other Calvinists) as he has to you?

Answer: I have been criticized for spending too much time on Calvinism, but I cannot ignore questions such as yours. Yes, there are many shades and colors of Calvinists. Like Lutherans, many but not all Calvinists (most Presbyterians) have been baptized as babies. They believe, as did many of their parents, that infant baptism saves. Calvin even declared that the children of the elect are themselves automatically among the elect—and whether one’s parents were elect or not, if one was baptized as a baby, even by an unsaved Catholic priest, that act made one a child of God. “Confirmation” only confirms this delusion. Obviously, anyone believing such a false “gospel” is not saved.

Rejection of infant baptism for salvation was one of the two charges brought by Calvin as the prosecuting attorney and for which Servetus (only one of dozens executed for alleged heresy in Geneva under Calvin) was convicted and burned at the stake. Calvin was never baptized as a believer after his separation from the Catholic Church but opposed such baptism as “heresy worthy of death.” Surely a multitude of Calvinists have been led into hell by following Calvin’s teaching that infant baptism marks one as among the “elect,” just as circumcision marked male Israelites as among God’s chosen people.

One can easily see the relationship between “infant baptism saves without believing the gospel,” later to be “confirmed,” and the teaching that the elect are regenerated by God without even knowing it and then given faith to believe the gospel as a sovereign gift in order to be saved without any act of their own will. Is this a false gospel? Of course it is! The Bible repeatedly emphasizes that salvation is for “whosoever will” (Dt. 18:19; Ezr 7:26; Mk 8:34; Lk 9:5, 24; Rv 22:17, etc.).Man must come to God of his own free will and offer himself willingly. This is stated dozens of times in the Old Testament alone (Lev:22:18, 21, 23; 23:38; Nu 15:3; 29:39; Dt 12:6, 17; 16:10; 23:23; 2 Chr:31:14; Ezr 1:4; 3:5; 7:13, 16; 8:28; Ps:119:108, etc.).

You cite Eph:2:8-9, but faith there is not the gift—salvation (the subject of the entire passage) is the gift of God. Faith is a feminine noun, while the demonstrative pronoun that ( “ it is ” is not in the Greek) is neuter and could not refer to faith. The Greek will not permit “faith” to be the gift. Moreover, “your faith” (“according to your faith ” – Mt 9:29; Rom:1:8; 1 Cor:15:17, etc.) is found 24 times; “thy faith” 11 times; and the disciples are rebuked for not having faith, etc. These are odd expressions, if faith is not one’s own but only from God.

Calvinists emphasize “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me”(Jn:6:37)and “no man can come to me, except the Father…draw him” (v. 44). They forget that those given by and drawn by the Father still must come, take, eat, and drink of the water and bread of life, which is Christ. Throughout Scripture, the emphasis is upon coming of one’s own will. In John 6, the emphasis is upon believing, coming, eating, and drinking—clearly the responsibility of the person. Yes, the Father draws and gives, but to eat and drink requires an act of one’s will—God does not force-feed anyone, but the Calvinist avoids this fact.

There is no regeneration before faith in Christ, as dozens of verses declare. Yet Calvinism says regeneration precedes faith—clearly unbiblical and irrational. The Bible states: “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (Jn:20:31); “Being born again…by the word of God…and this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Pt 1:23-25).

We are regenerated by believing in Christ. But Calvinism insists upon regeneration before one believes—a “regeneration” that gives life without believing the gospel! Are we regenerated twice? Without believing the gospel, there is no new birth, no life in Christ, so Calvinism’s “regeneration” as a prerequisite for receiving the gift of faith from God in order to believe the gospel is unquestionably heresy.

Ah, but we are “dead in trespasses and in sins,” quotes the Calvinist to justify this doctrine. Yet even A.W. Pink rejected equating spiritual death with physical death. If the spiritually dead cannot hear, understand, and believe the gospel, but first must be regenerated, then the entire Bible becomes nonsense. God’s countless appeals to mankind to repent and come to Him are a mockery if those to whom He speaks are dead and cannot hear—if they are totally depraved and cannot repent and turn to Him without the grace He withholds while blaming them for not repenting. The dozens of verses in which God commands all mankind to seek Him and in which He promises that all who seek Him with all their hearts will find Him—these become a mockery if the unsaved cannot seek God and if He only extends the grace to seek Him to an “elect.” God pleads endlessly through His prophets not only for Israel to repent but declares, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth”(Is 45:22). Yet no one can respond to His pleas unless He regenerates them first, which He refuses to do for multitudes with whom He continues to plead—and rebukes and punishes them for not doing what they can’t do?

Calvinism makes a mockery of God’s Word. It has Joshua crying to those who can’t choose, “choose you this day whom ye will serve”; and it has Christ pleading with men, “come unto me,” while withholding the ability to come.

You counter, “But all are commanded to keep the Ten Commandments though none can, so what is the difference?” God does not cause a select group to keep the Law and leave the rest in their sin. All sin and are condemned, and all need salvation. According to Calvinism, God could save everyone if He so desired, but chooses to save only some, i.e., whoever is saved and whoever is lost is because God willed it, not because they chose. So you believe in a God who deliberately damns millions (perhaps billions) whom He could save if He so desired. This is the issue. Calvinism maligns God’s character, making Him less loving than He requires us to be!

We are clearly told that He “will have all men to be saved” (1 Tm 2:4). Of that passage, Spurgeon said, “I was reading just now the exposition of [one] who explains the text so as to explain it away [as] if it read, ‘Who will not have all men to be saved….’ [In fact,] the passage should run thus—‘whose wish it is that all men should be saved….’ As it is my wish…so it is God’s wish that all men should be saved; for, assuredly, He is not less benevolent than we are” (“Salvation by Knowing the Truth,” 16 Jan 1880).

Commenting upon 1 Timothy:4:2, John MacArthur attempts to justify Calvinism by saying (in his study Bible) that God has two wills in conflict, a will of desire, a will of decree: He wills for all to be saved but doesn’t decree it! So God frusrates His own will? Amazing!

Calvinists quote Jn:1:13: “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” to “prove” that man’s will has no part to play in regeneration, but that God regenerates the elect, then causes them to believe. Of course, no one can give himself the new birth; but verse 12 makes it very clear that God regenerates only those who “received him [and] believe on his name.”

Search through books by today’s leading Calvinists. Old Testament examples of Christ and His sacrifice for sin are almost totally missing (in MacArthur’s The Love of God , Piper’s The Justification of God , White’s The Potter’s Freedom , etc., etc.). Why? Because these “ensamples…written for our admonition” (1 Cor:10:11)utterly refute Calvinism. All Israel were sheltered by the blood of the Passover lamb, all went through the Red Sea, all were led by the pillar of fire and cloud, all partook of the manna and of the water from the rock, etc–but all were not saved. So Paul declares that Christ “is the Savior of all men , specially of those that believe” (1 Tm 4:10).

Calvinists say “world” means “the world of the elect” in Jn:3:16. They avoid verses 14-15 with which Christ introduces the Cross: that just as the serpent was lifted up so that whosoever would look to it would be healed, so He, Christ, would be lifted up so that whosoever would believe on Him would be saved. There is no indication that the serpent (that was lifted up to bring healing to those who looked to it) was for an elect within Israel—it was for whosoever would look in faith .

Could someone who believes this false gospel of Calvinism be truly saved? Fortunately, many Calvinists (you among them) were saved before becoming Calvinists. They now malign God by saying that He is pleased to damn multitudes though He could save all—and that He predestines multitudes to the Lake of Fire before they are even born. But having believed the gospel before becoming Calvinists, they “shall not come into condemnation, but [have] passed from death unto life” (Jn:5:24). Those who only know the false gospel of Calvinism are not saved, while those who are saved and ought to know better but teach these heresies will be judged for doing so.

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Responses

  1. I resent this tiresome and endless debate. Each side manages to announce themselves true and their opponents heretics – each with passages to support their strident claims. I don’t agree with Calvinism. But I fear that sentence will be replied to rather than my main point here. When I was born again in 1975 I found out to my shock and dismay I had to be either Calvinist or Armenian. But on whose authority? Christ’s? Are either of those names written on a gate or on a foundation of the wall that surrounds the New Jerusalem? I’m practically convinced their disciples will be hunting all along its 6000 miles perimeter for the gate with their hero’s name so as to enter by it.

    I am not Calvinist or Armenian, nor am I Roman Catholic or Protestant, Independent or Evangelical, Charismatic or Pentecostal – none of these – I am a Christian. Period. I knew this truth from the very beginning of my faith 37 years ago. I knew the Spirit had given me life when I turned to the Lord Jesus with my whole heart and I knew his word was my proper spiritual food.

    I understand if this comment does not get approved since it does not further the discussion on the article itself, but it is how I feel.

    Stan

    • I see this blog does not screen comments before posting. I had it confused with another one that does.

      • I am also a Christian, but I very often am told I am an Arminian because I am a non-Calvinist. However, I am also a non-Arminian.

        The funny thing is, I have never been called a heretic by an Arminian, but I have often been called a heretic by Calvinists.

        I don’t call either one a heretic – I just say they have some misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches.

        • Yes, Calvinists often fall into the logical fallacy trap of if your not a Calvinist you must be an Arminian.

          In a radio debate hosted by James White, he called Dave Hunt an Arminian and did not respond when Hunt replied that he was not an Arminian. It was as though White had not even thought about any other option. :-/

        • Glenn, you’re right that Calvinists are much more prone to denounce non-Calvinists as heretics than the other way around from what I have read on blogs and forums. I respect a lot of the blogs which are Reformed because we share the same views on the errors in the Church, hypercharismatics, emergents, contemplative prayer, for example. I just change the channel when they start harping on Calvinism.

          • Stan, I know what you mean. Many of my favorite sites are Calvinist, and many of my favorite authors/pastors are Calvinists. I just ignore and by-pass the Calvinist parts!

    • I welcome your thoughts, Stan. I, too, grow weary of the debate, however, it continues to be a daily issue in my life because my family attends a PCA church. In order for me to be able to stand for the truth of Scripture, I believe it is important to understand what Calvinists actually believe and the arguments against it, hence the reason for this post. My pastor teaches Scripture line by line and the worship is Christ-centered; not many other choices in our small community.

      You say, “I am not Calvinist or Armenian, nor am I Roman Catholic or Protestant, Independent or Evangelical, Charismatic or Pentecostal – none of these – I am a Christian. Period.” I totally agree and have said as much many times.

      Thanks for sharing!

      ~Yvonne

      • Thanks Yvonne,

        In my opening sentence, I resent this tiresome and endless debate. I had edited out a phrase I meant to keep which was in the churches so that it read, “I resent this tiresome and endless debate in the churches.” I hit the post comment button too soon.

        So I didn’t want you to think I was against the posting of your article. Not at all. It’s the poisonous atmosphere that this issue has created among believers for so many years that I am weary of and the automatic labeling that goes with it. Like Glenn, I don’t think Calvinists are heretics. I like many Reformed commentators as well as non-Calvinist ones. But, when someone like John MacArthur, whom I like, tries to explain Calvinist distinctives, it turns me off because it strikes me as mere human reasoning. I think it has less ground to stand on than non-Calvinists views.

        Cheers.

        Stan

      • May the Lord give you the wisdom from above to deal with your family.

  2. Yvonne,

    I have to admit I was for many years a part of that debate, and never saw any real fruit come from it. It seems the “Reformed” view of dominates everywhere we go, and the battle of theology continues to wage, and it is sad. I have, for about seven years now, withdrawn from the debate and the institutional church that feeds it. In my deliberate search for truth over these years I have made some life changing discoveries, not least of which has to do with the Reformers. To shorten a long story the history of the Church reveals the development of two streams of rivaling Christianity. I put the Catholic and Reformed stream together (which is a wide stream) against what I call Kingdom Christianity (a very small stream), of which the Catholic and the Reformed Church persecuted. If you look closely the Reformed Church and the Catholic Church have a family resemblance that differed dramatically from Kingdom Churches. The Reformed and Catholic Churches are both Constantinian hybrids, and Augustine was there apologist. These are all from the great theology thinktanks and founded by their intellectuals. Their emphasis was on theology, whereas the Kingdom stream proceeded from a different source. their founders were for the greater part uneducated and put their emphasis on living like Christ: not baptizing children, not taking oaths, living simple lives, nonresistant to evil and war, etc. as Jesus commanded. They were not perfect in their beliefs, and they knew it, but they understood the heart of Jesus concerning the Sermon on the Mount and His other teachings. These very things that Jesus taught, and that they believed and preached imperfectly, are the very things that won for them the honor to follow their Master in all the persecution the world and the Church, Protestant and Catholic, could throw at them.

    I am not saying that all that came from the reformation was bad only that we have ignored the real reformers and concentrated on the popular reformers.

    Food for thought. A study of the Anti-Nicene fathers, who being much closer to the Apostles and Jesus, exhibit a purity which is not found in later writings.

    Steve Blackwell
    http://www.IndyWatchman.com

    • Steve, I appreciate your thoughts.

      You’re right about the joint persecution by both RCs and Protestants of the true Christians who practiced believers’ baptism. Calvin, like the Catholics, defended infant baptism and likened it to circumcision in “Institutes” (book 4, chapter 16) with 32 sections. To be rebaptized was anathema to them all. Hence the persecutions. If I had lived then, my life would have already ended most likely in a drowning.

      Europe was under the thumb of the visible church in those many centuries. Since Constantine, they took over the continent despite that Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world.”

      Stan

      • Stan,

        Thanks for the reply.

        Much of the confusion between the Reformers and the Kingdom believers can be reduced to this; Jesus upon His arrival introduce a Kingdom that was the polar opposite of what God had designed to operate in the Old Testament.

        The Reformers were trying to maintain O.T. principals that would not work in a Heavenly Kingdom and only ended up causing them to destroy those who could see beyond theology and text to a life modeled on Jesus and the Apostles.

        When Calvin was asked whether or not a Christian should take up the sword he replied, “I ask, if this calling to fulfill the office of the sword or of a temporal power is repugnant to the vocation of believers, then how is it that the judges in the O.T., especially good kings like David, Hezekiah, and Josiah, and even a few prophets like Daniel, made use of it?”

        In Calvin’s mind nothing had changed with the coming of Jesus. Christians should take up the sword to defend themselves and their Church. Calvin was acknowledging that the kingdom he sought to protect was a kingdom of this world. The words of Jesus state otherwise in His reply to Pilate, “Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

        It is widely accepted and believed by Christians today that if the Kingdom principals Jesus established were to be carried out by all believers that there would not be those to protect and fight for the state. It just doesn’t make sense to them that God would actually do what He had promised, that “When a man’s ways please the Lord He makes even his enemies to live at peace with him.”

        Steve Blackwell

        • Steve,

          If I understand it correctly, Augustine established this idea that the Church was to be the arm of God to establish the Kingdom on earth in a temporal way, hence the sword. I can’t give the exact citation for this from his works. Do you know where this is found in his writings?

          Stan

          • Stan,

            Below is the documentation you asked for. It is from the writings of Augustine “in reply to Faustus the Manichaean, book 22, chapter 74. It can also be found in Phillip Schaff’s “The Nicene and Post-Nicene Father, First Series, vol. 4, page 301.

            74. Now, if this explanation suffices to satisfy human obstinacy and perverse misinterpretation of right actions of the vast difference between the indulgence of passion and presumption on the part of men, and obedience to the command of God, who knows what to permit or to order, and also the time and the persons, and the due action or suffering in each case, the account of the wars of Moses will not excite surprise or abhorrence, for in wars carried on by divine command, he showed not ferocity but obedience; and God in giving the command, acted not in cruelty, but in righteous retribution, giving to all what they deserved, and warning those who needed warning. What is the evil in war? Is it the death of some who will soon die in any case, that others may live in peaceful subjection? This is mere cowardly dislike, not any religious feeling. The real evils in war are love of violence, revengeful cruelty, fierce and implacable enmity, wild resistance, and the lust of power, and such like; and it is generally to punish these things, when force is required to inflict the punishment, that, in obedience to God or some lawful authority, good men undertake wars, when they find themselves in such a position as regards the conduct of human affairs, that right conduct requires them to act, or to make others act in this way. Otherwise John, when the soldiers who came to be baptized asked, What shall we do? would have replied, Throw away your arms; give up the service; never strike, or wound, or disable any one. But knowing that such actions in battle were not murderous but authorized by law, and that the soldiers did not thus avenge themselves, but defend the public safety, he replied, “Do violence to no man, accuse no man falsely, and be content with your wages.”127 But as the Manichaeans are in the habit of speaking evil of John, let them hear the Lord Jesus Christ Himself ordering this money to be given to Caesar, which John tells the soldiers to be content with. “Give,” He says, “to Caesar the things that are Caear’s.”128 For tribute-money is given on purpose to pay the soldiers for war. Again, in the case of the centurion who said, “I am a man under authority, and have soldiers under me: and I say to one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it,” Christ gave due praise to his faith;129 He did not tell him to leave the service. But there is no need here to enter on the long discussion of just and unjust ways.

            Steve Blackwell

            • Steve, thanks for that reference. However, this speaks to the justifiability of war in a general way. What I would like to know is where Augustine justified or at least laid the groundwork for the Church to take up arms to defend the faith or to use physical force to torture and execute heretics such as we find in both RCs and Protestants with regard to the Anabaptists. What I seem to remember is that he said somewhere the Church was the Kingdom of God on earth in a temporal way thus was authorized to use the sword of government to enforce her will. Or am I mistaken that he wrote such things?

              Stan

              • Stan,

                I’m not sure of Augustine making such a comment or giving the Church that authority. I do know that those who justify the binding of Church and State make such claims without reservation. For example Calvin’s taught that the Church and the State were simply twin parts of God’s kingdom, and that it was the duty of the state to establish the true faith, protect the Church, and to compel the citizens to conform as stated in Bullinger’s Second Helvetic Confession of 1566, chapter 33:

                THE DUTY OF THE MAGISTRATE. The chief duty of the magistrate is to secured and preserve peace and public tranquillity. Doubtless he will never do this more successfully than when he is truly God-fearing and religious; that is to say, when, according to the example of the most holy kings and princes of the people of the Lord, he promotes the preaching of the truth and sincere faith, roots out lies and all superstition, together with all impiety and idolatry, and defends the Church of God. We certainly teach that the care of religion belongs especially to the holy magistrate.
                Let him, therefore, hold the Word of God in his hands, and take care lest anything contrary to it is taught. Likewise let him govern the people entrusted to him by God with good laws made according to the Word of God, and let him keep them in discipline, duty and obedience. Let him exercise judgment by judging uprightly. Let him not respect any man’s person or accept bribes. Let him protect widows, orphans and the afflicted. Let him punish and even banish criminals, impostors and barbarians. For he does not bear the sword in vain (Rom. 13:4).
                Therefore, let him draw this sword of God against all malefactors, seditious persons, thieves, murderers, oppressors, blasphemers, perjured persons, and all those whom God has commanded him to punish and even to execute. Let him suppress stubborn heretics (who are truly heretics), who do not cease to blaspheme the majesty of God and to trouble, and even to destroy the Church of God.
                WAR. And if it is necessary to preserve the safety of the people by war, let him wage war in the name of God; provided he has first sought peace by all means possible, and cannot save his people in any other way except by war. And when the magistrate does these things in faith, he serves God by those very works which are truly good, and receives a blessing from the Lord.
                We condemn the Anabaptists, who when they deny that a Christian may hold the office of a magistrate, deny also that a man may be justly put to death by the magistrate, or that the magistrate may wage war, or that oaths are to be rendered to a magistrate, and such like things.

                These beliefs of Calvin and the other reformers had their “anathemas” and enforced them, defying the commands of our Lord to love our enemies and resist not evil. For more of my thinking along this line you can read my articles http://www.indywatchman.com/uncategorized/was-jesus-a-pacifist-as-defined-by-webster/ and http://www.indywatchman.com/uncategorized/the-christianization-of-war-and-violence/

                Steve Blackwell
                http://www.IndyWatchman.com

                • Steve,

                  The part about magistrates securing domestic peace and executing criminals of the state, whether foreign or domestic, is one thing for God approves this arm of His vengeance in Romans 13:1-4; but for these same civil magistrates to be charged by the church with suppressing its own heretics is quite another. The Lord’s Apostles judged heretics with miracles, not swords. What the church is told to do with regard to heretics and disturbers of the church is to “mark them” and not to fellowship with them.

                  This unequal yoking of the visible church with the governments of the world is nothing more than an attempt at a human-engineered theocracy. They “go beyond what is written.”

                  Stan

                  • Stan,

                    I have to be careful when getting into these open exchanges of ideas and feelings. It is easy to be taken the wrong way, and be seen as someone who is a hater of those who did very much in rescuing the Church. I am not that person. I do not have an ill feeling toward any, and have enjoyed great fellowship with those who differ with me. My whole purpose in having this exchange is to point toward a deeper understanding of Jesus’ teaching than what we have come to expect from the institutional Church. There is a much richer life available to those who will keep the teachings of our Lord. There are those who are living that life, just as there were, and have always been since the beginning of the Church; and God is calling others to live that separated life. Many of the popular Reformers had that life lived before there eyes and elected to extinguish it as heretical. God, forgive them. As the end of the age nears God is calling many others to that life; and they will be hated as they were in former times.

                    Thank you Yvonne for this platform.

                    Steve Blackwell

                    • Steve,

                      I appreciate your contributions to the discussion and helping me with the references you gave. My interest in this discussion its its origins. The apostles who wrote the NT and prophets of the OT are our only trustworthy guide to the truth which sanctifies. The Spirit reveals the things He spoke of through them to his own.

                      Stan

    • Thanks for sharing, Steve. I haven’t read through your discussion with Stan, but I do know that Protestant history has its dark places which is just one reason I struggle with Calvinism.

      Hunt’s book, ‘What God is This?’ speaks of Calvin being a disciple of Augustine who is considered a ‘Church Father’ by the Roman Catholics. This is a huge red flag, I think. I’ll have to go find it, but somewhere Augustine says that there is no salvation outside the church and I believe he was speaking of the RC church.

      Also, the fact that the Reformers persecuted those who believed in believer’s baptism is certainly a reason to question their teachings and make sure they line up with Scripture.

      ~Yvonne

      • “What Love Is This?” is the title

        • You are absolutely right, Glenn! I think I need another cup of coffee! :-]

      • Yvonne,

        I have read the quote by Augustine concerning no salvation outside the Catholic Church, whether he was speaking of catholic or Catholic (little “c” or big “C”) I’m not sure without more investigation. But, there is no question that Calvin was a follower of Augustine; his writings are full of Augustine’s thinking. Having said that, I would not condemn Calvin or Augustine, but only point out that there was a divergence of belief somewhere along the line between the true Kingdom belief of Jesus and the Apostles and a popular belief, that I believe took place during the time of Augustine and Constantine, and that Augustine has earned the title of apologist for this new hybrid belief system, and also that that belief system has followed us into the end of the age, along with all the other baggage it has picked up along the way.

        My contention is that the Christianity we see today is a product of the hybrid and not of the teaching of Jesus, which becomes obvious if we would just listen to His words. The general consensus is that it is impossible today to live as Jesus taught, so it is rejected out-of-hand, as obsolete. If that is the case then Jesus lied to us, because He commanded us to live that life that He and His disciples lived. There are those who are living that life, all over the world; and there have been those all through history who have obeyed, and it is them we read about as those who received at the hands of “the Church” the sentence to be extirpated and silenced.

        The Anabaptist did not believe in the infant baptism of Calvin or the Catholic Church and re-baptized their followers. They reasonably believed that the Church was the body of Christ and outside that body there was no salvation, and that it was baptism that initiated a person into that body. So it follows that if infants were baptized, or heretics forced to be baptized, before dying, they were doing the will of God. this an over simplification, but it is an example of the human reasoning that has produced the hybrid Constantinian Church we see on both side of the great divide between Protestantism and Catholicism.

        But, Jesus has assured us that there is living remnant of His true followers.

        Steve Blackwell

      • Yvonne, more specifically to the points in the article, I was born into a RC family. My mother was a lifelong RC while my dad was a foxhole convert to it during WW2. He was formerly Methodist but became an ardent “evangelist” for Catholicism and was even a member of the Blue Army. ( http://www.wafusa.org/ ). What we were obviously taught was the baptismal regeneration of the soul as infants. Considering Calvin’s forceful belief in it and his opposition to believer’s baptism, is it possible that this doctrine was somehow a basis for Calvinism’s view on how a person could be regenerated before a personal act of faith came later as an adult? Just wondering here. . .

        Stan


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