Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Calvinism = Contradiction / Can the Calvinist have Assurance of Heaven?

I have discussed the possibility of assurance of eternal life at length with many different Traditionalists. They all seem to say that assurance of salvation is possible in this life, and they will often quote The Westminster Confession of Faith article XVIII.II.

Therefore we have:

Proposition A: It is possible for a man to have assurance before the end of life that he will go to heaven when he dies.

Yet, when we consider the Perseverance of the Saints, with its corollaries "temporary faith" and/or "spurious faith," another, strikingly contradictory conclusion is made.

John Murray states, "The perseverance of the saints reminds us forcefully that only those who persevere to the end are truly saints."

Charles Hodge, a Calvinist theologian says:
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The only evidence of election is effectual calling, that is, the production of holiness. And the only evidence of the genuineness of this call and the certainty of our perseverance, is a patient continuance in well doing.
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(Charles Hodge, St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, (reprint, 1950; Eerdmans) p 212)

In other words, the only real evidence of election is perseverance, and our only assurance of the certainty of persevering is -- to persevere (until the end!)!

John MacArthur has said on his radio program, "You may be a spritual defector who hasn't defected yet."

Not everyone who believes now will continue to believe in the future, says the doctrine of temporary, "spurious" faith. Only those whose faith and works perseveres until the end will make it to heaven.

Thus we are faced with the following syllogism which leads to proposition B:

Major premise: I am saved now if I persevere in faith and works to the end of life
Minor premise: It is possible that I will not persevere to the end of life
Conclusion: I may not be saved now.

This inevitably leads to:

Proposition B: It is not possible for man to have assurance before the end of life that he will go to heaven when he dies.

Since A cannot equal non-A, since both proposition A and proposition B cannot be true at the same time, the Calvinist system flatly contradicts itself.

It is disturbing how Traditionalists are able to continue to believe these contradictory things. One is reminded of the Red Queen in the story of Alice in Wonderland. When Alice protested that there is no use trying to believe impossible things, the Queen said:

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I dare say you haven't had much practice.... When I was your age I did it for half an hour a day. Why sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
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(Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking Glass (McMillian, 1880) pg 100)

The Traditionalist and the Red Queen have much in common as they both are in the business of believeing impossible things.

Some Calvinist theologians may say, "No. This is not a contradiction, but a healthy tension". But the word "tension" is simply a circumlocution for a blatant contradiction.

Antonio da Rosa

8 Comments:

Blogger Nellie Bellie said...

Here is a great article that pokes a little fun at this belief.

August 01, 2006 9:01 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Calvinism is crazy.

August 02, 2006 12:28 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Well, one couldn't say that you haven't presented the logical fallacy of saying you are certain but you can't be certain.

Here's what I think: most Calvinists don't fully embrace the implications of Perseverance doctrine. They except themselves because they know they believe and they know they have been born again.
Or ... they are Calvinists like the ones I have known before the blogosphere - the "Perseverance of the Saints" is really just equal to eternal security. I know several Calvinist Baptists who never thought of POS as it is defined by "Doctrines of Grace" proponents. Do you know any Antonio?

August 02, 2006 5:32 AM  
Blogger Solifidian said...

This link was an interesting exchange on the topic of assurance:

Do we know we’re saved - Triablogue

August 02, 2006 8:44 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Good stuff. Reminded me of days in geometry class. If A=X and B=Y and X does not =Y, then A cannot =B!

Good to see you pointing out the fallacies so clearly.

On a side note, someone gave me this book to read called "What Love is This?" (or something like that) pointing out errors of Calvinism. It was a little deep for me, but I'm sure you would dig it!

August 03, 2006 7:29 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

'What Love is This? by Dave Hunt.

I read that. I generally agree with Dave Hunt's position, but that book is not exactly the best defence of it.

A better book dealing with this subject is 'Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism' by Gordon C Olson. A very thorough and theologically literate book. My main complaint is that he accepts the idea of a false, intellectual faith which he thinks is referred to in James. That is a quite unbiblical concept and plays into the hands of those advocating Lordship Salvation.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

August 03, 2006 8:37 AM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

"What Love is This", is not a good book for understanding Calvinism--there are better ones out there!

August 03, 2006 11:04 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Nellie,
That is a quant story,thank you for sharing.

Matthew,
I agree, it is impossibly crazy.

Rose,
This is what I think, Rose. Most Calvinists think themselves saved, but would use the doctrine of Perseverance and temporary faith to judge others salvation. And they would be quick to note to their congregations that if they do not continue in sanctification, they are not born-again. I have heard this from Calvinists from the pulpit time and again.

Solifidian,
Seems to me that they don't know there own doctrines nor literature. Thank you for sharing that link.

Kristi,
I am glad you visited! I have read that book and have extensive highlights in it. I was pleased with it in many respects, although there were some noted areas where I was not. For the most part, it is a good primer on the untenableness of Calvinism.

Matthew, I think Olson is good.

Bobby,
Thank you for your visit.

Antonio

August 03, 2006 1:09 PM  

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