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Bono Vox
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« on: April 22, 2004, 02:32:51 AM »

As a former 5 point calvinist, I was wondering how many of you used to be Calvinists as well. If any of you used to be calvinists, I am curious to hear your story of how you became Orthodox.

Thanks

Bagpiper
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2004, 06:49:43 AM »

One Scripture tore down my Calvinism - "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling."

Over a period of years that drip, drip, drip of that one scripture caused me to realize that if Calvinism were true, then this scripture had to be false.  I couldn't accept that this scripture might be false so the fault had to be with Calvinism.

Also eight years ago I began to read about the Orthodox Church and its theology of free will.  These two things brought my Calvinism to an end.
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2004, 09:54:02 AM »

When I first became a Christian as a senior in high school, my theology was based on C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity and I attended an Arminian Baptist church.  When I went to a Southern Baptist college, I discovered Calvinism as most of the religion professors and many of the students espoused this soul destroying heresy.  When my initial shock of "this can't be a part of Christianity" wore off, I dipped into Baptist history(what little there is) and discovered that they routinely switch back and forth from Calvinism to Arminanism and vice-versa.  That was the stepping stone that led me to embrace the Church.
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2004, 09:54:27 AM »

For a few years I did consider myself a Calvinist, but...

I never could deny that we are responsible for the decisions we make, or accept the hyperCalvinism that essentially reduces humans to puppets.  I did know that this is about relationship (and you really can't have a satisfying relationship with a puppet).  What I realized through Orthodoxy's appreciation for paradox is that while election is a real biblical doctrine, it is one side of a coin of which free moral agency is the other side.  I also realized that Calvinistic thinking was leaving me with a hope for future salvation, but not much hope for daily conquest over sinfulness.  I needed salvation in the here and now, not just someday when my body lies in a grave.  I also realized that Calvinism left me with a concept of an angry, vengeful God punishing the whole human race for the sin of Adam until His Son paid the debt to Him.  In the end, it turned out to be a cold theology.

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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2004, 09:42:45 PM »

I would love to see a debate between a Calvinist and an Orthodox theologian on the issue of predestination.

One of the conclusions that I came to about Calvinism is that it is highly influenced by the "enlightenment" period. Moreover, it is very gnostic in it's approach to God, Man and salvation. Primarily, it allows for a drastic dichotomy between the body and the sprit.

It does not understand, like Orthodoxy, that your faith is demonstrated in your works (faith without works is dead). It allows for someone to have "faith" (mental or heartfelt asent) without having to physically manifest it (with works).

In the Calvinist mind, it's "fath vs works". It has to be an "either, or" scenerio.

During my initial study into historic christianity, I was shocked to learn that the original "calvinists" (the group that taught double predestination) were, in fact, the gnostics!!!  Just like the gnostics, the flesh doesn't matter and it is only "the spirit" which is important.

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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2004, 11:25:30 PM »

The "faith vs works" aspect of some Calvinists is still a puzzle to me; perhaps it's a matter of where you end up by trying to reduce truth to simple logic.  Many of the Puritans (maybe all) were Calvinists, but they often emphasized works to the point of legalism.
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2004, 11:45:33 PM »

Soul-destroying heresy is right, Dave. Sadly, I have some Calvinist friends who have the most trouble grasping what Christianity is. Prayer works best, though.

Matt
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2004, 01:26:58 AM »

I'm at a Calvinist school.  Trust me, it's no fun trying to keep sane when there's only seven or eight Orthodox on a campus of 1500.  Especially when the professors are basically required to be Calvinist if they want to keep their job.
From what I've seen, Calvinism places far too much weight on the writings of one Father, Blessed Augustine, and far too much stock in the interpretation of his words and those of Holy Scripture by one man, John Calvin.  Add to this the fact that most modern-day 'Calvinism' and 'Augustinianism' probably wouldn't even be recognizable to Calvin or Augustine.
Not only this, but Calvinism (and Western theology in general) has a tendency to pick and choose verses from Scripture that support their argument, insist that they are taken at face value, and then go through all kinds of mental and linguistic gymnastics to reinterpret the passages that don't support them.
Case in point: Romans 9, the most heavily and overtly predesinarian passage in Scripture, seems to say that man can do nothing to decide his own salvation, because God has made His choice long ago, before He even formed the clay from which the vessels will be made.  However, only a few verses before this passage, St. Paul speaks of how God predestines those whom He foreknows, not the other way around, along with 2 Thessalonians 2:10, where he says that the damned "are perishing because tey received not the love of the truth, in order for them to be saved" and 1 Timothy 2:4, which says that God 'willeth all men to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of the truth."
Lastly, to me at least, Calvinism has some of the key marks of a heresy (as does Arminianism, by the way): it's known by the name of its founder, it takes its support from Scripture but reinterprets the verses to fit its own agenda, and it is a novel teaching that goes to an extreme in matters of faith.  Needless to say, I don't say that to anyone on campus but what few Orthodox and Catholics that are here, and I don't even say it that loud, because I would probably get strung up by my own guts from the Student Center.
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2004, 08:07:57 AM »

I'm at a Calvinist school.  Trust me, it's no fun trying to keep sane when there's only seven or eight Orthodox on a campus of 1500.  Especially when the professors are basically required to be Calvinist if they want to keep their job.
You are a brave soul!

Quote
From what I've seen, Calvinism places far too much weight on the writings of one Father, Blessed Augustine, and far too much stock in the interpretation of his words and those of Holy Scripture by one man, John Calvin.  Add to this the fact that most modern-day 'Calvinism' and 'Augustinianism' probably wouldn't even be recognizable to Calvin or Augustine.
I think you're right.

Quote
Not only this, but Calvinism (and Western theology in general) has a tendency to pick and choose verses from Scripture that support their argument, insist that they are taken at face value, and then go through all kinds of mental and linguistic gymnastics to reinterpret the passages that don't support them.
 Yes.  One thing modern popular Calvinism does not allow for is living with paradox.  (You wonder how they manage to be trinitarian.)

Quote
Case in point: Romans 9, the most heavily and overtly predesinarian passage in Scripture, seems to say that man can do nothing to decide his own salvation, because God has made His choice long ago, before He even formed the clay from which the vessels will be made.  However, only a few verses before this passage, St. Paul speaks of how God predestines those whom He foreknows, not the other way around, along with 2 Thessalonians 2:10, where he says that the damned "are perishing because tey received not the love of the truth, in order for them to be saved" and 1 Timothy 2:4, which says that God 'willeth all men to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of the truth."

Calvinists think that if God has chosen those whom He knew would believe, that it makes belief itself a meritorious "work" and nullifies grace.  Taken far enough, this thinking leads to denial of the sacramental nature of baptism and the eucharist, because they, too, become meritorious "works." (In their minds)

Quote
Lastly, to me at least, Calvinism has some of the key marks of a heresy (as does Arminianism, by the way): it's known by the name of its founder, it takes its support from Scripture but reinterprets the verses to fit its own agenda, and it is a novel teaching that goes to an extreme in matters of faith.
Good observations.
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2004, 12:27:59 PM »

You are a brave soul!
Not brave.  I just found Orthodoxy after I got here.  I was a pseudo-Calvinist before that, so I know a little bit about what I'm talking.  I'm honestly thinking about transferring to a Catholic school.  While it wouldn't be that much better, it's a lot closer to Orthodoxy in a lot of ways than Protestantism is.
Quote
Yes.  One thing modern popular Calvinism does not allow for is living with paradox.  (You wonder how they manage to be trinitarian.)
I know.  My Bible professor has been talking about mystery in class, how there are things that we can't puzzle out, and I can see people around the room and I know what they're thinking.  Mainly because I would have been thinking it a year ago: "What?! Mystery? We... can't ..... understand.... everything?  God isn't able to be explained by man?!  Protestant.... programs.... not.... working.....Calvinism..... overloading....AAAUGGHGGGHH!"
Quote
Calvinists think that if God has chosen those whom He knew would believe, that it makes belief itself a meritorious "work" and nullifies grace.  Taken far enough, this thinking leads to denial of the sacramental nature of baptism and the eucharist, because they, too, become meritorious "works." (In their minds)
Ah, yes, grace is seperate and opposed to works.  Good Augustinian, psuedo-Pauline theology.  Let's just not notice the Epistle of St. James, shall we?  I'm sorry, I don't think that I can ever accept Protestantism, especially when Martin Luther wanted to cut out books of Scripture that he didn't agree with/wasn't able to explain (I know that he wanted to cut out St. James especially, but I think also the Epistles of St. Peter and maybe St. John's First Epistle.  Don't quote me on that, though).
I think that it wouldn't be a bad idea for Protestantism if they just started handing out complementary Calvinism sharpies at the door so they can cross out things that 1.) Calvinism doesn't agree with and 2.) things that they don't agree with.
I'll end with a classic Catholic quote that sums up the Protestant mindset quite well: "Protestants think that everyone is infallible, except for the Pope."
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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2004, 12:59:42 PM »

Lastly, to me at least, Calvinism has some of the key marks of a heresy (as does Arminianism, by the way): it's known by the name of its founder, it takes its support from Scripture but reinterprets the verses to fit its own agenda, and it is a novel teaching that goes to an extreme in matters of faith.  Needless to say, I don't say that to anyone on campus but what few Orthodox and Catholics that are here, and I don't even say it that loud, because I would probably get strung up by my own guts from the Student Center.
If they are true Calvinists, your fears are probably not unfounded, ala Michael Servetus (who was burned at the stake by Calvin for heresy).
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« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2004, 02:26:38 PM »

As a former 5 point calvinist, I was wondering how many of you used to be Calvinists as well. If any of you used to be calvinists, I am curious to hear your story of how you became Orthodox.

Thanks

Bagpiper

Bagpiper,

Do you mind if I ask you what a 5 point Calvinist is? It's a term I've never heard before.

Thank you

Brigid
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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2004, 03:07:58 PM »

Bagpiper,

Do you mind if I ask you what a 5 point Calvinist is? It's a term I've never heard before.

Thank you

Brigid

Well, I'm not Orthodox Bagpiper, but I am kind of a bagpiper, so I'll take this, if he doesn't mind.

Calvinism is based around five points of faith, known by the acronym TULIP:
Total Depravity
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement
Irresitible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints

Total Depravity says that when Adam sinned, his sin passed to all of his descendents, making them completely unable to seek God or look for Him.  Even after Christ has come, they say, this condition still exists.
Unconditional Election is the belief that since man cannot choose to come to God of his own will (which is bound and held captive by sin), God has chosen those who will believe in Him from before the foundations of the world, not based on any merit that the elect may possess.
Limited Atonement says that although Christ's death was effective enough to save all of mankind, its effect is not imputed to all of mankind, but only to the elect.
Irresitible Grace teaches that since God is omnipotent, nothing He does can be thwarted.  For that reason, the grace of God that is extended to the elect is powerful enough to save them, whether they want it or not (which, according to Calvinism, they won't want, because no one of his own will seeks after God).
Finally, the Perseverance of the Saints is the belief that since the grace of God is impossible to resist, the saints will continue in the grace that was given them and will never fall.

Now, naturally, there are a lot of things that are suspect with this doctrine.  For instance, you aren't really able to know whether you're of the elect until you die, because regardless of how great a person is in the Church, if he falls away, he was not of the elect but was merely a surface Christian.  In addition, this doctrine seems to anthropomorphize God by making Him work in time.  Calvinists don't seem to be able to understand that God is outside of time, and, as such, sees all times as one eternal NOW.  If that is the case, God is able to work all things at all times around what men decide to do, because for Him, it is eternally the moment of creation, and regardless of what decisions are made by men, He is able to rework all of creation according to His purpose.  It's really hard for me to explain, but C.S. Lewis (who I seriously think was Orthodox at heart, by the way) does an excellent job in explaining this point of view in the second appendix to his book "Miracles".

Sorry for the long-winded-ness, but Calvinism gets me worked up, so long as I'm typing and not trying to talk about it.  I'm a writer!!! I can't work without my books and my internet connection!
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« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2004, 03:25:25 PM »

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I'm at a Calvinist school.  Trust me, it's no fun trying to keep sane when there's only seven or eight Orthodox on a campus of 1500.  Especially when the professors are basically required to be Calvinist if they want to keep their job.

Not too many of those around anymore. Are you at a bible college??? 1500 seems like alot of people for a seminary, especially one that has an emphasis on reformational theology.

Quote
I know.  My Bible professor has been talking about mystery in class, how there are things that we can't puzzle out, and I can see people around the room and I know what they're
Quote
thinking.  Mainly because I would have been thinking it a year ago: "What?! Mystery? We... can't ..... understand.... everything?  God isn't able to be explained by man?!  Protestant.... programs.... not.... working.....Calvinism..... overloading....AAAUGGHGGGHH!"

LoL, I have heard many calvinist talk about "mystery", but it seems to only consist in 1 hour long sermons or thier "symposiums" they love to put on all the time.

Quote
From what I've seen, Calvinism places far too much weight on the writings of one Father, Blessed Augustine, and far too much stock in the interpretation of his words and those of Holy Scripture by one man, John Calvin.  Add to this the fact that most modern-day 'Calvinism' and 'Augustinianism' probably wouldn't even be recognizable to Calvin or Augustine.

True, they especially love Calvin's "Institutes of Christian Religion". Don't ever bring it up around them, they could sit thier for hours on end talking about the beauties of this & reformational theology. They also love "selected" works of Augustine also. If you ask a calvinist about Augustines other beleifs such as the eucharist, purgatory, charismatic gifts & miracles, the papacy, & prayer to the saints, they would have a major heart attack.

 
Quote
Do you mind if I ask you what a 5 point Calvinist is? It's a term I've never heard before.
The 5 points of calvinism are:
T.U.L.I.P.
1. Total Depravity
2.Unconditional Election
3.Limited Atonement
4.Irresistable Grace
5.Perseverance of the Saints
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2004, 05:45:52 PM »

Not too many of those around anymore. Are you at a bible college??? 1500 seems like alot of people for a seminary, especially one that has an emphasis on reformational theology.
Nope, it's a liberal arts school.  Geneva College (the name should just give it away :rolleyes:) in Beaver Falls, PA.  If I go to seminary (which, by the way, seems to be weighing heavily on my heart right now), it's probably going to be St. Vlad's up in NY.
Quote
LoL, I have heard many calvinist talk about "mystery", but it seems to only consist in 1 hour long sermons or thier "symposiums" they love to put on all the time.
You've actually heard them talk about mystery?  Wow, I thought that was a four-letter word for them, along with the 't'-word.
Quote
True, they especially love Calvin's "Institutes of Christian Religion". Don't ever bring it up around them, they could sit thier for hours on end talking about the beauties of this & reformational theology. They also love "selected" works of Augustine also. If you ask a calvinist about Augustines other beleifs such as the eucharist, purgatory, charismatic gifts & miracles, the papacy, & prayer to the saints, they would have a major heart attack.
Or about the ever-virginity of the Theotokos.  One of my super-Calvinist acquantances (I can't really call him a friend, seeing as he basically thinks Orthodoxy is Eastern Heterodoxy) asked me about it, so I summarized St. Jerome's essay on it and tacked on quotes from Church Fathers, including Augustine.  And then, just for them, I gave quotes from Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, and Wesley on the subject, all favorable, of course.  He didn't have an answer for that.  He just made an issue of why I believe it, obviously missing the point: I believe it because it's what the Fathers taught.

Peace.
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« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2004, 07:19:27 PM »

Unfortunately, Calvinists (and many other evangelicals) have no idea of the holiness of things.  I've asked people if they could have sex and have children after your partner had carried God Incarnate in her womb and given birth to Him, and the answer is just about always, "sure, no problem!"  It's really kind of scary sometimes.  Of course, probably about 4 or 5 years ago, I would have had no problem with it either.  

Also, not only are they very good at selecting only the verses that support their particular viewpoint and ignoring the rest, but even if they quote them, they can always add qualifiers to it so that they can ignore what the scriptures actually say.  When they want to get around all the references to eating Christ's Body and drinking His Blood, they just say He didn't mean them literally.  Of course, if you actually read the scriptural references, it is quite clear that He meant exactly what He said.  When he gave the talk about it in John 6, those who were there *knew* He meant exactly what He said.  That is why they left when they couldn't accept what He said.  The last time I took communion in my Baptist Church, I heard the account of the Last Supper without the "He didn't mean them literally" filter for the first time and I'm no longer Baptist because of it.  Have you noticed how on boards with both evs and Orthodox (and maybe Catholics can go with the O's here) and you ask them about certain verses that call their beliefs into question and ask how they interpret those verses, they won't touch them?  They will bring out all their verses to refute what it says, acting as though their verse trumps yours.  Part of me can understand where they're coming from.  It's hard when you find out that what you have believed for many years isn't true.  I remember on one board, an O posting the verses about us being judged on how we helped others (you know, the famous passage, "I was hungry and you fed me....).  I think the thread ended up being 14 or 15 pages long and not one evangelical dared to take up that passage.  The truth is that this passage and many others totally show that the idea that we're not going to be judged on our works is just not true.  

What do the Calvinisits on your campus think of the Orthodox?  Do some of them think you belong to some type of cult?  I have had that reaction from some of my *friends* from my former Baptist days.  I imagine it is hard for you.  Would the administration let you start of OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) chapter on your campus?  Maybe that would help.
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« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2004, 07:35:30 PM »

I've had that same response to the question about the Theotokos.  I asked Adam (that's the acquantance that I referred to) if he would be willing to have children with a woman who was, for all intents and purposes, the Ark of the Covenant, and he basically said yes.  Protestants scare me.  Very often.

I'm not sure what the Calvinists as a whole think of us.  I hear a lot of talk about the Second Commandment from them, and it's a little odd rooming with an RP when the walls around the head of your bed and your desk are slowly filling up with icons. Tongue

I think they might let us set up the OCF.  I certainly hope so.  In fact, I have a feeling that if it was set up, the rather sizable (for a Protestant school) Catholic contingency would flock to us, if only to get away from the anti-Catholicism that comes with Calvinism.

One little anecdote, and then I have to run: Most of the Orthodox on campus are seniors (which is bad in and of itself), which means that they were here when Peter Jon Gillquist attended school here.  Apparently, one of the Bible professors in a class that Peter had started talking about St. Ignatius of Antioch.  Dr. Curtis then went on to say that Ignatius is a heretic, because he couldn't find support for monarchical bishops before the saint's writings.  Needless to say, Peter just stood up and walked right out of the classroom.  I like to think that I would have done the same, but I probably qould have just sat there with a dumbfounded look on my face, thinking, "he did not just say what I thought he said, did he?'  

This man is a senior professor of the Bible department. This just shows how rampant Presbyterianism is on campus when they let a man that has been censureed by the PCA for that view retain his post as a professor.

Gotta run...  I have a play.



Peace.
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« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2004, 08:11:38 PM »

EOL, what is Dr. Curtis' first name?  I wonder whether I know who you're talking about.
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« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2004, 11:53:00 PM »

His name is Byron Curtis.  I don't know where he was before he ended up in Beaver Falls.  He might have been around the country.  The coursebook says that he's in the process of getting his Ph.D. from Westminster in Philley, but that's all that I can tell you.
And I've got another anecdote:  at warmups for the play tonight, we had prayer, holding hands in a circle.  Almost all of the people are praying the typical kind of Protestant prayers: stream of thought, lots of little words, lots of filler words, and overemphasis on the Name.  It's almost as if they're using it to fill when they can't think of anything.  I'm just standing there after it's done, and I think, 'ya know, I'm really glad that I don't have to try to think up whatever I want to pray.  If I can't think of what to say, I always have two recourses, the Jesus Prayer and Lord, Have Mercy.'
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my complaining about Protestants for this post.

Peace.
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« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2004, 04:17:17 AM »

Quote
at warmups for the play tonight, we had prayer, holding hands in a circle.  Almost all of the people are praying the typical kind of Protestant prayers: stream of thought, lots of little words, lots of filler words, and overemphasis on the Name.


Yes, I remember "praying" that way in the past.  It is nice to now have access to the traditional prayers of the Church!  

I was just thinking, though, that while it's nice to be able to vent our frustrations, it's probably also good to remember that we were once in the same boat and might have stayed there but for the grace of God.  And, I still have some Calvinist friends that I hold very dear.  

There must be a prayer for those Calvinists; hmmm... Wink
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« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2004, 05:25:23 AM »

Well, I'm not Orthodox Bagpiper, but I am kind of a bagpiper, so I'll take this, if he doesn't mind.

Calvinism is based around five points of faith, known by the acronym TULIP:
Total Depravity
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement
Irresitible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints


These doctrines sound extremely harsh and unforgiving. I can see also how they are at variance with the apostolic faith. Thank you for taking the trouble to reply, I honestly have never heard of this 5-point Calvinism before. I associate Calvinism with the mainstream Presbyterian Church in Ireland, would I be right in imagining that some Calvinists would take a harder line on these doctrines than others?

Thanks again,

Brigid
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« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2004, 05:30:40 AM »

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Nope, it's a liberal arts school.  Geneva College (the name should just give it away ) in Beaver Falls, PA.  If I go to seminary (which, by the way, seems to be weighing heavily on my heart right now), it's probably going to be St. Vlad's up in NY.

Yea, I would love to go to St. Vlad's. I think that would be a dream come true.  

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You've actually heard them talk about mystery?  Wow, I thought that was a four-letter word for them, along with the 't'-word.

Yea, except it all revolves around theology for them. Calvinist are quite unique protestants. They are very proud & think they have it all right. They also have a tendancy to make fun of most protestants also because in a way they see how fruity mainstream "corporate" protestantism is. You know what I mean, the protestants with the silly bumper stickers & really cheesy t - shirts that market christ anyway imaginable. They also are some what rebellous against mainstream protestantism & show it openly by such means as boasting about drinking beer or smoking cigars.  Cheesy
I fell into this "sub" protestant reformed camp at one point in my life.  Wink

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Or about the ever-virginity of the Theotokos.  One of my super-Calvinist acquantances (I can't really call him a friend, seeing as he basically thinks Orthodoxy is Eastern Heterodoxy) asked me about it, so I summarized St. Jerome's essay on it and tacked on quotes from Church Fathers, including Augustine.  And then, just for them, I gave quotes from Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, and Wesley on the subject, all favorable, of course.  He didn't have an answer for that.  He just made an issue of why I believe it, obviously missing the point: I believe it because it's what the Fathers taught.

LoL, quite smooth of you. That's a pretty good approach. You could really find alot of ammunition from Calvin & Luther to use against them. I still have all my reformed/calvinistic books on my shelves. I have about 600 books I need to get rid of. I've been hanging on to them for years now. I figure I could put them up on ebay & get a pretty penny in return if I sale them in one huge lot.
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« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2004, 09:41:37 AM »

These doctrines sound extremely harsh and unforgiving. I can see also how they are at variance with the apostolic faith. Thank you for taking the trouble to reply, I honestly have never heard of this 5-point Calvinism before. I associate Calvinism with the mainstream Presbyterian Church in Ireland, would I be right in imagining that some Calvinists would take a harder line on these doctrines than others?

You are most certainly welcome.  And you're very right in assuming that there are levels of adherence to Calvinism among Presbyterians and some other denominations (most Lutherans, some Anglicans, a few Baptists - probably others - I can't think good right now. Just woke up), with probably the Reformed Presbyterins (which run Geneva and have a tendency to make me annoyed and rather ticked off) and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (let's not touch that one, shall we?) being the most hardline on it.

Trust me, countrymouse, I'm reminded every day that I was once in that boat.  And I pray for them every day.  When I think about it, I'm reminded of one of the priest's prayers from St. Basil's Liturgy, in which he says"Collect the scattered and turn them from wandering astray" and "Make the schisms of the Church to cease, quench the ragings of hostile nations, speedily destroy by the power of Thy Holy Spirit uprisings of heresies, receive us all into Thy Kingdom, showing us to be sons of the Light and sons of the Day, and grant us Thy peace and love, O Lord our God, for all things hast Thou given unto us."
« Last Edit: April 24, 2004, 09:42:10 AM by ExOrienteLux » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2004, 11:29:15 PM »

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These doctrines sound extremely harsh and unforgiving. I can see also how they are at variance with the apostolic faith.

These five statements were developed by Calvin's followers for the Protestant Synod of Dort, in answer to the protests of the Remonstrants (who were followers of Arminius).  I doubt that Calvin himself would have recognized this as being exactly what he intended to teach by the way he systematized Protestant theology.  Not all Calvinists today interpret them in exactly the same way.  The Calvinists of the Synod of Dort invited their opponents, the Remonstrants, to meet with them, but never actually gave them a hearing.  Instead, the Synod was carried out essentially as a trial, and the Remonstrants were convicted of heresy and were not allowed to defend themselves.  The Calvinists were afraid that if Arminius' views were allowed to take root, it would lead the Protestants straight back to Romanism.  Fear motivated them to act as they did, and led to a long history of persecution of Arminian-minded Protestants.  

Calvinism is, to varying degrees, a mindset that Grace means no one makes any effort of his own to seek or obey God, and tends to take this to the extreme such that faith becomes not merely possible for all (which we know is God's gift to all mankind) but is a free gift given to some but not to others, according to God's sovereign decision.  That is why they accuse others of denying the necessity of God's grace in salvation.  In their reasoning, if God gives everyone the opportunity to believe and follow Christ, then choosing to do so becomes a "work" whereby some earn their salvation apart from God's grace, meriting God's favor completely on their own.  They see this as glorifying humans rather than God, and somehow reducing God's sovereignty.  

It is a tangled web.
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Bono Vox
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« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2004, 12:08:54 AM »

Country mouse,

It sounds like you have explained very well the Calvinist position. It is the view that I used to hold onto during my "reformation" period.

It is very unfortunate that calvinism realy doesn't allow for mystery in it's theology. Everything must be systematic, reasoned, and explained away. It's always an "either-or" scenerio with them (ie..faith vs works). In fact, it is really taken to an extreem with them.

One of the conclusions that I came to as I studied the church fathers is that the Calvinists would have considered all of the early fathers heritics!!!!  They try to make a "claim to fame" with st. Augustine; however, I think that they are really found lacking on this claim.

In my experience, there is really no joy with calvinists. They tend to be pretty arrogant and bitter people. I am thankful that I have come into the light of the historic faith.

Bagpiper
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