The Dongola Times

(Anachronistic) Dispatches from the Kingdom of Makuria.
07th of March, 2015

Summa Contra Worksism

Now, I hate to say "Calvinism" in a positive light, because I think I hate Calvin (but I like the arguments he believed, copied, and propagated). Nevetheless, here is a salvo against a "worksist" (for lack of a better opposite to "Calvinist"):

Have you read the (“definitive Calvinism”) Three Forms of Unity? They repeat these things you seem to think are at variance with “Calvinism”.

“all baptized persons have the ability [if they desire to labor faithfully] to perform with the aid and cooperation of Christ what is of essential importance in regard to the salvation of their soul.”

This is straight Calvinism. I assume you understand that baptism is of essential importance to the salvation of their soul. Now, if they are baptised and desire to labour faithfully, they are clearly elect. If they are not baptised and do not desire holiness, they are not.

“We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema.”

This is repeated in the above-cited canons. It also is taken right out of a common refrain in Augustine, which Calvin tended to repeat verbatim (and credit to Augustine) in his disputations. Just to clarify for you (and the many others who have not checked the sources), the Calvinists do not say God ordains evil works. They reject that with some heat. Rather, they insist that God chooses to leave the wicked in their wickedness, and their evil works follow necessarily, just as the good works of the redeemed follow necessarily.

“And while John Calvin himself taught that there are men foreordained to evil by the power of God …”

Have you read any Calvin at all? (I don’t mean isolated seven incomplete phrases; I mean, say, one single, whole argument.) It seems to me that if you had, it would be easy for you to see where that link is outright false. Calvin generally opened his arguments with a fierce denial that he was teaching that God ordained evil works; this is clearly neither a new charge, nor one that would not come to the mind of those who read lightly (or second-hand-ly) what he said. It is certainly not a misunderstanding that can be caught by one whose exposure is but a few isolated lines which start sixteen chapters into book 1, before skipping to book 3, chapter 24.

I am starting to wonder how accurate you are in calling yourself a former Calvinist of any sort, if you don’t know item one of his argumentation style.

Do you know what Peter said, regarding the wicked murder of Jesus? That it was fore-ordained by God. But I also know that you will not accept such a thing, since you are clearly reprobate and predestined by God to the futile pursuit of justification by works. (You should not mind that I call you reprobated of God, since you believe I am deluded, anyway.) But what saith the Scripture? “It therefore doesn’t depend on the one who works or the one who runs, but on God who calls.” You will work diligently, you will run hard, but since you have not been ordained to life, you will not be saved. You can even see, for instance, how you have failed to understand Orange.