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Archive for April, 2018

First, we’ll briefly look at Calvinism.

Calvinism is a theology named after the Protestant Reformer John Calvin, which is held by many Protestants today such as the Presbyterians, Baptists, and others. One of its principle components is the doctrine of election. In a nutshell, it means that God for all eternity has determined which part of mankind He will save by looking out on the whole horizon of individual persons and giving grace only to a certain number of them to be saved (the elect). In the end, all of these graced given persons will be saved because this grace according to Calvinism is irresistible. The rest of the world God leaves to be damned because He does not give them grace to be saved.

The foundation for this theology is to avoid saying man has anything whatsoever to do with his own salvation. God does it all and He will make it happen.

So when we come to the Scripture passage 1Tim.2:3-4, “God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” John Calvin taught in his commentaries that “all men” referred “to classes of men, and not to individual persons.” He understood that if God desired all individual men to be saved, then He couldn’t just leave men to be damned without giving those help through grace. In Calvinism, grace is irresistible and man can’t reject it, therefore, those given grace will be saved and those not given grace will not be saved.

The implication of Calvin’s doctrine is that God positively predestines part of mankind unto damnation. In other words, God created part of mankind for hell, not heaven.

Calvin’s doctrine comes apart at the seams when he attempts to explain in his commentary Matt.11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Concerning this passage, Calvin wrote, “He now kindly invites to himself those whom he acknowledges to be fit for becoming his disciples. Though he is ready to reveal the Father to all, yet the greater part are careless about coming to him, because they are not affected by a conviction of their necessities. Hypocrites give themselves no concern about Christ, because they are intoxicated with their own righteousness, and neither hunger nor thirst (Matthew 5:6) for his grace. Those who are devoted to the world set no value on heavenly life. It would be in vain, therefore, for Christ to invite either of these classes, and therefore he turns to the wretched and afflicted.”

The problem here is the Calvin believed in the total depravity of man’s will after the fall of Adam and Eve. This means that without grace, the will to do good or even desire it is dead in man. A dead man can do nothing for himself. He has not the will to do as he ought. Therefore, God has to awaken the dead will of man or else man can only will to do evil because that is his only desire. Calvin’s theology must assume that absolutely all men are careless about coming to Christ without grace and he can’t hunger or thirst for God’s grace without grace. It would be impossible to set a value on heavenly life with a totally depraved will to do good or desire it. Either all men despise the grace of God or they don’t know about it to despise it.

So while Calvin says, “the greater part [of mankind]” he knows that it has to be all. He is trying to make a distinction that doesn’t exist in his theology to fit the Scripture passage. None of the distinctions he makes above exists in a totally depraved world in his own theology.

But Calvin really drops the ball when he wrote, “we must bear in mind what I have said, that Christ stretches out his hand to all the afflicted, and thus lays down a distinction between his disciples and those who despise the Gospel. But we must attend to the universality of the expression; for Christ included all, without exception, who labor and are burdened, that no man may shut the gate against himself by wicked doubts.”

So it is with Calvin, Christ tells “all, without exception” “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” According to Calvin, Christ knows full well that no one can come to Him without Christ giving them grace to do so and yet He doesn’t give all mankind the grace to do what He asks of them. Christ cries crocodile tears for the lost. He could give them the grace, but won’t do so. He lets them all go to suffer eternal fire because He doesn’t desire all individual persons to be saved. Obviously, we agree that those who go to hell are in rebellion to God and deserve it, but all are in rebellion to God unless God provides the means to be saved. Unless God provides the means, then it must come down to the fact that He created souls for the purpose of suffering the eternal fire of hell.

Calvin’s theology is completely demonic because it really makes Christ Evil on two fronts.

In Catholic theology, God creates all men for heaven. Although, He foresees who will not be saved, He nevertheless gives all men the possibility to be saved through His Grace. There’s a mystery behind how and why man accepts or rejects the grace of God. The fate of unbaptized infants who never had the chance to make a decision appears to conflict with the above statement. However, there’s another point of view here. Since the Church has declared that those who die in original sin only, do not share in the eternal punishment with those who die in actual sin, God has mercy on them by letting them die early because He knows that they will reject Him if given the opportunity. God desires their salvation for He created them to know, love, and serve Him but God’s foreknowledge is also aware that they will not do so. For reasons known only to God, He had a particular mercy on them.

Now we come to Feeneyism. There are different levels of Feeneyism but the one specifically referred in this study is the one that says that any person not baptized by water will be damned.

As the Church grew over the centuries, so did its extension over the earth. In fact, the Roman Catechism states, “the Holy Scriptures inform us that the general judgment will be preceded by these three principal signs: the preaching of the Gospel throughout the world, a falling away from the faith, and the coming of Antichrist.”

This means that throughout the Church’s 2000 year history, the Gospel has not always been preached throughout the whole world. The implication is that not everybody since the time of Christ has even known about Him. Keeping in mind that Catholic theology understands I Tim. 2:4 that God desires all men to be saved to mean each and every individual, how do we reconcile this with the fact that not all men have been able to know Christ to be saved? Those ignorant of Christ because of their own doing are different from those invincibly ignorant. The question concerns the invincibly ignorant not the others.

The Feeneyite says all of the invincibly ignorant are damned. If this is so, how is this different from Calvinism concerning Matt. 11:28 that God only provides the possibility to be saved to a certain number of people, which necessarily implies that God created part of mankind for hell?

The case of unbaptized infants wouldn’t apply to all of mankind because of Matt. 11:28, the fact that adults suffer unfathomable suffering in hell, and there’s no reason to think all mankind would have rejected Christ since over time people converted as the gospel spread.

It would seem that God wouldn’t allow a competent adult to die invincibly ignorant. God would have to make Himself known providing an extraordinary way at least to those “sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all heart and ready to obey God” (Pope Pius IX).

However, Feeneyism takes it to the next level because it’s one thing to be ignorant and it’s another to know Him. With Feeneyism, knowing, accepting, and loving Christ is not enough. Some Feeneyites argue that perfect love of God is impossible without the sacrament of Baptism.

In Catholic theology, fallen man needs the grace of God to know, love, and serve Him, which is our very purpose of existence. For the Feeneyites, either one can or can’t know, love, and serve God without Baptism, but Heaven is still out of reach without the sacrament. The implication is that God created souls for the purpose of hell.

In Calvinism, if a man has the grace to desire and do good, he will do good and be saved. With Feeneyism, God may grant the grace to a catechumen who responds by knowing and accepting Christ waiting on the Church to baptize him but God still sends him to hell if he happens to die before then.

The typical Feeneyite will argue that God will send a missionary or a miracle of one to the goodwill persons to be baptized. The problem with this argument is that we have catechumens die before baptism and we aren’t to judge their hearts to be ill-willed. Also, the Church has already taught by implication that the Gospel has not always been preached throughout the whole world. This implies that it is needed in order to reach those of goodwill. Lastly, we have unbaptized saints who shed their blood for Christ.

At this point, one might ask why then should the Gospel be preached throughout the world? The answer is seven-fold:

First, God desires that His Church be established in a normal way.

Second, sanctification is higher with the sacraments.

Third, knowing Christ during life is better than discovering Him only at death.

Fourth, the more we know Christ as we live, the more we can love Him now and forever.

Fifth, the world with Christ is better than a world without Him.

Sixth, the Glory to God is greater with Christ being known, loved, and served on earth.

Seventh, the will of God is not that we discover Him only at death, but as soon as possible.

In conclusion, Calvinism and Feeneyism share the same diabolical character that God desires only a select few to be saved and positively wills the others to damnation. For them, the implication must be that Jesus claims to love and have died for all men but in reality, he taunts and mocks the helpless knowing full well that He created them for nothing but eternal suffering in the lake of fire.

 

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