12 January 2018

The Theological Implications of Calvinism’s Conception of Doubt

J. D. Gallé | Friday, 12 January 2018

        The weakness of Greg Morse’s article, ‘Does Your Doubt Dishonor God? What No One Says about Weak Faith’ (4 Jan. 2018),[1] is that the author holds many false assumptions, all (or nearly all) of which are Calvinistic in nature. The following declaration, taken from Desiring God’s statement of faith, underlies the theological understanding of Morse’s essay and serves as the foundation of Calvinistic theology in general:

We believe that God, from all eternity, in order to display the full extent of His glory for the eternal and ever-increasing enjoyment of all who love Him, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His will, freely and unchangeably ordain and foreknow whatever comes to pass. (‘God’s Eternal Purpose and Election’, 3.1)[2]
        Taking the above affirmation into account, the basic implications concerning faith and doubt in Calvinistic thought are as follows:
  • whether a person is devoid of faith (i.e. an unbeliever), believing in God, or ever will come to believe in God and the good news of Jesus Christ, is a matter of divine foreordination;
  • at any given moment of time, the relative strength or weakness of a particular believer’s faith in God, God’s promises, and Jesus Christ his Son, is a matter of divine foreordination;
  • if a person fails to persevere in the faith, this merely demonstrates that s/he was a ‘false believer’ all along. One can only fully and finally fall (i.e. apostatise) from a spurious profession of faith.
        In summary, Calvinism maintains that the actual possession of faith and its degree of strength or weakness in the individual believer are attributable solely to God’s eternal decree. If a believer is presently harbouring grave doubts regarding God and his trustworthiness, s/he is doubting in exact accordance with God’s secret, immutable, inscrutable, eternal decree.

        1. <https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/does-your-doubt-dishonor-god>
        2. See ‘Desiring God: An Affirmation of Faith’ (6 Oct. 2004): <https://www.desiringgod.org/affirmation-of-faith>.

Copyright © 2018, J. D. Gallé. All rights reserved.

25 December 2017

02 October 2017

René A. López on Faith as a Gift of God

        [I]f faith is a gift from God, then people should be asking God for regeneration before they can believe. But such a request is completely foreign to the Scriptures. […] Numerous verses call for people to believe, that is, to exercise personal faith (e.g., John 1:12–13; 3:16, 36; 5:24; 6:47; Acts 16:31; see also Eph. 2:8; Rom. 3:21–22, 25–26, 28; and 4:3–6). […]
        Another problem with the faith-is-a-gift view relates to sanctification. According to advocates of this view[,] true believers will never fail to live godly lives. This is because God, having infused them with faith, guarantees their sanctification throughout their lives. However, this diminishes the seriousness of the commands of Scripture for believers to pursue holiness.
         If faith is a gift, then many commands in Scripture that exhort, command, prompt, and warn believers to live obediently become superfluous because the ultimate end of infused faith guarantees the sanctification of believers without their involvement. Followed to its logical conclusion[,] the gift-of-faith view lessens the urgency of putting forth effort to obey scriptural exhortations. (p. 275)

        The assumption that people are spiritually unresponsive and thus unable to exercise faith for salvation does not stand up to biblical scrutiny. Since faith is never considered a work in the Scriptures, God need not endow individuals with faith in order to avoid a merit-based salvation. Instead, the Bible presents faith for salvation as a human response much like that of a beggar holding out his hand for food. Passages that supposedly teach the gift-of-faith view do not, on careful examination, support that view. (p. 276)

—René A. López, ‘Is Faith a Gift from God or a Human Exercise?’, Bibliotheca Sacra 164 (Jul.–Sept. 2007)[1]

Copyright © 2007, Dallas Theological Seminary. All rights reserved.

        1. For the full article, see René A. López, ‘Is Faith a Gift from God or a Human Exercise?’, Bibliotheca Sacra 164 (Jul.–Sept. 2007): 259–76 (<http://www.dts.edu/download/publications/bibliotheca/bibsac-lopez-isfaithagiftfromgodorahumanexercise.pdf>). —J. D. Gallé

10 June 2017

Matthew 22.14: A Calvinistic Paraphrase

J. D. Gallé | Saturday, 10 June 2017

‘For many receive the external, ineffectual call that, taken by itself, is insufficient for the sinner to respond positively in repentance and faith to the good news of salvation; but few receive the accompanying internal, irresistible call of the Holy Spirit to rightly respond to the gospel invitation.’ (Matt. 22.14)[1]

        1. The above ‘paraphrasewas inspired by Guy Watersarticle from The Gospel Coalition website, ‘What Did Jesus Mean by “Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen? ’ (9 Jun. 2017):

Copyright © J. D. Gallé, 2017. All rights reserved.

Latest revisions: 11 June 2017 (made slight emendations); 17 January 2018 (converted two colons to full stops).

28 May 2017

Return to Yahweh | Isaiah 55.6–7

“Seek the LORD while he may be found;
        call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
        and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
        and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
(Isa. 55.6–7, ESV)