HT: Dale V. Wayman
Check out this reflective and insightful review of Austin Fischer’s book, Young, Restless And No Longer Reformed. John Frye (also a former Calvinist) presents a short and thought provoking summary of the problems inherent in Calvinism that Austin highlights in his book.
Filed under: Austin Fischer, Book Reviews, Calvinism, determinism, election, free will, God's glory, Leaving Calvinism, Neo-Reformed, predestination, salvation assurance, secret decrees, sovereignty, Young Restless Reformed | Leave a comment »
Great Follow-up Comments by David Martinez on the Recent Conversation Between James White and Austin Fischer
You can read the post at SEA here.
David does a fine job exposing White’s spurious debate tactics. James White has truly made an art out of poisoning the well as Martinez well points out (See post below for more evidence). And again, we see the tired old assumption that one cannot possibly disagree with Calvinism on Biblical grounds. Why? Because Calvinism is so obviously Biblical, of course. So any disagreement with Calvinism must be driven by some sort of ulterior motive or disrespect for Scripture.
David also does a great job easily dispatching the horrible Calvinist prooftexting of John 17:9. I will borrow one of White’s favorite superlative phrases and agree with Martinez in my “utter amazement” that Calvinists still try to use this passage to support Calvinism. I’m amazed, truly and utterly amazed!
Five Part Series Responding to C. Michael Patton’s “The Irrationality of Calvinism” (Highlights Several Problems With Calvinist Argumentative Techniques and Fallacious Debate Tactics).
The Fallacies of Calvinist Apologetics (14 Part Series on Apologetic Fallacies Typically Employed by Calvinists Like James White)
Filed under: Austin Fischer, calvinist polemics, determinism, election, free will, God's glory, irresistible grace, James White, Leaving Calvinism, Neo-Reformed, predestination, secret decrees, sovereignty, Young Restless Reformed | 7 Comments »
I think Mr. Fischer makes a valid point about how Piper’s claims do seem to plainly paint God in a way that seems at odds with Scripture and seems to threaten His aseity.
Here are a few other posts that make similar observations:
Filed under: Aseity, Austin Fischer, Calvinism, determinism, Edwards, election, free will, God's glory, irresistible grace, John Piper, Leaving Calvinism, Neo-Reformed, predestination, Restless and Reformed Movement, secret decrees, sovereignty, Theodicy, Thomas McCall, X-Calvinist | 2 Comments »
I found this comment after a post by a Calvinist at this blog:
There are three books every born again child of God should read (1) the Bible (2) The Reign of Grace by Abraham Boothe (3) An Antidote to Armianism by Christopher Ness. There is no such thing as a “Reformed Christian” because you are a christian or a non christian and if you have not been led by the Holy Spirit to a belief in the doctrines of grace (which is a being raised from the dead, not a reformation) then you believe another gospel and you are anathama.
It is comforting but not true to believe that someone can believe in free ill [sic.] and be saved
Good stuff. First, read the Bible (refreshing). Second, read two Calvinist works so that you can be sufficiently brainwashed into ignoring what you just read in the Bible about God’s love for the world, desire for all to be saved, the possibility of apostasy from genuine faith, etc. Basically, all those pesky parts that blatantly contradict Calvinism.
Anyway, as long as you read those books “after” you read the Bible, you can avoid the heresy of believing in free will which would make it impossible to be saved (never mind that you have no choice about what you believe in the first place). Oh, and if God hasn’t caused you to embrace Calvinism, you are clearly not saved.
Of course, this is just one voice among many Calvinists and might be considered rather extreme. However, it should be noted that this is the first comment in the thread. One would expect that at least one Calvinist would set this fellow straight on his hyper Calvinism, but not a single one takes this hyper-Calvinist to task. It seems that Mr. Owen is really onto something (though I disagree with his claim in his initial article that the old time Calvinists were not as anti-Arminian as the YRR movement. That is hardly the case). It does seem that things are trending in this direction of “non-Calvinists aren’t Christians” among Calvinists. Hopefully, more Calvinists like Paul Owen will sound the alarm before this sort of extremism really does become the norm.
Excerpt From Austin Fischer’s New Book About Why He Left The New Calvinist “Young, Restless and Reformed” Movement
You can read the excerpt here
Here are a few interesting comments left in response to the new book,
Austin, as one out of church for the last 2 years due to not being able to deal with, nor yet truly dismiss ,the calvinist god, I am reading your book with bated breath. It’s not a journey I have made willingly. So far you are the only person who has ever described what it is like to have the whole Bible become linguistically unreachable & impossible when the tenets of calvinism undermine normal meanings of words like love…for this alone I am grateful, & feel less strange. I can’t figure out why this doesn’t happen for everyone. I get left with an unreachable, unknowable God who frankly scares me to death. We’ll see how I get on. I’m not hopeful but I’m still trying. [Link]
Luke Breuer wrote:
It’s fascinating that AW Tozer both said that our conception of God is the most important thing about us, and simultaneously failed to mention God’s servant-nature (in his Knowledge of the Holy), as expressed by Jesus’ coming to earth to serve and not be served, with Jesus being the “exact representation” of God, per Hebrews 1. It strikes me that truly becoming more like the Calvinist God would make you into someone not many people would want to be around. Someone who meticulously controls everything instead of delegating authority to others? Someone who thinks it is perfectly fine to use some people as a means to an end? I know that a standard response is that when we “become perfect as our father in heaven is perfect”, that this is only done in some respects; such an ‘explanation’ just seems like special pleading. [Link]
Bev Mitchell wrote:
This is a great book. I read it through in a couple of sittings. It’s honest, clear and non-argumentative. Yet you come away understanding that the author has really thoroughly considered, and walked, the Calvinist road until he decided that too many mysteries were piling up in the wrong places. He recognizes, and clearly explains, that his new position (not specifically defined) has mystery as well, but these are mysteries that he believes are more true to the whole of Scripture and, to his thinking, also more reasonable. [Link]
I haven’t read the book yet, but hope to be able to buy it soon. It sounds great.
The writer is not against Calvinism, but has a major problem with some of the attitudes, themes, behaviors and side effects of what has been termed the “Young, Restless and Reformed” movement. It is certainly worth reading and considering, whether you are a Calvinist or not.
People are sometimes surprised to hear me speak of the TULIP cult. What do I mean when I speak this way? By a cult, I mean a sect within the broad landscape of Christianity which takes as its operating center some principle other than Christ crucified. This is certainly the case for the Young, Restless and Reformed. It is obvious that the operating center which holds this movement together is TULIP, not the gospel of the cross. One gets the impression that their sense of identity is inseparable from their sense of superiority, and thus it is tied to their adherence to and promotion of the doctrines of grace.
It is not the name of the Lamb that is constantly on the lips of these men, but the names of Calvin (though I have found most of the YRR have actually read very little of him) and the personalities featured at Calvinist conferences, gatherings and websites. What seems to be of paramount importance to these people is the demonstration of the superiority of the arguments for TULIP and its consequences for thinking out the logic of the Christian faith. The Christian faith, in other words, finds its coherence in the “doctrines of grace,” rather than in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rather than glory in Christ, and see in Christ’s face the focus of divine revelation, Calvinists these days glory in the doctrines of grace, and see the focus of God’s revelation in today’s preachers of TULIP religion. And just as reflecting on Christ makes us more like Christ (2 Cor. 3:18), reflecting on these Calvinist personalities seems to shape many Christians into a far less pleasing image.
Some of these Calvinist ministries have been plagued with scandals of a sexual nature in recent days. I can’t say this surprises me. I strongly suspect it is because they are expressions of the TULIP cult. When Christianity is reduced to talking, singing, arguing, and teaching about the “doctrines of grace” and their manifold ramifications, their spiritual well is bound to run dry pretty quickly. This is simply because the TULIP cult is not the time-tested, historic Christian religion. It is no different from the Prosperity Gospel movement, although it operates on different theological principles. In both cases, you have a movement which derives its theological center from something other than Christ crucified. The Christian religion starts at Calvary and works outward from there. The Prosperity Gospel works outward from the principle of material blessing in response to human faithfulness (at best a sub-theme developed in parts of the Bible). And the TULIP cult works outward from the principles of the doctrines of grace, though not as cautiously expressed in Scripture, but as dogmatically expressed in the highly fallible writings and sermons of men who have attempted to popularize Reformed theology for the masses.
The Spirit of God is not going to be present and operative in the promotion of TULIP as the essence of the Christian religion, any more than He would ever participate in promoting the empty “gospel” of the prosperity message. Where the Spirit of God is not present, you will only find the doctrines and myths of men, and where people are being fed on such a diet of spiritual junk food, it should not shock us to see all manner of spiritual diseases and dysfunctions. It is particularly dangerous when the pious-sounding doctrines of universal human depravity, and Christ’s perfect active and passive obedience on our behalf, are distorted by unstable and untaught men, so that the gravity of sin and the necessary obligations of Christian holiness are minimized. No wonder people begin to think that it is normal for Christians to use filthy speech, to adopt the world’s view of sexuality, and to engage in heinous sex crimes. (We’re all just wretched sinners after all!) But thank God for his unconditional grace, and that perfect, imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ! Let’s sing a few cool songs about that…. (What Is Wrong With the Young, Restless and Reformed Movement? An Interpretive Essay by Dr. Paul Owen)
In other words, Arminians are just stupid Christians who refuse to mature intellectually. Here is the quote:
Calvinism is the natural theology written on the heart of the new man in Christ, whereas Arminianism is an intellectual sin of infirmity, natural only in the sense in which all such sins are natural, even to the regenerate. Calvinistic thinking is the Christian being himself on the intellectual level; Arminian thinking is the Christian failing to be himself through the weakness of the flesh. Calvinism is what the Christian church has always held and taught when its mind has not been distracted by controversy and false traditions from attending to what Scripture actually says. (taken from: J.I. Packer and Arminianism)
Roger Olson rightly concludes, “So, to him, Arminianism is sin.” And we are told that Calvinism is supposed to promote humility in its adherents!? However, it seems to me, again and again, that Calvinism’s “natural” effect is to promote pride and smugness in those who come to embrace it. And of course, Packer’s last sentence is demonstrably Historically false (see here for several posts on the subject). What is truly sad and alarming is that this comes not from misguided internet Neo-Reformed types, but from a mainstream Calvinist scholar.
Someone named JW ignored the stated purpose of the X-Calvinist Corner page and wrote the following:
Congratulations to all ex-Calvinists. Now you have the right to go to hell. It’s a precious right so guard it with all of your hearts.
I am not sure what to make of it. Is this person suggesting that leaving Calvinism sends someone to hell? Does the comment suggest that only Calvinists are saved? If so, this is another disturbing example of the pride and intolerance of certain Calvinists towards any theology that wasn’t invented by John Calvin. It really turns sola fide into sola Calvinism. I wish I could say this is the minority view among Calvinists today, but I am really starting to wonder. It seems to typify where the Neo-Reformed movement has been heading for quite some time. Perhaps I have misunderstood. If so, I invite the author of this comment to explain.