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Calvinism's Corruptions
In mitigation
of the following observations, all human endeavour is partial and therefore prone to error. For this very reason, any reformation of Christianity is always only a beginning in a continuing spiritual restoration of Christ's Church to His direct lordship through the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, when any particular spiritual renewal becomes established as normative in its own eyes, it will invariably corrupt itself. This In humility needs to be a continuing awareness in all church leadership everywhere.
The strength of Calvinism, as with Lutheranism and other smaller reforming groups, was its attempt to restore the Bible to its rightful place as the determinator of Christian doctrine. In its own time it was a great step forward. But, as closer examination shows, the damaging effect of its presuppositions, created at a much earlier date than the papal abuses against which much of its reforming work was aimed, has passed on a legacy that today continues to mislead the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As a leader in the second phase of the West European Reformation of Christianity, John Calvin (Jean Chauvin, 1509-64) provided a powerful influence. He broke from the Roman Catholic Church about 1533, and from about 1541 his theological teaching began to spread from Geneva, Switzerland, where he had established a strict theocratic regime with a central control through excommunication by the civil authorities.
He was the best-read of the Reformers and his work, a commentary on Seneca's De Clementia, is markedly élitist in tone and approving of the Stoic doctrine of predestined fate (Johnson, p.287). From Luther's rediscovery of Augustinian predestination, Calvin went to its logical conclusion with a double predestination; of the elect and of the damned.
Calvinism's false presuppositions and doctrinal errors are perhaps better exposed in the way it deals with particular scriptures, such as the following:

An Example  
A typical
example is Calvinism's faulty exegesis of Romans 9:11-13. This Scripture itself says, concerning the birth of Isaac's twin sons:
"... though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad –
in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of His call –
[Rebecca] was told, 'The older will serve the younger.' As it is written, 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'"
Calvinistic interpretation is that this proves that God's election to eternal personal salvation is a sovereign act pre-existing even our existence, not a product of personal faith (that being regarded simply as a consequence of election and so a symptom of it) and necessarily so in order for our salvation to be a pure work of unmerited grace. It sounds so good, and is so false!
What this interpretation fails to tell us is that the context of this passage, and more especially the context of its two quotes from the Old Testament, should lead us to a totally different meaning.
The context of this passage (Romans chapters 9 to 11) is not about personal salvation. It is about God's choice (election) of Israel as a nation, in spite of their unbelief throughout history.
It shows us that a believing remnant in Israel continued as the spiritual essence of its national identity throughout this history. Therefore, although, as far as the Christian gospel is concerned –
Israel are collectively the enemies of God (they crucified Christ, to our benefit); yet,
as far as God's election is concerned, they are beloved of God (for the sake of their believing ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
Hence God's election of Israel was not a mistake, for out of it has come salvation to the Gentiles!
This passage climaxes with a peon of praise to God for His great wisdom (not His grace).
"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! ...
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the Glory forever. Amen"
Romans 11:33,36.
And even more contradictory to the Calvinistic interpretation, are the Old Testament contexts from which the above two quotes in this Romans passage are taken, which Paul's first readers would have well understood.
Concerning – 'The older will serve the younger' quote of Genesis 25:23, the Bible passage says:
"And the Lord said to her,
'Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older (Esau) shall serve the younger (Jacob)."
•  Two 'nations', not two individuals, is the subject of this scripture!  
The 'older' individual (Esau) never ever served the younger (Jacob). But the nation of Esau (Edom) did serve Jacob (Israel), in the days of David and Solomon. This would be obvious to the sincere exegete who respects the integrity of Scripture more than the logic of his own doctrinal system.
This has nothing to do with personal salvation, but that it has everything to do with God's sovereign choice of which nation He uses in history for which purpose.
Again, concerning the 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated' quoted from Malachi 1:2,3 – the Bible passage actually says:
"'I have loved you (Israel) ,'says the Lord.
But you say, 'How have you loved us?'
'Is not Esau Jacob's brother?' declares the Lord.
'Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated.
I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.'"
Where were these two children of Isaac at the time of Malachi's prophecy?
Does this really sound like twins of the same parents, of which one is chosen to be saved and the other simply deservedly condemned because everyone is born sinful? Of course not!
Surely the Bible is to be treated with the respect it deserves! This Calvinistic way of handling the word of God is an insult to the very fabric of God's revelation to us!
This misuse of holy Scripture also illustrates the twin areas of error in Calvinistic thinking; namely –
God's conduct, and Israel's place.
Calvinism's corruptions in general may be grouped into these two areas –
The nature of God and His behaviour, and
The place of Israel in history and prophecy.

The Nature of God  
In this regard, the influence of Augustine, and through him the neoplatonic theology of Plotinus, and to a lesser effect anthropology of Manichaeism, has had a profound effect on Calvinism. As a consequence, the metaphysical attributes of God have been taught in ways that directly, and by implication, contradict the teachings of Holy Scripture even though they often have the appearance of glorifying God as being the unchanging ultimate mind.
The logical outcome of this is the determinist doctrine of double-predestination (espoused by Augustine and Calvin). In the modern political climate the embarrassing second part of this predestination (of the damned) has generally been discarded.
The simplest example of Calvin's neoplatonic view of God's attributes is his so-called 'extra calvinisticum'. Although not accepted by most Calvinists today, it illustrates the intrinsic implications of the Calvinistic view.
In this view, the deity of Jesus is the product of the sum of his divine attributes. In other words, if Jesus was divine, and omnipresence is a basic attribute of divinity, then Jesus has always been omnipresent! For instance, Jesus was in Heaven at the same time as He was hanging on the Cross on earth.
This directly reduces Christ's spiritual horror on the Cross, expressed in His cry of alienation ("My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?") to a charade that merely represented His frail humanity received from Mary. That is, it was only the human part of Him that was separated from the Father. This schizophrenic Christ is certainly not the Christ of the Christian Bible.

Place of Israel
In Calvinism, the Bible's clear distinction is hopelessly confused –
God's relationship to the nation Israel; with,
God's relationship to His redeemed people of all nations;
to the extent that the term Israel is used virtually as a synonym for the Church of Jesus Christ.
Replacement Theology
It is true that the Apostle Paul used the expression Israel of God for the Christian Church (Gal.6:16). But the metaphorical use of a term does not take the place of its literal historical basis.
For instance, Reformed scholar Anthony Hoekema describes "all Israel" (Rom.11:26) as –
"the sum total of all the [believing] remnants throughout history" (1978:145),
in direct violation of its context. In other words, all that will be saved will be saved. This says nothing!
In contrast, its own context explains this to mean that God will remove ungodliness "from Jacob"! (Rom.11:26).
Hoekema's reformed exegesis simply fails, at a fundamental level, to distinguish between
the election of the individual to personal salvation; and,
the election of the nation to special privilege/opportunity and consequent responsibility.
A distinction which Paul had specifically explained earlier in his letter to the Romans.
The Apostle Paul's words "to the Jew first" (Rom.2:10) are not God's partiality in personal salvation, but God's strategy in history!
From Hoekema's Reformed perspective however, he interprets the term 'elect' (regardless of the context) as always meaning those elect to personal salvation. Whereas, Paul writes of the Jews –
"As regards the gospel – they are enemies of God, for your sake; but,
as regards election – they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers"
Romans 11:28 RSV.
These are not saved Jews (the total of the believing remnant of all the ages) but the Jewish "enemies of God" who are yet still-nationally-elect, for the sake of their believing ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Typically as a Calvinist, Hoekema fails to take into account the great discontinuity contained in Christ's statement to the spiritual leaders of the Israel nation –
"the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a nation producing the fruits of it"
The Church of Jesus is not simply an elect Israel freed from nationality. It is a new creation!
Jesus said that it is the "sons of the kingdom" (its natural inheritors through Abraham) that shall be cast into outer darkness (Matt.8:12). The "kingdom" was taken away from the nation of Israel as a consequence of Christ's first coming.
The whole impact of Paul's teaching in Romans 11:12 is also that it is the same nation who crucified Christ and so gave a Saviour to the world, that will eventually be saved and so (by Christ's return) bring "greater riches" than this salvation, even "life from the dead", i.e. the resurrection.
"But if their transgression means riches for the world,
and their loss means riches for the Gentiles,
how much greater riches will their fullness bring!"
Romans 11:12 NIV.
Reformed theology fails to take into account this great continuity between the Israel who rejected Jesus and the Israel whose future "fulness" of salvation will bring "much greater riches" to the world (the resurrection). Not seeing this continuity, continues to bedevil Reformed exegesis.
Christ came to "His own" (elect nation, not elect remnant for salvation), and "His own received Him not". Yet, the Bible teaches that for the sake of their great patriarchs, their nation will be restored to Him when the "until" time of the Gentiles – the completed evangelistic mandate – is finally fulfilled as Jesus had prophesied (Matt.24:14; Rom.11:25).
Generally, the Calvinistic scheme of eschatology has no place for a future spiritually restored national-covenant-Israel of Abraham's physical descendants. All promises to them are simply regarded as having been already fulfilled or else being purely figurative of God's plan for His Church out of all nations and ages. An exegetical travesty!

may have been tolerable in a Christianity emerging from the spiritual captivity of Papal domination, is just no longer good enough to a Church with open access to God's precious Word. Yet, Calvin's reliance on his view of the Bible through the lens of his Augustinian presuppositions is tragically illustrated in his own words –
"The Bible teaches us that there are witches and that they must be slain...  this law of God is a universal law".
(Johnson 1976, p.309).
Thus Presbyterian Scotland burned many more 'witches' than Anglican England (about 49 per year in Scotland 1590-1680, compared to about only 5 per year in England 1542-1736) – except for 1645 AD, when the Calvinistic Presbyterians were in power in England.
•  Wherever Calvinism ruled, 'witches' were systematically hunted down.  
Calvin's theology has since those days been massaged into a more civilized form.
Unpopular Double Predestination has been dropped. No longer are the magistrates an arm of its ideology. It has become more oriented toward the devotional life and its civic duties. But as history has irrefutably shown, as with both Catholicism and Lutheranism, where social control is again achieved – persecution of dissidents/non-conformists surely follows.
The Church–State
Calvinism needs to be left to the era in which it was born, in order for the living Church of Jesus to move ahead into a more truthful understanding of its glorious heritage in Christ in this present world.

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