The Calvinist “gospel” is Not Good News

 

My response:

“Forgive my directness – but what Paul Washer presents here is NOT the Gospel – the “Good News of Great Joy”!

Compare the content of his “gospel” to that of the apostle Paul. The apostle does NOT begin with “you see the whole problem really comes back to the nature of God. God is just – God is holy God cannot violate his attributes – he cannot do something that contradicts himself”

He (Washer) fails (somewhat predictably with Calvinists) to mention that God also cannot contradict the supreme and motivating attribute of God: Love! And God (as Love) does not just love “holiness” (which does not simply = justice and righteousness, but also relenting from doing to us what we justly deserve – cf.*Hosea 11:9* ) –

HE LOVES SINNERS!
I beg you – do not let the offensive (well, to Calvinist scribes and pharisees) force of these words fail to strike you to your depths:
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…. if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5)

Why do Calvinists forget God’s sovereignty here? God has acted unilaterally to love and forgive us BEFORE we repent and believe!

THIS is the essence of the Gospel! It is a wondrous “indicative” before it is an “imperative”!

Again – the essence of the Apostolic Gospel: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5) – and from this GOOD News flows the imperative: “Now, be ye reconciled”!

I close with another example of Apostolic preaching of the Gospel: Acts 17 – There Paul the apostle declares to his sinful, pagan audience their filial relationship to God – and His nearness to each one of us! “we are all His offspring – He is not far from any of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being”….. YES – He has set a day wherein we shall be judged by “the man” Jesus Christ – but that has folded within it the Good News that God has united Himself with the Human race – and we shall be judged by the one who has entered into solidarity with us – who can empathize with us in our weakness and frailty. I am SO glad I shall be judged by the One who lived and died – and was raised for me (and you) – To the praise of His Glorious Grace!”

4 thoughts on “The Calvinist “gospel” is Not Good News

  1. Hi, Wayne! Good stuff. I would contend the primary characteristic of God is not his love, but his glory. His love is beautiful and does motivate all that God does, but his glory is who He is at the center. All things are from him, and to him, and for his glory.

    Calvinist, in terms, is generally unhelpful in 2019. Mostly because it there are 5000 meanings (what people think it means). While I would certainly consider myself reformed in my soteriology, I am bible, gospel, God-centered in my understanding on how God rules his universe. It may, at times, feel unloving, but if his primary motivation is his glory (not our centrality), then his glory is, indeed, the most loving. Just my two cents.

    Thanks for your heart to make Jesus look as good as he really is!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jon!
      Please- I really don’t intend to be contentious – and really I do appreciate you engaging me on this…
      But- I must say, in my experience I’m not sure anyone I’ve encountered has argued that God’s primary “characteristic” (attribute? essence?) is His Glory. Intuitively to me, Glory, is the outshining of God’s Being/Essence- which in its divine “simplicity” is not divisible from His essential nature as Love – through and through. (It is significant to me that Calvin never quotes the “God is love” passage in the entirety if his “Institutes”).
      The Gospel IS “man centered” in the sense that humanity and all creation is it’s focus – but it redounds ONLY to the praise of His Glorious Grace!
      Glory is a derivative reality- it comes *from* something…
      I love the truth that emerges from Moses encounter with God: Show me your Glory! God’s reply: I will cause all my GOODNESS to pass in front of you…
      But “goodness” can get swallowed up by “glory” if, for example, God predestines (by positive or passive decree) some (from or before their involuntary existence) to eternal torment “for His own glory”…. There is no conceivable way this can be called Love or Goodness – apart from an equivocity that destroys all semblance of meaning.
      I’m pretty sure you know that I was in the “Reformed” camp for c. 15+years – and graduated from RTS. None of that makes me an expert- but it gives me a “lived” perspective – and my heart remained restless until I could embrace the glorious truth of the all encompassing Love of God revealed in Jesus Christ, “the Savior of all mankind…”
      Thanks again, Jon. I promise not to troll your YouTube channel looking for every opportunity to get on my soapbox 😬
      I am grateful for the stability of your witness in the Tuscaloosa community- and your faithfulness as Vineyards pastor for these many years!
      Blessings!

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  2. Very good post. I was a Calvinist for some years before converting to Lutheranism, and while I admired and respected the Calvinists I knew, it became frustrating on a few counts.

    -Oftentimes, I would hear Calvinists who were no different than Arminians in telling me to look at the fruit of my life to know whether or not I was saved rather than looking to Christ.
    -Calvinism is not consistent on the sacraments. Calvin himself was not a Zwinglist, but I’ve meet Calvinists who don’t seem to care about the distinctives in sacramental theology (for example, a Calvinist Baptist is a Zwinglian, whereas Calvinist Presbyterians usually are not). And the differences always seemed to be swept under the rug.
    -Guys like Paul Washer and John MacArthur, in their zeal to combat Antinomianism and spiritual slothfulness, sometimes leaned almost to a legalistic degree on law preaching, and sometimes seemed to forget the gospel side of the Scriptures.
    -Oftentimes predestination/election seemed to be completely divorced from the gospel, whereas in Lutheranism our election is IN the gospel.

    There are good Calvinists out there who I am sure will be singing along with the rest of us on First Day of Eternity, but Calvinism at times seems too preoccupied with its own logic and reason, and forgets that God is not completely bound to our logical understanding of things laid out in the Bible (Trinity and Hypostatic Union, anyone?).

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    1. Thanks for your comments, J. Dean!
      Here’s an enlightening perspective from a Catholic brother (while I am not an RC myself, to be clear…)

      Be sure to listen to part 2 as well.
      Thanks again for giving us your perspective and experience- I very much agree. I’d love to hear your thoughts as a Lutheran if you find time to watch these…

      Liked by 1 person

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