Saturday, December 05, 2009

Arminius' Supposed Impact on Calvinism

Dan (aka GodIsMyJudge) has provided a post alleging another impact of Arminius on Calvinism (link to his post). The first part of his post I'll pass over, since I feel my previous post (link to my previous post) has adequately addressed that issue.

However, Dan states:
TF notes well the WCF is open to supra, but WCF is also open to unlimited atonement. It was written such that both 5 point Calvinists and 4 pointers would be satisfied. TF himself has noted Arminius' influence on Amyraldianism. So that's another way in which Arminius impacted Calvinism.
No, the WCF is not open to unlimited atonement. The WCF states:
To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same; making intercession for them, and revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation; effectually persuading them by his Spirit to believe and obey; and governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit; overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.
- Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 8, Paragraph 8

Similarly, the Westminster Larger Catechism explains:
Q. 59. Who are made partakers of redemption through Christ?

A. Redemption is certainly applied, and effectually communicated, to all those for whom Christ hath purchased it; who are in time by the Holy Ghost enabled to believe in Christ according to the gospel.
- Westminster Larger Catechism, Question/Answer 59

So, no. While Arminius may have been an influence on Amyraut and the school of Saumur, the Amyraldian position is excluded by the Westminster Confession of Faith.

-TurretinFan

16 comments:

natamllc said...

Of the many holes in the doctrines put forth by James Arminius, to this claim in the WCF, I would address my comments:

WCF: "....making intercession for them,....".


It can be said that "it doesn't get any better than this" to have God Himself speak directly to your heart and soul. Next, it would have to be the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Incarnate historically.

Through this narrow window I would look to see something that I believe the WCF intended that I haven't received, as yet, one Arminian address in a way that "sets my soul free".

It is this about Christ's intercession:::>

Joh 17:9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

This is the first distinct claim of it, is it not, that Christ did not come to die for all sinners?

I would take it further then to the very next verse to make or underscore the distinction being made, there as well as at John 3:16 and more to the point, at 1 John 3:16:::>

Joh 17:10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

Because of the limits on characters, I will submit this and go to the next distinction.

natamllc said...

The next distinction comes from these verses:::>

Joh 12:28 Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven: "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."
Joh 12:29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him."
Joh 12:30 Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not mine.
Joh 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.
Joh 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."
Joh 12:33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

and

Luk 11:21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe;
Luk 11:22 but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil.
Luk 11:23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

and

Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
Col 2:14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Col 2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

To sum it up, the devil is the strong man. Jesus and "His" Church by One Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is the "Stronger" one.

What does the Stronger one do?

He attacks the strong man and "takes his armor away from him".

We must realize that Satan is a naked soldier.

What is this armor that Christ strips off Satan so that Satan cannot use it to attack His Church to defeat Them?

It is the Law of Righteousness.

Now Satan is naked. Our warfare is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers of spiritual wickedness in heavenly places.

In the Colossian verses, Paul uses this Greek Word in verse 15, despoiled or disarmed:

ἀπεκδύομαι
apekduomai
ap-ek-doo'-om-ahee
Middle voice from G575 and G1562; to divest wholly oneself, or (for oneself) despoil: - put off, spoil.

Jesus taught in Matthew that the "goats" are those who perish with Satan and his angels in the lake of fire:::>

Mat 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Goats are those who are not given His Faith to believe He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Savior of the World He died for.

I would go further next:::>

Godismyjudge said...

Baxter and his boys were cool with it. They held Christ died for the elect in a special way and were happy that the Westminster Assembly didn't exclude their possition.

That 4 and 5 point Calvinists dissagree on the interpretation of the WCF is not the Arminian's problem.

God be with you,
Dan

Godismyjudge said...

subscribing.

Turretinfan said...

I don't recall Baxter claiming he was confessional.

That said, if you claim that the WCF is inclusive of an unlimited atonement view, it becomes your problem when the document doesn't support your claim.

There will always (in a sufficiently large group) be outliers who claim that they are included, no matter how unreasonable that claim is.

ChaferDTS said...

" That said, if you claim that the WCF is inclusive of an unlimited atonement view, it becomes your problem when the document doesn't support your claim. "

I would say for sure it excludes at the very least the Arminian brand of unlimited atonement. As far as other brands of unlimited atonement that may be held by four point Calvinist that may be debated. It is an intresting discussion. And makes me want to review that subject in The Works Of Benjamin B. Wafield Volume VI THE WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY AND ITS WORK in chapter II The Making Of The Westminster Confession, And Esecially Of Its Chapter oOn The Decree Of God. God bless you for the work that you do for Christ. :)

Godismyjudge said...

TF, behold, exhibit A.

ChaferDTS, What differences to seen between 4-point Calvinism and Arminianism, with respect to the nature or extent of the atonement.

God be with you,
Dan

Turretinfan said...

Warfield describes a difference in the order of decrees between Arminians and Amyraldians, which is what I suspect ChaferDTS is referring to.

-TurretinFan

Godismyjudge said...

TF,

Good point! No doubt 4-point Calvinism and Arminians disagree on areas other than the nature or extent of the atonement.

God be with you,
Dan

Turretinfan said...

Well, the decrees are connected with the nature and extent of the atonement. Have you seen Warfield's chart on the subject?

Godismyjudge said...

TF,

Yes. How about if I asked, are the nature and extent of the atonement, simpliciter, the same in 4-point Calvinism as they are in Arminianism?

God be with you,
Dan

Turretinfan said...

I guess it depends what you mean by "simpliciter."

Generally, Amyraldians and Arminians are willing to say, "Jesus died for each and every human being," whereas Calvinists generally are not willing to say that.

Does that address your question?

-TurretinFan

Godismyjudge said...

Partially. My understanding is that 4-point C's claim that Christ died for the elect in a special, particular way. It's this idea that I think could (but perhaps doesn't) yield some difference between 4-point C's and Arminians with respect to the nature or extent of the atonement. But I would like to understand this special way in which Christ died for the elect a little better.

God be with you,
Dan

Turretinfan said...

"Partially. My understanding is that 4-point C's claim that Christ died for the elect in a special, particular way. It's this idea that I think could (but perhaps doesn't) yield some difference between 4-point C's and Arminians with respect to the nature or extent of the atonement. But I would like to understand this special way in which Christ died for the elect a little better."

One of the problems in making the comparison is that it is difficult to find "official" positions for Amyraldianism (since it typically tries to call itself Calvinism) and it is also hard to decide which Arminian view is "official" as well (simply because of the variety of different Arminian views).

If you'd like, you could state what you view as the Arminian view of the relation of Christ's death is to mankind considered as mankind generally, and mankind as considered as final believers or final unbelievers, and we could compare that with the Amyraldian view as described by typical Calvinist presentations of Amyraldianism.

Godismyjudge said...

Arminians generally distingish between the provision of Christ's death for all mankind and the application of Christ's blood to the believer. Thus all mankind is savable, due to Christ's death and could have His blood applied to them. Further, God desires all men to believe and be saved. But since some people don't believe, Christ's blood isn't applied to them. As a corrilary, not everyone Christ died for ends up being saved. While the application of Christ's blood effectually saves, Christ's death alone does not. Christ's death was volitary and an act of mercy as is the Father's accepting Christ's offering. Hence they may stipulate any condition they want to the application of the benifits; and they chose faith as the condision of recieving the benifits.

In short, with respect to the provision, there's not really a difference. All are savable and God wants all to believe and be saved.

As for the variety of views, I I find Calvinists to have some variety as well; 4-point C being a prominent example, but eternal justiciation being a significant variation as well.

God be with you,
Dan

Dr. Raymond A. Blacketer said...

I cannot imagine any sense in which the confession can be interpreted to allow universal redemption. I tend to doubt that Amyraut was significantly influenced by Arminius, and he was repeatedly absolved of heresy (contra Brian Armstrong) by a number of French synods, which nonetheless rebuked him for his imprecise language, while most Reformed thinkers still considered him in error, if not heresy. Amyraut still limited the "atonement," to use the English word that the continentals did not use, but in a rather convoluted manner, falsely but probably sincerely claiming Calvin's support. Richard Muller has written about this recently in "A Tale of Two Wills," Calvin Theol. Journal 44 (2009): 211-225. Turretin's defense of definite atonement is probably the most impressive of the 17th century.