Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Why You Should Read This Book" Section of "The God of Calvinism"

Moving on in our review of Louis Ruggiero's "The God of Calvinism," we come to a prefatory section entitled, "Why You Should Read This Book" (pp. IX-XI). Part of this section also appears as the reverse cover material.

The section starts out by alleging that Calvinism "maligns God's character," but then goes on to malign the character of Calvinists, suggesting that Calvinism will "leave you simply a dead husk built of theory, academic argument, and self-righteousness, held together by the glue of pride in and dependence on one's own understanding." This malevolent characterization of Calvinists is then illustrated by alleging that Calvinism has a deleterious effect on evangelism and preaching.

It is falsely alleged, for example, that if a Calvinist were asked by someone, "What must I do to be saved," the Calvinist would not tell him, "Repent of your sins and trust in Christ." Yet, I can testify that I have told people this, and I know many other Calvinists who have as well.

A.W. Pink, one of the Calvinists cited in Mr. Ruggiero's book wrote: "Christ merited and obtained the reconciliation of both sides, yet God is not reconciled to us nor are we to Him until we repent and believe. " (The Doctrine of Reconciliation: Conclusion)

James White, another one of the Calvinists cited in Mr. Ruggiero's book wrote: "Hence, I can freely and properly proclaim the duty to repent and believe to all, knowing that those who do so will be those God has drawn to Himself." (David Allen's False Accusation)

R.C. Sproul, another Calvinist cited in Mr. Ruggiero's book wrote: "
The requirement for entrance into the kingdom of God is to repent and believe in Christ." (Now That's A Good Question)

John Piper (also cited with respect to the Calvinist position in Mr. Ruggiero's book) wrote: "This means that in times of relativism (like our own), when people do not cherish objective, unchanging truth, followers of Jesus will be accused of arrogance. They will proclaim that Jesus has all authority -- because it is true -- and that everyone should repent and believe in him and become his disciple." (What Jesus Demands From the World)

And we could go on and on. Mr.
Ruggiero's accusations against Calvinists simply aren't true. In fact Calvinists have read the Bible and are willing to follow the example of Paul who told the Philippian jailer that he must repent and believe, when the jailer asked what he ought to do to be saved.

Mr. Ruggiero also makes another curious accusation. He claims that Reformed theology "rejects the power of the gospel in that it teaches that a person cannot accept it unless they are born again first." What a strange accusation. How is the gospel's power any greater under Mr. Ruggiero's system in which a person can accept the gospel without being born again? It appears that Mr. Ruggiero's system of thought might make man more powerful, but how does it make the gospel more powerful? It's not clear.

Moreover Scripture clearly teaches:

Romans 8:7-8
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
And again:

John 3:3-8
Jesus answered and said unto him, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus saith unto him, "How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"
Jesus answered, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, 'Ye must be born again.' The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. "
And further:

John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

So, I must respectfully say that it seems Mr. Ruggiero's assertion is hollow. Scripture does not ascribe to everyone the ability to please God, but indeed Scripture makes it quite apparent that in order to see the kingdom of God, one must be born again.

Mr. Ruggiero concludes the section by suggesting that the ultimate measure of any doctrine is this:
No -- a doctrine's truth is fully proven only if its adherents are seen to clearly demonstrate, in their lives and in their character and in their relationships with those around them, the sweet, joyful, abiding love of Christ.
Actually, a doctrine's truth is proven from Scripture, not from the behavior of its adherents. Imagine making a claim like that about a doctrine like "the existence of God," or "the doctrine of the Trinity." Surely, Mr. Ruggiero would not make such a claim in that situation, since he knows that there are many people who claim to hold to such a view and yet who do not exhibit the love of God in their lives.

None of this, of course, should lead one to suppose that I think that love for our neighbor (and especially the brethren) is unimportant. It is vitally important. If you do not love your brother whom you see, how can you say you love God who you do not see? (Sorry my idolatrous readers, you too cannot see God).

Nevertheless, the proof a doctrine is not the personality or holiness of its adherents. Proof of doctrine is determined by the one measure of doctrine, Holy Scriptures, as Mr. Ruggiero himself seems to admit in his "Introduction" section, which we will address next time, if the Lord wills.

-TurretinFan

14 comments:

Ryan said...

"No -- a doctrine's truth is fully proven only if its adherents are seen to clearly demonstrate, in their lives and in their character and in their relationships with those around them, the sweet, joyful, abiding love of Christ."

Ugh. I have a feeling I'm going to be wincing more than a few times throughout this series.

Jon Cardwell said...

As always, dear brother, your articles are direct and a delight, as edifying for the body and thought provoking for all.

with love in Christ,
Turretinfan fan

Mike Erich the Mad Theologian said...

I always find it ironic when people say Calvinism is based on reason rather than Scripture. When Calvinism is based on the clear Scriptural statement that God chooses and this is usually rejected by Arminians on the grounds this does not make sense to them based on their human reasoning.

Coram Deo said...

TF,

Full disclosure - I've not read the book - but given the commentary in the posts you've provided thus far it appears that you're dealing with stock [debunked], credulous Arminian arguments against the doctrines of grace.

Presumably you're simply dealing with what's being offered, but I wanted to pause and ask - why are you even giving this book "air time" on your blog?

Of course it's your blog, and your time, but it seems like the material is treading upon rather well-worn ground, and thus it seems to me that your blog space and talents might be better used dealing with a more worthy opponent and/or line of argumentation.

Maybe more substantial arguments are set forth later in the tome?

In Him,
CD

Turretinfan said...

CD:

I'm not aware of any other books that attempt to answer "The Potter's Freedom."

-TurretinFan

Coram Deo said...

I'm not aware of any other books that attempt to answer "The Potter's Freedom."

-TurretinFan


I believe Dave Hunt's "What Love is This? Calvinism's Misrepresentation of God" cites copiously from "The Potter's Freedom", although it may not attempt to answer it, per se.

In Christ,
CD

natamllc said...

I am being edified and sharpened by this exercise TF, so I am praying to Our God that He would continue to direct you down this line of reasoning in reviewing this book according to His Will!

Oh, how selfish of me!

I make no apologies so don't think you are going to get anywhere with that! :)

I would put over even more basic and elementary verses to the ones you put over with regards to being born again, here:

Joh 1:9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.
Joh 1:11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
Joh 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
Joh 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.


Just by reading your review I am convinced the man does not have the Light enough to really address John Calvin, his teachings, True Calvinists because his fruit is not the Spirit's fruit that He produced through John Calvin and men like him of that era; and men such as yourself, who truly are born again according to the Will of God, not man, and who the Spirit produces the same fruit through, also.

I am also convinced, without the Spirit, one would only come away with the same confusion it seems Mr. Ruggiero has about John Calvin or any one of those more contemporary men cited in this particular article and review; Piper, White, Pink or Sproul.

I am hopeful and convinced that God, just as He did to Saul of Tarsus, will do the same with Mr. Ruggiero as well.

Until then, if then, we are to stay vigilant and sober-minded marking such men as he and staying humble in doing so, as the Apostle Peter exhorts:

1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
1Pe 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1Pe 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1Pe 5:9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
1Pe 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
1Pe 5:11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.


Whatever dominion He expresses through you or me or anyone He so expresses His dominion through is just icing on the cake so to speak, if you know what I mean?

I also encourage you TurretinFan in your work herein; and I am sure you will agree, I am more of a Fan of Christ than thee? :)

LouisRuggiero said...

Turretinfan,

Louis Ruggiero here. I'm assuming that, since this is your blogspot, you're mostly preaching to the choir. Not a problem.

I find it rather odd how the Reformed apologists out there are so hesitant in engaging me in a public debate on the issues. I wonder why? Are that many of you in denial?

I'm sure that you're aware by now that I spoke to your boss James White on the Dividing Line late last month. Can you believe the guy hung up on me in the middle of our discussion.

By the way, here's a link to my youtube video response regarding that phone call and the topic that we were discussing. It might not be a bad idea if you passed it on to James. I think he'll find it quite interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yb7CTtmsMY

As you criticize my book...remember, I'll defend everything that I've written in a public forum with either White, Sproul, Piper, Morey or anyone else you can find who is qualified.

If you wish to contact me via e-mail, I can be reached at LRUGGIER@twcny.rr.com.

Sincerely,
Louis Ruggiero

aztexan said...

James White Spanks Dave Hunt

The Great Calvinistic Conspiracy

These and lots more interaction with Hunt and Geisler can be found here.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ruggiero's accusations against Calvinists simply aren't true. In fact Calvinists have read the Bible and are willing to follow the example of Paul who told the Philippian jailer that he must repent and believe, when the jailer asked what he ought to do to be saved.
-----------------------------------
mlculwell: You actually pick and choose based on a misguided gleaning from the epistles where folks already believed repented and were baptized in Jesus name (Not baptismal regeneration) and filled with the spirit according to scriptures..... I don't think so(example of Paul really?) the same hour the Jailer was baptized. You are nowhere near scriptual adherence. You must believe on Him the way the scriptures teach.

In Acts 2:37 the same question was asked in which Peter famously replied for the first time to tell men what they should do to be saved. true belief included , repentance,baptism in Jesus name, and being filled with the spirit of God.(Acts 2:38)

-----------------------------------


Mr. Ruggiero also makes another curious accusation. He claims that Reformed theology "rejects the power of the gospel in that it teaches that a person cannot accept it unless they are born again first." What a strange accusation.
-----------------------------------
That is your false doctrine. Deny that?

You do reject the power of the gospel, because the underlying belief in my opinion, is that man could somehow overthrow God if he did not in fact make you a believer first, it is a strange belief that supposedly gives God sovereignty that he somehow does not have otherwise. Total nonsense, it actually makes God appear weak that man could somehow overthrow God.

-----------------------------------

How is the gospel's power any greater under Mr. Ruggiero's system in which a person can accept the gospel without being born again?
-----------------------------------
For the reason I just stated. God can make man with a free will and still be in control that makes God more powerful. Calvinism makes God weak and little. We are simply his play things.
----------------------------------
It appears that Mr. Ruggiero's system of thought might make man more powerful, but how does it make the gospel more powerful? It's not clear.
-----------------------------------Calvinism is very strange indeed and a very twisted view point. it is a cult that has been around for a Long time that tries to claim Orthodox Christianity.

You can call yourself what ever you lack But god will have the final word as he is the sovereign Almighty God.


Manuel

Turretinfan said...

Manuel:

You're not even a Trinitarian, and you want to accuse us of not being orthodox?

LOL

-TurretinFan

Anonymous said...

Yes TF, find the place In scripture that tells me to be a "trinitarain"? Other than you creeds that are on the same level as the book of Mormon.

To be Orthodox you must Line up with scripture not popular thought anybody can do that.

Manuel

Turretinfan said...

Matthew 28:19, Manuel.

Anonymous said...

Matthew 28:19? Wonderful Good passage TF, But it does not tell anybody to be a trinitarain.It is Oneness all the way, You misunderstand that passage like you do most of the scriptures.


You are good guy TF, Of all the trinity folk, you are my favorite and I actually Like ya..... I wish and pray we were brothers in the Lord.

Manuel