Sunday, 7 June 2015

Calvinist memes

Not a meme. But funny.
I have seen some discussions on social media, though not participated in, that involve Calvinist memes. I am aware that the nature of memes limit nuance, and that some claims are intended for their rhetorical effect: they attempt to focus on the main issue and statements may be hyperbolic. Nevertheless, several are just plain false. And I am somewhat taken aback at the superficiality of some Calvinists as well as their arrogance. However what most struck me was that they seem to hold to a theology that the prophets, Jesus, and Paul castigated in the Jews. But to that shortly.

So a search for Calvinist memes (and Arminian memes) shows that a lot of time has been put into this. I wanted to deconstruct a few of them which will lead to where I wish to go.
Unregenerate people are dead in sin and cannot choose God, it requires God's sovereign mercy to give life.
The problem here is that the contrast is not dichotomous. Let's assume that "deadness" prevents men from choosing God. How does that relate to God saving us? God is surely able to vivify a dead sinner so that he is able to choose God, or not. Such vivification does not necessarily entail salvation which is what "life" here means. And why sovereign mercy?
God chose Abraham but you choose God.
That God chooses means that we can't? So choice is not a communicable attribute of God? I'll see your Calvinist philosophy and raise you Scripture.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
Scripture constantly tells us to choose righteousness and shun evil. God tells us why he chose Abraham. Abraham responded to God in faith. God is always looking for faith. We are to have faith Christ. Choose life and live.
Would a loving God pick and choose? What about Israel being the chosen ones of God.
And this is just the point where (some) Calvinists are close to following the Jews into damnable doctrine. The Jews thought that they were in because they were the chosen people. So God sent his prophets against the Israelites again and again. Jesus warned that the Ninevites would be entering the kingdom before the Jews who rejected him (Luk 11:32). Paul warns several times in Acts and in his letters, including in the very book that Calvinists so love—their favourite chapter even—that being part the chosen race does not get you into heaven (Rom 9:6,31). You couldn't rely on being an Israelite then and you can't rely on being a Calvinist now. God does save men, but what does he say? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Act 16:31). God's criterion is faith.

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