We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Monday, June 21, 2021

Some Unbiblical Calvinist Ideas

Back in January 2010 I posted an article about my church experience (including my wife after marriage), and in 2015 I added a post-script "update" about how we left our most recent assembly after over a decade because they went market-driven. 

Well, I never got around to adding to that update, but that church we began going to in the fall of 2014 ended up with another problem; NOISE. While the teaching at our "new" church was solid, the music was sometimes "feel good" and the sound kept getting louder and louder. I complained about it to the "worship pastor" and he said he would do what he could but never did. SO I appealed to the teaching pastor (the "head" pastor, so to speak) and he said that wasn't his control. I was very disappointed with that response, as you can well imagine. I began wearing hearing aids in January 2019 and the sound volume really affected me (and apparently a lot of older people who would go into the hallway/entrance during the music). The live band didn't seem to care how their volume affected many people. So I told the pastor that we'd have to find somewhere else to worship.

Well, we had good friends who attended the local PCA church in our small town: 

1. One family had found it when they left the same church we had left in 2001 (due to the sin in the church not being addressed). 

2. Another family we had met back at our very first church in Iowa (December 1995-Summer 1996) had finally got fed up with that one getting more market-driven and seeker sensitive. 

3. The other very good friends, a couple, left the church we attended from 2002—he had been the music leader there before they decided to get a “rock and roll” leader— and bounced around to a few churches before finding this PCA. 

Now, none of us were Calvinists (#2 above became so), but this PCA had a very good pastor with good teachings and a caring heart. When the couple (#3 above) had a soiree in 2018 they invited their PCA pastor. Nice guy with a nice wife. I told the pastor that I didn't agree with Calvinism and he responded that a large number of the congregation didn't either but he wasn't bothered by that!  WOW. So in early 2019 we began attending the PCA church about 2 miles from home. 

It was very infrequently that the pastor had any specifically Calvinist teachings and when he did my wife and I (as well as others) just ignored it. But as a shepherd, we've not seen better. (Unfortunately, he and his wife moved to North Carolina last month to be near family and to take care of some health issues. So now we have an interim pastor while the search committee looks for a permanent one.) 

My readers have been apprised of my opinion that the primary Calvinist doctrines identified by the acronym TULIP are unbiblical. What I've never understood is that some of the best Christian apologists are Calvinists and yet they don't apply their apologetics to their own Calvinist teachings!

Anyway, you may have noticed over the past two years that I've had some short articles exposing some Calvinist errors; these were brought about by something that was raised in the church that particular week.

So for this post I'm going to show three other interesting/unbiblical teachings in Calvinism.

1. We normally have communion every week. However, when our pastor was on vacation if the substitute was not ordained we couldn't have communion. You see, you just can't have communion without an ordained pastor. I can't seem to find that rule in the Bible.

2. Our interim pastor had his first official day today, but he is not ordained in THIS presbytery so we didn't have Communion. He is ordained in his Georgia presbytery but that doesn't count. He now has to sit before the local presbytery to be ordained here, and until that happens we have no communion. This guy has some good education and has his doctorate but he can't carry his ordination with him. Can you see the apostles needing ordination as they traveled from country to country?!?

3. Now the big one for today. We very often cite parts of the Westminster Confession or Catechism as part of the liturgy. Normally it's just standard biblical doctrine but today's "Larger Catechism" question and answer led me to refuse to cite it. The Question (#123) asked what the 5th Commandment is and the answer was cited from the O.T. So far, so good. Then there was Question #124: To whom does father and mother refer in the fifth commandment?

Well, I thought it was pretty plain that it referred to father and mother, as does the citation of the Commandment in Ephesians 6:1-4. But not so with the Calvinist; they have an unbiblical idea as to whom this commandment refers. Let me cite the Catechism:

Father and mother refer not just to our parents" but to everyone who is older or more talented than we are, and specifically to those whom God has ordained to be over us in positions of authority, whether in our family, the church, or civil government. 

HUH?!?!? How do they read all this into a simple commandment about honoring one's parents?!?!

It gets even crazier. The next question (#125) asks: Why are those over us referred to as father and mother? 

The short answer is that they aren't!  But the answer given left me figuratively scratching my head in wonder:

The terms father and mother remind those in authority that, like fathers and mothers, they are responsible for and should act in a loving and tender way, appropriately reflecting their particular relationship, toward those under them; and those under them are also encouraged to accept their authority more willingly and cheerfully, as if they were their parents.  

Why is it that I can't find this meaning of father and mother in the Bible?

No, that's not the end of it. Q.126 asks: What is the general scope of the fifth commandment? 

I would respond that it is about honoring/obeying, etc, one's father and mother, but they have a different response, which you won't find even hinted at in Scripture:

In general, the fifth commandment outlines our obligations to others, depending upon our particular relationship to them, whether over, under, or equal to them.  

WRONG: it outlines only our obligation to parents.

The Catechism continues in this vein in regards to honor owed to those in authority over us and what kind of sins can be against them.

I agree that the N.T. outlines our duty to those in authority but you will find those duties in Romans 13:1-7 and 2 Peter 2:1-3.

I have the feeling that if I was to read the entire Catechism I'd find more unbiblical additions to what the Bible really says. This is a problem with so many mainline denominations as well as independent churches: they feel they have to add to God's Word to control their people! 

Be sure that what you are being taught aligns with Scripture or else ignore it.


Esther said...

Good information! It shows how subtle it is by just changing a few words that can alter the real meaning. If we aren't really thinking and just take things at face value.....well, that's where people get off balance!

Thank you for pointing these things out! ~God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn,

Wow, that's some wild reinterpretation of a very clear and straightforward verse. You said that was in the Larger Catechism? Unreal.

Also read your post about Mr. MMK. I wouldn't worry about him. His own desires are self-defeating. If he finds what he wants, a single born-again woman with a STEM degree, he would quickly find that she wouldn't agree with him. If she applied her faith and her critical thinking skills to the matter of origins of life, she would correctly be a young earth creationist. LOL!