The Doctrine of Reprobation, The Damnable Doctrine of John Calvin

Those, therefore, whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children…When Paul declares that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), he certainly shows that no regard is had to our own worth;.[1]
John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Did God make a choice before the foundation of the world that particular individuals are to be saved or reprobated based only on the whim of God?  Are there no conditions for salvation such as belief in Christ?  Are men condemned to eternal damnation without any hope of salvation?  John Calvin links his concept of reprobation to Ephesians 1:4:

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
καθως εξελεξατο ημας εν αυτω προ καταβολης κοσμου ειναι ημας αγιους και αμωμους κατενωπιον αυτου εν αγαπη

There are several presuppositions and a conclusion which are necessary to support this reprehensible doctrine of reprobation.
1) Each individual exists in the eternal now before the foundation of the world,
2) that God choses these individuals before the foundation of the world to predestine each person for salvation and faith,
3) that without being chosen a person has no chance to be saved and is by default reprobating all other individuals to eternal damnation.
Therefore, God must hate all those whom he reprobates.

If anyone should doubt Calvin’s conclusion we have his own words.

This I concede, but it does not affect the doctrine which I maintain, that the reprobate are hateful to God, and that with perfect justice, since those destitute of his Spirit cannot produce any thing that does not deserve cursing.[2]
John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The concept of eternal now has already been addressed see “The Eternal Now of Augustine and Calvin, Will the Real God Step Forward June 30, 2014 by craigfisher.”  In short the concept is ridiculous and the result of a Platonic world view.  God does not exist outside of time and there is no eternal hell in which all mankind relives every shame and torture in history.

This doctrine of double predestination, some to eternal life and the rest of humanity to eternal damnation, is based on Calvin’s personal obsession of unmerited grace.  Unmerited grace means a person cannot or may not do anything, neither by works nor faith, that represents merit before God. The correct doctrine is unearned grace.  Man cannot earn his salvation (Rom 4:1-5) with his works.

Romans 4:4-5
Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

Clearly faith is different than works.  If a person could work for his salvation, then God would be obligated to pay His debt.  In contrast faith is the pass into righteousness.  Righteousness is the badge of their salvation.  Grace is not unmerited, grace is unearned.

One definition of merit is something to be praised.  In Hebrews 11 each person is said to be worthy of praise because of his faith.

Hebrews 11:1-15
11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval…By faith Abel…By faith Enoch…By faith Noah.. By faith Abraham…By faith even Sarah…All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth…Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

These person earned merit or favor with God by their faith.  They were not robots unable to do anything other than the programmed suggestions from God.  They exercised some control over their faith and earned praise or merit from God.

According to Calvin, not only does God pass over any hope of most of the world for  salvation he is even pleased to do so. (for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them)  This is an insult both to God and to the reader.  The implication is that anyone opposing this view is denying God one of his pleasures. The insult to God is that he is pleased to damn people. According to 1 Tim 2:4 God desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  The Scriptures deny that God is pleased to reprobate any man to eternal damnation.

When Paul declares that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), he certainly shows that no regard is had to our own worth;[3]
John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Calvin or his translator cleverly puts the “in Christ” after the verb implying the verb chosen is being modified. In the Greek the “in Christ (Him)” modifies the pronoun “us”.

Ephesians 1:4
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
καθως εξελεξατο ημας εν αυτω προ καταβολης κοσμου ειναι ημας αγιους και αμωμους κατενωπιον αυτου εν αγαπη

What is the object of the verb “chose?”  The object is the pronoun “us” but the “us” is modified by the phrase “in him.”  God is choosing the persons who are already in Christ for something.  The something is in the infinite; “to be holy and blameless.”  Those who are already in Christ are chosen to be holy and blameless.

How does one get to be “in Christ?”  From the context a person becomes “in Christ” by believing first.  How can the chosen in Christ be predestined before the foundation of the world when there are no persons to believe?  This is corporate election.  Paul is outlining God’s plan for the body of Christ.  Those in Christ will be predestined to be holy and blameless.  The predestination of the group was predestined before the foundation of the world.   All those who would be in the group is not known until the end times.

Ephesians 1:13
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
εν ω και υμεις ακουσαντες τον λογον της αληθειας το ευαγγελιον της σωτηριας υμων εν ω και πιστευσαντες εσφραγισθητε τω πνευματι της επαγγελιας τω αγιω

What Calvin wants to do is to translated  verse 4 as God chose from the world a group of people to be saved.  For this construction to work the words after “should be” would be the phrase “in Him.”  This would be the infinitive of purpose.  He chose us from the world for the purpose of being in him.

John Calvin has this wrong.  We were not chosen before the foundation of the world to salvation. Those in Christ were chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless.  As will be seen in a later post, this is a corporate election.  There was a group of people chosen from the beginning to be holy and blameless.  Election to this group would not be made until each individual exercised his faith.  John Calvin often proclaims God has no regard to our own worth.  Actually God has great regard for the worth of the whole world and each individual.  For God so loved the world that he offered up his greatest possession, his Son Jesus Christ.  The offer was “whoever believes in him has eternal life.”  The offer expires when a person dies and is no longer part of the world.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,[a] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

1 Timothy 2:4
 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

[1] John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion,, trans. Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1845) p. 573, (3,23,1)
[2] John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion,, trans. Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1845) p. 606, (3,24,17)
[3] John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion,, trans. Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1845) p. 573, (3,22,1)

 

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