"Soft" Calvinism

Is Calvinism taught in the Bible? Does man have free-will? Can a Christian apostatize? Discuss all related questions here.

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"Soft" Calvinism

Post by email » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:27 pm

Hello I enjoyed this article and it was well written. I have and had many questions concerning election and the origination of a lot of the definitions some give to scriptural terms like predestination (unconditional) etc. I could ramble about a lot of things but to narrow my thoughts down for right now I will paraphrase a general understanding of some Soft-Calvinists and then ask how would you compare this article's insight ,specifically about the Romans 9:22-23, to this general Calvinist understanding of what does it entail when they explain God preparing some vessels for destruction.

Through some personal studying and personal encounters with some friends that are 5 point Calvinists, I have learned that the Calvinist argument that was provided in the article, ("A Calvinistic Argument: Admittedly dreadful, God has chosen, designed, and prepared certain people for destruction. Their only purpose is to serve as objects of God's wrath...") may be considered from their point of view as hyper or high Calvinism. Reason being is because of their understanding on this specific topic. They believe that after Adam sinned all mankind inherited the sinful nature and of course are in sin because we do sin. They then say that since all are under sin, God, through His sovereign purpose chose some out of the bad bunch to save and just overlooked, or left the others to stay in their state of non-atoned sinfulness, therefore naturally reaping the wages of death.

Okay, under this similar but significantly different explanation, how would this article respond to it? I ask because the article, in my opinion, responded in a scriptural accurate manner towards the "hyper" Calvinist's understanding that God created/designed, certain people (vessels) to be made for Godly purposeful destruction, therefore in away making it seem as if God is responsible for their sins. I'm not sure how to apply the article, at least parts of it, to the understanding of the "Soft" Calvinist. The way they word it makes it seem as if God didn't make or design sin to enter into mankind but because He knew it would happen this was God's planned reaction.

Thanks for the article and ministry. Hope it makes sense to you and hope to hear from you soon.
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sinful nature or poor design?

Post by m273p15c » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:41 pm

Thanks for the encouragement and excellent questions!

I have heard this illustration too. It was presented to me as murderers on death row receiving a pardon. There is a response here:

http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... l#not_fair

However, that response may most directly address the "hyper-" or "high-" Calvinists as well.

It seems the "softer" Calvinists may temporarily dodge the issue by claiming that we inherited a sinful nature and not sin itself from Adam, but the final result is just the same. In such a theological view, Who designed the universe so that the child inherits the "sinful nature" or "unavoidable tendency to sin" of their parent? Would it not be God?

Even though the children may have not inherited the guilt of Adam's sin, they inherited the consequence of unavoidable sin through no fault of their own. God designed such a universe, and God is the Father of all souls (Hebrews 12:9; Ecclesiastes 12:7) born into such a hopeless state.

In the original, now "hyper-" Calvinism, God was 100% responsible for all things, including man's sin. This is an unavoidable, logical consequence of the doctrine. Consequently, some Calvinists prefer to dismiss logic, reason, and understanding, rather than reconcile their beliefs to Scripture (for example, discussions #1 and #2).

"Soft" Calvinist seem to recognize the burden of this dilemma and attempt to deal with it by shifting some of the blame from God to man, but they have only managed to shift a minute portion of the blame onto Adam. Adam chose to sin, but God chose for that sinful nature to flow down to all of his descendants, and God chose to bring people into such a universe without recourse. Therefore, God still bears the greater blame, because everybody who has ever lived - except Adam, Eve, and Jesus - first sin because of God's design and choice. Any depravity, guilt, and further consequence that follows is in irreconcilably dependent upon each person's first sin. (Who can say what would have happened, if they had been born innocent?) They cannot help to avoid the first sin and all following sins, because they are a direct result of the nature that God provided them before they were even conceived, much less responsible.

In essence, all the "soft" Calvinist manage to do is push their dilemma away for 1 additional round in a debate, nothing more. The logical consequences are still the same. Regardless of the decoration, if God is the Creator, and if the creature has no practical choice but to sin (whether by inherited depravity, original sin, or sinful nature), then the Creator is to blame for His choice, design, and creation. The "soft" Calvinist cannot avoid the blasphemous consequences of their view any more than the hyper-Calvinist. They merely postpone it for a time.

I pray you find this helpful. If it does not adequately address your concern, please let me know, and I'll do the best I can to respond. :)

Thanks again for the encouragement and good questions.
May God help us to love truth sincerely and supremely (II Thessalonians 2:11-12)

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