I believe the comment of Larry (who probably one day will blog himself) on the discussion below needs to be displayed here because he gives a challenging critique of the fruits of Calvin's ideas.
Please note that I have Calvinistic friends whom I regard and give brotherly affection. I am featuring Larry's critique here not because I want to be quarrelsome, but because Larry was a former Calvinist himself, I think that counts for something. Then secondly, I am featuring this in the spirit of honest, respectful conversation or dialogue.
Here is what Larry said...
The interesting thing about Calvinism and America and the complaint regarding today’s evangelical church is that many Reformed complain about it, yet don’t really see that Calvinism is it’s root and this, even Pentecostalism is the logical extension of Calvin.Larry continues...
America is practically solely influenced by English Calvinism and all its derivatives, even the Baptist church can trace itself back to Calvin, even Wesley and Arminianism. All those came out of Calvin. The Puritans, staunch Calvinist, if you read them much over time, having thoroughly followed Calvin in disconnecting the Sacraments (look up their “half-way” covenant stuff) over time looked more and more inward and for the “process of conversion”, the ordo salutus. If you read even the highest end Puritans like Jonathan Edwards they spend much paper and ink ferreting out what is real conversion and what is not, I mean nearly everything they wrote…it was obsessive. Children were panicked about “am I elect” and such. A true story of a woman throwing her baby down a well killing it and saying, “Now I know I’m not elect, surely I will go to hell”. What is frightening about that is that she found comfort in knowing she was hell bound over NOT knowing IF she was elect. You see how true hell works, and this kind of terror among many in Calvinism, though not that drastic in doing what she did, is not too few at all. These kind of terrors over election are pretty part and parcel with Calvinist. Hell I nearly on numerous occasions wanted to commit suicide over it, and that is WELL outside of my normal personality – yet the terror is so great and the sacraments according to the Calvinist doctrine (Baptist OR Reformed) allows for no help whatsoever it drives men and women to utter despair. It is EXACTLY as Luther once said that the devil leads men to these great heights to break their necks and fall like he did.
So since the sacraments are unhinged and only signs and seals of a grace elsewhere given in the ordos salutus[sic] one MUST find where? After all what God fearer is going to sleep at night without knowing, “am I saved, elect, reborn”? What else in the entire universe is worth having if you don’t have that! And there, the inward journey begins, back INTO the heart and soul of the sinner to find “the spirit’s” work that “grace elsewhere given” but not in the sacraments. So it is no surprise that men like Wesley and Finney and others arose. It’s the logical progression of Calvin’s sacramental-less theology. And from Finney it is no small leap whatsoever to rank Pentecostalism, health and wealth theology, all sorts of theologies of glory. It starts with Calvin’s ever so seemingly slight error on the sacraments, just a half a degree off back in his time, but then 500 years later we have Finney, Wesley, Benny Hinn, etc… That’s what inward turning produces at length. When the “sacraments” only signify the grace ELSEWHERE given, that elsewhere becomes the search, “where is it”, that’s what the end product becomes. Hiding the Word of God, actual grace given in the water, bread and wine so that one’s theology in essences says, “Nope, God’s not here for you, elsewhere”, falsely send you on this hide and seek searching, “Then where is God’s salvation for me”, and so presto ‘theologies of glory’ of ALL sorts. Calvinist rail against Arminians, but the truth be known Arminians are their creation, their doctrinal children. If faith doesn’t come as a gift in the sacraments, and grace is conferred elsewhere, then these “ex-calvinist” become Arminian are simply try to put back into concrete something they can hold on to. So they move faith to “man’s decision”, it’s seemingly more concrete than Calvin’s vague ordos salutus.Dawn K, carries the thoughts of our conversation further in her musings.
Final point to where this all leads concerning American religion and its father Calvin. American’s Christian spectrum, in the widest sense is in a deplorable state. From liberalism to conservativism[sic] from Methodist, Baptist, Presby., Reformed, you name it – all the grandchildren of Calvin. America’s religion is now like and worse than Medieval Rome ever was. And we all consider the Papacy as thoroughly antichristic, but America is in a sense worse. It took the errors via Rome nearly 1500 years to produce a situation so bad that it took an evangelist like Luther to be used reform. Yet it has taken Calvin’s errors 500 year to manifest nearly the same level if not worse antichristic characters.
Just to let you know that my blog programming will be sparse in the days to come, I will be busy writing on my research etc. etc., blah blah blah. Or to quote Todd Bentley, the fake healer - bam, bam, bam.
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