f The Wittenberg Door: Does Predestination Equal Fatalism?

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Does Predestination Equal Fatalism?


Calvinism, whether it is 5 point or 4 or some derivative; it all leads to fatalism if followed through honestly.

This comment, left on a post, Was John Calvin a Murderer, reveals a typical charge against Calvinism: Predestination = fatalism. Responding to that claim is a fine post over at The Aristophrenium. Here’s how it begins:

One of the most common accusation that is hurled by Arminians and other non-Calvinists against Reformed theology is that it promotes fatalism. It is not uncommon to hear an Arminian charge that we teach that God “hinders people from coming to repentance when they really want to” and that believers are “forced to love God.” Of course, nobody who actually knows what the doctrines of grace entail would actually make such statements. The Bible is clear enough on how people become saved: Men are by nature sinful and in rebellion against God (Genesis 6:5, 8:21, Psalm 51:5, Jeremiah 17:9), and are rendered incapable of even desiring to come to Him because of this inclination (John 6:44, 65, Romans 3:10-12, 8:5-8), which is why it is necessary for Him to change their hearts and minds (Ezekiel 36:25-27). It is only after this change of heart takes places that a person becomes willing to come to Christ.

That being said, statements such as “whosoever will may come” are totally compatible with a Reformed understanding of salvation. In fact, John Calvin himself made a statement similar to this in his commentaries. He writes:

“Therefore, forasmuch as no man is excluded from calling upon God, the gate of salvation is set open unto all men; neither is there any other thing which keepeth us back from entering in, save only our own unbelief. I speak of all unto whom God doth make himself manifest by the gospel. But like as those which call upon the name of the Lord are sure of salvation, so we must think that, without the same, we are thrice miserable and undone. And when as our salvation is placed in calling upon God, there is nothing in the mean season taken from faith, forasmuch as this invocation is grounded on faith alone.”

You can read the entire post here.

--The Catechizer

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