Books of a Fether

Books I've written or summarized, free to download, print, or just read online.

The Hunt/White Debate, Chap. 3, CALVINISM DENIED, by Dave Hunt

Opening argument for the Negative

Predictably, I agree with Hunt’s assessment of the goal of Calvinism, and that it must be false if the God of the Bible is love. And I think his questions about the Calvinist view of non-Calvinists are valid and deserve clear, unambiguous answers. Either salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone, or it is by pledging allegiance to the TULIP. Either non-Calvinists can be Christians, or they cannot. In my personal experience, some Calvinists would concede that I appear to be as saved as they do, but that no one can be sure until they die. But if, as Hunt quoted Piper and Gerstner as saying, no one can be a non-Calvinist Christian, then the answer is clear: they consider us lost.

The Anabaptist issue is one that I never hear Calvinists acknowledge, so I would agree with Hunt’s statement about Calvinists basically usurping the honor of having been the only Christian opposition to Rome. Resistance to Rome was not owned by Calvinists, their claims to the contrary notwithstanding. And my own research confirms Hunt’s claims about the early Reformers stating that infant baptism was absolutely necessary for anyone to be saved. As Hunt stated, rejection of this was one of the two reasons Calvin had Michael Servetus burned at the stake. And lest anyone fault Hunt for giving such attention to these things, they should remember that these same atrocities committed by Rome were the part of the alleged impetus for the Reformation in the first place.

I did not realize before reading this part of the debate that Calvin is the source of the teaching that water baptism is supposed to be the NT (New Testament) version of circumcision. As Hunt points out, not only is this idea completely absent from scripture, it could only apply to males. But Hunt does bring up a vital point: that anyone who claims to be a teacher of scripture must exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and not only knowledge of the scripture (see also 1 Cor. 13). The apostle Paul made it clear that leaders in the community of believers had to have the highest standards of conduct and love for people. And Hunt’s statement about the irony of Calvin’s sacramentalism is important as well.

Another point not typically admitted by Calvinists to non-Calvinists is the belief that the children of the elect are automatically saved. While this is the only consistent conclusion one can come to if also claiming inherited sin from unbelievers, neither is taught in scripture (see esp. Eze. 18). In the light of such basic errors, as well as lacking love for those who disagreed with him, how can Calvin be considered the great theologian many make him out to be?

Hunt ends this section with a return to the Augustinian roots of Calvin’s theological views. Even Piper admits (calling it a paradox), "one of the most esteemed fathers of the Roman Catholic Church ’gave us the Reformation’". Calvinists need to answer Hunt’s question: "What, then, of the boast that Calvinism is the Reformation?"

These two posts have still only been an introduction to the details of the debate. The next one begins detailed argumentation from each side.