Fain feign

“And yet hypocrites would fain, by means of tortuous windings, make a show of being near to God at the very time they are fleeing from him. For while the whole life ought to be one perpetual course of obedience, they rebel without fear in almost all their actions, and seek to appease him with a few paltry sacrifices; while they ought to serve him with integrity of heart and holiness of life, they endeavour to procure his favour by means of frivolous devices and punctilios of no value. Nay, they take greater license in their grovelling indulgences, because they imagine that they can fulfil their duty to him by preposterous expiations; in short, while their confidence ought to have been fixed upon him, they put him aside, and rest in themselves or the creatures” (John Calvin, Institutes, 1.4.4).

Many who call themselves Christian (e.g., Calvinists and Arminians) set forth all kinds of examples of feigning nearness to God while fleeing from Him in reality. The Godhood of God is an obvious one where we witness the “tortuous windings” of many a Calvinist as he attempts to explain how God is in control of everything without actually controlling everything. The Arminian view of God’s sovereignty (aka “The Godhood of God”) is probably less ridiculous than the Calvinist view since it is more heretically consistent.

Our focus on the absolute sovereignty of God is due to its necessary implications for the gospel of Jesus Christ. We could also speak of our focus on the elementary doctrine of God as Creator (A true Creator is really in control of that which He creates!) The most salient instances of false reilgionists masquerading as true Christians—that is, feigning nearness while fleeing from Him—is seen in the tolerant Calvinists. They make a show of believing in the true Christ until their marvelous transformation is made manifest by telling us which “christ” was revealed to them upon regeneration. The “christ” that is revealed to the tolerant Calvinist as an immediate fruit of regeneration is NOT the Christ whom the apostles preached (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:6, 11:4). Of course, this also reveals to us which “gospel” they believe is the power of God unto salvation to everyone believing. For if every newly regenerate person (i.e., “babe in Christ”) does not believe the gospel, then something other than the gospel must be the power of God to salvation.

These tolerant Calvinists think that a newly regenerate person is ignorant of the righteousness of God (Romans 10:1-4). What the apostle Paul calls ignorant zeal, they call “childlike faith.” They think that “childlike faith” includes ignorance of the only ground of acceptance before God. Specifically, I am talking about the tolerant Calvinist view that a true Christian starts out his Christian life believing Jesus died for every sinner without exception. This view has Christ establishing an everlasting righteousness for everyone without exception and yet multitudes perish notwithstanding. And so in this view, the sinner has to establish his own righteousness lest he perish along with the others. The righteousness (or effort) that makes the difference between salvation and damnation is the righteousness that is being established for that person. In the case of those who believe that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception, the righteousness that is being established is clearly their own (Romans 10:3). Honesty and consistency would compel the tolerant Calvinists to charge the apostle Paul with advocating “doctrinal perfectionism” in Romans 10:1-4