Schism (4)

This is not a blanket-endorsement of Abraham Booth — just some nice quotes by him for me to springboard off of:

“For while they dare to affirm, that this gospel, so hateful to the sons of pride, exhibits the only way of a sinner’s access to his offended Sovereign; and that all who oppose it, and all who embrace its counterfeit, are left in the hands of divine justice without a Mediator; they are sure to be accounted persons of contracted minds, and very far from a liberal way of thinking. They are considered as the dupes of bigotry, and little better than the enemies of mankind” (Abraham Booth, The Reign of Grace).

The true gospel is extremely hateful to the sons of pride. Said sons are the Arminians and tolerant Calvinists. After reading a Biblically-based article such as Gospel Atonement, they would most likely account us as “persons of contracted minds,” “dupes of bigotry, and little better than the enemies of mankind.”

“He, indeed, who pretends to be a friend to revealed truth, but is cool and indifferent to its honour and interest; whose extensive charity is such, that he can allow those who widely differ from him in, the capital articles of the Christian faith, to be safe in their own way; may enjoy his peculiar sentiments without much fear of disturbance. But though such conduct maybe applauded, under a false notion of Christian candour, and of a catholic spirit; though it may be the way to maintain a friendly intercourse among multitudes whose leading sentiments are widely different; yet it will be deemed, by the God of truth as deserving no better name, than a joint opposition to the spirit and design of his gospel” (Abraham Booth, The Reign of Grace).

This quote describes tolerant Calvinists quite well. They pretend to be a friend of revealed truth, though I’m not sure I would say they are merely “cool and indifferent to its honour and interest” since many tolerant Calvinists are zealously interested and concerned in opposing its honor and interest. I grant that among tolerant Calvinists there may be those who instead of generating responsive heat, exude a “cool indifference” towards essential life-and-death matters of the gospel.

The cross of Jesus Christ is THE capital article of the Christian faith. The tolerant Calvinist allows those who count the word of the cross as foolishness (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18) to be safe in their own way by speaking to them “peace, peace” when there is no peace. The “charity” of the tolerant Calvinist is just as extensive as the false prophets’ “charity” in the days of Jeremiah (cf. Jeremiah 6:13-15).

Tolerant Calvinist attitudes vary as do their particular Calvinistic doctrines. It appears that the “higher” one goes in their Calvinism, the more vitriol they give to and receive from rabid Arminians. For example, Calvinists like John Owen, Augustus Toplady, and yes, even James White have used strong language against those Arminians whom they consider to be their spiritual brethren. Though, in the case of Toplady, while he did consider at least some Arminians to be truly regenerate it does appear that he did not consider John Wesley to be regenerate.

In contrast to the above, the tolerant Calvinists who would be considered by the haters of Truth to be more cordial, irenic, and charitable are Calvinists like John Newton, John Howe, Charles Simeon, and perhaps John Piper. Those who are actually closer to John Calvin in their theology are considered by the “higher” Calvinists to be more “moderate” Calvinists. Anyway, the Calvinists that are similar to Calvin in their theology (or perhaps even a bit “lower” than Calvin) are usually the most “friendly” with Arminians (e.g., those who believe that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception).

Despite the increasing popularity of James White in Calvinist circles, I surmise that there are still a good amount of Calvinists that wish he were a “Piper Calvinist.” One could also say a Newton Calvinist or a Simeon Calvinist. That is, they would criticize White for his strong language towards his spiritual brethren. Of course, neither James White nor those who would admonish him to be more of Piper’s spirit in his dealing with Arminians are true Christians and they are certainly NOT valiant for the truth of the power of Christ’s cross (the Greek is “dunamis” in 1 Corinthians 1:18) as an essential gospel doctrine. I say all this in order to demonstrate that on their own terms, many tolerant Calvinists and Arminians are engaging in divisive bickering and causing sinful schism – the very opposite of what the Scriptures say believers are supposed to be doing. I did say “on their own terms” since the Biblical reality is that these tolerant Calvinists and Arminians are nothing but bickering brothers in Satan, causing schism in their respective Synagogues (cf. Revelation 2:9).

The false tolerant Calvinist notion of Christian candour and a catholic spirit seeks unity at the expense of essential gospel truth. They would attempt to “admonish” us with this notion which is the very antithesis of true Christian unity spoken of in the Scriptures. The unity of which the tolerant Calvinists speak is the unity of the spirit of antichrist, the spirit who seeks to put itself in the place of Jesus Christ as what makes the difference between salvation and damnation.