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Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Circularity of Calvinist Teachings on Assurance.

This from Arminian Perspectives blog:

"So for Calvin and Piper, confidence of perseverance is tied up in being regenerate, and it is not at all clear how one can be sure she is regenerate unless she perseveres (to the end) in the faith (a problem of circularity that effectively kills assurance). So the bigger problem for Piper is that he cannot be sure that he will wake up every morning as a believer because his faith may, in fact, be spurious. The only way that he can have confidence that his bedtime faith is not spurious and that he will wake up each morning as a [true] believer is if he in fact wakes up each morning as a [true] believer. So he can have no real confidence at all that he will wake up tomorrow morning, or any other morning, as a believer. In short, he is guilty of wishful thinking and nothing more. Again, the main problem for Piper is how he can know that he is even going to bed a true believer and not a deluded hypocrite. There is simply no way to be sure of this if Calvinism is true."

I entirely agree with this blogger. There is a great deal in Reformed theology that destroys any possibility of assurance of your own right standing with God. You cannot make perseverance in faith a condition for assurance of your own salvation, since there is no way for you to know whether you will in fact keep on believing twenty years from now. You cannot make the cross a basis for assurance, since Christ only died for the elect, only God knows who the elect are, and you might be a deluded victim of what Calvin called "false faith" -- a false, non-saving faith that so closely mimics real faith that it is impossible for the person himself to tell them apart. The effect of Reformed doctrine in this area is to promote mystical and moral subjectivism -- I must be one of the elect because I had an experience, and because I am acting good today.

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