Thursday, 24 October 2013

calvinismdebate

David Cloud
THE CALVINISM DEBATE - WHO IS THE ENEMY?

David Cloud's sermon on the same analysed. What David Cloud did tell us - and what he should have told us, but didn't. 


David Cloud must love this sermon, lasting 1 hour and 50 minutes, which he preached in Australia. After inviting us to hear him preach online, his homepage, describes this sermon as "Hot." According to Mr Cloud, it was banned from Sermon Audio, so Mr Cloud originally decided to put it up himself on his own site.  [Note: Sermon Audio have since hosted either this (or a similar sermon) which can be found here.] 

 THE 'HOT' SERMON:

Starts off by reading Revelation 22:17 and then gives very brief explanation of the T.U.L.I.P. acronym. Declares his pleasure in being asked to preach on this subject. Believes it to be crucial that Baptists face these issues.

2:47 Declares that John Calvin has caused great and unnecessary divisions among God's people and that few things have hindered Biblical evangelism more than Calvinism. Claims that it almost killed of the Baptist churches of the 18th and early 19th century. It is worth noting that Spurgeon considered that it was the Doctrines of Grace that saved the same churches that Cloud claims it nearly wrecked. I quote: "We have gone back to the old school, we can trace our descent from the Apostles. It is that vein of free grace running through the sermonising of Baptists, which has saved us as a denomination. Were it not for that, we should not stand where we are." (Volume 1:312) Again, he wrote, "Calvinism is the Conservatism of Christianity" (9:299) I reject Cloud's view and run with Spurgeon on this issue.

3:24 Tries to demonstrate how William Carey who had a burden for souls and was interested in world missions etc., was opposed by the Calvinists, quoting the famous case where John Ryland Senior opposed him, by saying that if it pleased God to save the heathen, then God would do it without their help. Cloud doesn't bother telling his listeners that Carey was a 5 point Calvinist, as were the men who went out with him. [We develope this matter here] Cloud reminds me of a lawyer whose sole job it is to build a case and secure a verdict. Anything that ultimately stands in the way of such a verdict  is withheld, even if it would throw a better and more accurate light on the subject. Personally, I despise this kind of thing which Cloud engages in and I hope and pray that in my criticisms of any people or their doctrines, I never descend into it.

4:56
Moves unto Spurgeon who was "not well received by the Calvinists of his day." Cloud is purporting to use Iain Murray's book, which he describes as excellent and interesting, "Spurgeon versus  Hyper Calvinism" However, Cloud does not use the term "Hyper Calvinism" but describes Spurgeon's opponents as "staunch and established" Calvinists. As he developes his theme, these turn out to be the readers of the "Earthen Vessel" whose 7,000 monthly purchasers, Murray tells us, where mainly Particular and Strict Baptists. However, Cloud seems to make them to be the Calvinistic body, and totally ignores the fact that many other Calvinists, for example the Scottish Presbyterians and Evangelical Anglicans (like Bishop Ryle)and others, including the Welsh (Whitefield) Methodists, fully supported Spurgeon. What is Cloud playing at? It is my impression that he wants to demonise all Calvinists, and so he picks his words carefully to promote that end. This book by Murray, which is so excellent and useful, is obviously not so excellent and useful when it identifies any Calvinist who opposes free, indiscriminate gospel preaching as "
Hyper Calvinists." If Cloud fought Hyper Calvinists and made the distinction which many, even of his own school of thought, are able to do, then this article and similar articles would not be written. However, Cloud goes further, and  sees the hyper Calvinists as the "consistent Calvinists" so immediately we are in a no-win situation. If we don't preach the gospel, then obviously we are wrong, but if we do, we are being inconsistent.

6:50
Expressed his belief that Calvinists who do evangelise, do so despite their Calvinism, not because of it, but does admit, if only in a mere terse, sentence tagged on at the end of this part of the introduction, that there are some Calvinist soul winners. Again, Spurgeon would have disagreed with Cloud here. Spurgeon said: "Now, nothing will make a man work like sound Calvinistic theology. Tell a mart he is saved by grace, and relieved of the work of saving himself, and he will set about trying to bring others to salvation; while if you give a man muddled views of doctrine, he is always troubling himself about that, and has no time and no heart to go abroad doing good." (Speech at Home and Abroad, p.53) Again, Spurgeon observed: "Perhaps you have read about us poor Calvinists, what a wretched, miserable sect we are, how we are always trying to keep salvation to ourselves, and how we believe that only a very few will ever be saved! Put all that down among the lies that our enemies tell about us; it is not true, and it never was true, for there are no people under heaven who are more anxious that all men should be saved than are we who believe that, nevertheless, the Lord has a people whom he will save. Our hearts, we trust, are full of love to men, despite all that is said about us." (43:587)

 
7:08 Claims that Calvinism is an "unsettled theology" because its adherents modify it accordingly. If this is true of Calvinism, then it is true of nearly every other non fundamental doctrine in Evangelical Christendom. There are all kinds of Dispensationalists and all kinds of folk who use only the KJV etc. But it all helps paint thevery negative picture that Cloud wants to portray.

8:10 Claims that Calvin was unsound in the very foundation of the Christian faith and never gave testimony of the new birth, always identifying with his infant baptism. Is this true? No, it 's not. Calvin speaks of the circumstances of his conversion in the preface to his commentary on the Psalms, He records:

"When I was as yet a very little boy, my father had destined me for the study of theology. But afterwards when he considered that the legal profession commonly raised those who followed it to wealth this prospect induced him suddenly to change his purpose. Thus it came to pass, that I was withdrawn from the study of philosophy, and was put to the study of law. To this pursuit I endeavored faithfully to apply myself in obedience to the will of my father; but God, by the secret guidance of his providence, at length gave a different direction to my course. And first, since I was too obstinately devoted to the superstitions of Popery to be easily extricated from so profound an abyss of mire, God by a sudden conversion subdued and brought my mind to a teachable frame, which was more hardened in such matters than might have been expected from one at my early period of life Having thus received some taste and knowledge of true godliness I was immediately inflamed with so intense a desire to make progress therein, that although I did not altogether leave off other studies, I yet pursued them with less ardor. I was quite surprised to find that before a year had elapsed, all who had any desire after purer doctrine were continually coming to me to learn, although I myself was as yet but a mere novice and tyro." 


Calvin expounds the doctrine of regeneration in those places in the New Testament where it mentioned, and subsequently finds himself quoted in many of the Evangelical commentators and theologians (both Calvinist and non Calvinist) who Cloud (when it suits him) quotes as stalwarts of the faith.

Let's take Cloud the whole way with what he is saying. Words are not cheap. They must have a value if they are to mean anything at all. If Cloud really believed what he is saying here about Calvin, then surely he must regard him as one of those who have embraced "another gospel" (Galatians 1:8) Furthermore, he really must stop admiring, as he sometimes does, those Calvinists (and non Calvinists) who regard Calvin as a true brother in Jesus Christ. If what Cloud is saying is true, then Calvin was no better than Mother Theresa and if we, as Fundamentalists, refuse to fellowship with those who regard MT as a true believer in Christ and believe her to be in heaven, then (by the same standard) Cloud should not have anything to do with those who think the exact same about Calvin. Spurgeon, whom Cloud regards with some respect, not only thought that Calvin was a Christian, but (under God) eulogised him as follows: "…that mighty servant of God, John Calvin, whom I honour, not as teaching these doctrines himself, but as one through whom God spoke, and one who, next to the apostle Paul, propounded truth more clearly than any other man that ever breathed, knew more of Scripture, and explained it more clearly…That man of God expounds the doctrines in so excellent and admirable a manner, that we cannot too much bless the Lord who sent him, or too much pray that others like him may be honest and sincere in the work of the Lord."(10:384) If Cloud is going to blacken Calvin on this issue of the new birth, then he must, at least to be consistent, blacken Spurgeon also and completely disassociate and warn his people about any man who gives Calvin any kind of endorsement whatsoever. We must query why he condemns the preachers of other gospels who helped translate some of the modern versions, but not the Calvin admirers and defenders who translated his beloved KJV or who have been hailed as men of God for defending it.  Is Cloud willing to follow it all through? Or are his words mere foam at the end of it all? I develope this thought a little more here.

9:29 Accuses Calvin of being vicious towards his enemies, dragging up Calvin's strong language and those who were tortured and killed in Geneva. I have nothing to say in defence of any of Calvin's wrongdoing at this time. I don't believe in whitewashing sin at all, but do let me say this: I believe that there is much fathered on Calvin of which he is not guilty. Calvin did not run Geneva single handed. Cloud claims that Servetus was an Anabaptist but that "he had some serious doctrinal problems" and "denied the Deity of Christ in some ways." He also claims that Calvin thought that burning was too good for Servetus, but are we not told elsewhere that Calvin did not want him burned, but (if he was to be out to death) at least  in a less cruel matter? Boettner records:

"Dr. Emilé Doumergue, the author of Jean Calvin, which is beyond comparison the most exhaustive and authoritative work ever published on Calvin, has the following to say about the death of Servetus: "Calvin had Servetus arrested when he came to Geneva, and appeared as his accuser. He wanted him to be condemned to death, but not to death by burning. On August 20, 1553, Calvin wrote to Farel: 'I hope that Servetus will be condemned to death, but I desire that he should be spared the cruelty of the punishment' - he means that of fire. Farel replied to him on September 8th: 'I do not greatly approve that tenderness of heart,' and he goes on to warn him to be careful that 'in wishing that the cruelty of the punishment of Servetus be mitigated, thou art acting as a friend towards a man who is thy greatest enemy. But I pray thee to conduct thyself in such a manner that, in future, no one will have the boldness to publish such doctrines, and to give trouble with impunity for so long a time as this man has done.'

"Calvin did not, on this account, modify his own opinion, but he could not make it prevail. On October 26th he wrote again to Farel: 'Tomorrow Servetus will be led out to execution. We have done our best to change the kind of death, but in vain. I shall tell thee when we meet why we had no success.' (Opera, XIV, pp. 590, 613-657).


Furthermore, J.H. Merle D’Aubigne's in his "History Of The Reformation In The Time Of Calvin" tells us that Calvin had expressed the desire to win Servetus to Christ. I quote:


 "Calvin resolved to accept Servetus’s invitation. These two young men, born in the same year, gifted each of them with marvelous genius, unshakable in their convictions, are about to enter the lists. What blows they will deal each other! What a struggle! Which will come off conqueror? If Luther, Zwingli, and Bucer are so animated, what will Calvin be? He was the one who showed the most moderate sentiments with regard to Servetus. Alas! why did he not continue so to the last? ‘ I will do all in my power to cure Servetus,’ he said. ‘If I show myself in public, I know that I expose my life; but I will spare no pains to bring him to such sentiments, that all pious men may be able to take him affectionately by the hand.’ (Vol 3:95)

11:54 Lastly by way of introduction: You don't have to be a follower of Calvin or Arminius. We agree 100% as it stands. Cloud here is trying to take high moral ground, as if Calvinists and Arminians are content to follow a man. Surely, he must know that we only follow Calvin (or Armininius) inasmuch as they have followed Christ. We don't always agree with him. In fact, I am willing to follow David Cloud! But only inasmuch as he follows Christ. If Cloud leads me into the truth of God, well, I'll stand by him and defend his teaching on that point. But if he departs from His word, and he does, especially in many of the views he expresses here, then I refuse to follow him at all, and must (in love) point out his errors, since he attacks the things I hold to be the very truth of God.

13:30 Declares the heart of his message to be a 8 fold exposure of the errors of Calvinism.

13:40 First Supposed Error: CALVINISM TURNS THEOLOGY INTO PHILOSOPHY


This is based on the fact that Calvin had studied philosophy while training for the RC priesthood. Yet we know that Calvin had got his fill of such stuff, because in his comments on he asks; "What  else was the scholastic theology than a huge chaos of empty and useless speculations?" (Argument of 1 Timothy) Cloud dislikes Calvin's Institutes, finds it very complicated and accuses it of trying to systematise the mysteries of God. Cloud says: "All we can do is simply believe what the Bible says" This is a trite statement, which Cloud repeats a number of times in this sermon. It is certainly true, as it stands, but it is still trite. Every last religionist who, at least in theory, accepts the Bible as the word of God (and we can put all the major cults in here) can say that.  I simply believe the Bible teaches a definite atonement, which achieves everything it set out to achieve, with no failure whatsoever, for a definite number of people i.e. God's elect. Cloud doesn't. Without leaving  Scripture, we have to dig deeper to see what the Bible is saying. That is what Calvin was doing. Calvin himself often spoke of the dangers of leaving the word of God. "There is no end of erring, when we depart from the word of God." (Comments on Acts 19:13)

14:27 Cloud invokes Spurgeon for support here, because Spurgeon spoke against those who only believed what they could reconcile. This gives the unwary listener the impression that Spurgeon denounced Calvin's Institutes because Calvin was supposedly guilty of this charge which Cloud is laying at his door. But again this is not so. Spurgeon was a firm admirer of Calvin's Institutes and wrote: "Young men are valuable when converted, for by God’s grace how much they may do while yet young. Do you know that John Calvin wrote his famous “Institutes” — a most wonderful production for thought if not for accuracy — before he was twenty-seven years of age? Though Martin Luther did a grand work after he was five-and-forty years old, it is something to say of Calvin, the clearer of the two, that he had commenced his work and wrought wonders when he was seven-and-twenty." (Sermons on Unusual Occasions p.97) Again, Spurgeon did not have Calvin in mind when he denounced the folk above, because he regarded Calvin as "an advanced pupil in the school of Christ" (7:722) and said of him, "A Calvinist I am, but John Calvin never taught immoral doctrine. A more consistent expositor of Scripture than that great reformer I believe never lived, but his doctrine is not the Hyper-calvinism of these modern times,but is as diametrically opposed to it as light to darkness. " (6:221) It is positively misleading to invoke Spurgeon to make his baseless allegation.

16:00 Cloud quotes various Scriptural warnings against philosophy and of turning away from the simplicity that is Christ. (Colossians 2:8/2 Corinthians 11:3 etc.,) He claims that heretics complicate things and he sees Calvinism as "extremely complicated" and developes this theme, quoting Dave Hunt's book favourably to insist that Calvinism is only for the intellectuals and not for ordinary people. Rubbishes James White for his use of various theological terms. However, Cloud must know that it is one thing to debate theology among mature Christians, but another thing to preach the gospel to the folks in the pews. I wonder how Cloud debates the deep things of God without using these or similar terms? Or is "I just believe the Bible!" the answer to every theological discussion? Cloud claims that Bible doctrine has a simplicity to it, but that doesn't mean that there is nothing complicated. He certainly keeps himself covered with that one. Spurgeon again would have disagreed entirely with Cloud, claiming that he learned his Calvinism from a poor, humble Christian woman. (I think she was actually the cook) "I also recollect a few gracious words that were spoken to me by a godly old woman, who used to read her Gospel Herald, and talk to me about the power of divine grace. I rejoiced to get a grip of the grand old Calvinistic doctrine, very much through half a dozen sentences that fell from the lips of that poor, humble, Christian woman, whom it was my great happiness to help, in later years, when she was in poverty. I felt that I owed so much to her that I must do anything I could to comfort her." (47:371-372) Again, Spurgeon claimed: "It is a fact that the system of doctrines called the Calvinistic, is so exceedingly simple and so readily learned, that as a system of Divinity it is more easily taught and more easily grasped by unlettered minds than any other. The poor have the Gospel preached to them in a style which assists their memories and commends itself to their judgments. It is a system which was practically acknowledged on high philosophic grounds by such no as Bacon, Leibnitz, and Newton, find yet it can charm the soul of a child and expand the intellect of a peasant." (7:556)

19:48 Second Supposed Error: CALVINISM TRIES TO RECONCILE THINGS THAT CANNOT BE RECONCILED IN THIS WORLD.


Turns us to Acts 13:48 where as many as were ordained to eternal life believed which he sees, after a manner of speaking, as "a Calvinist verse" In answering this, he drops back to v46 where men are unworthy of eternal life, not because they were not elect, but because they judged themselves by rejecting the word of God. This explanation is supposed to refute Calvinism, as if Calvinism believes that men have no active part in their condemnation. I wonder did Cloud even bother looking up Calvin on this verse? It is easily done. Calvin's commentaries are at their lowest price for years in 22 beautifully bound volumes, or even cheaper on CD with a great search engine or easily accessible free through the Internet.


Calvin commenting on this verse puts the blame entirely on Jewish unbelief. "For this may be the sense, Forasmuch as you have deprived yourselves of eternal life, there is no cause why ye should think that the grace of God is profaned, if, leaving you, we take care and charge of the Gentiles; for the Messiah is not given to you alone, but he is appointed to be the Savior of the whole world; as it is written, "I have made thee," etc...." Cloud here is refuting no one. He is making a little sand castle, plonking a little Calvinist flag on some crumbling turret and then kicking it over. Is it this that makes his sermon so hot?

22:10 Takes us to John 6:37 (a "favourite Calvinist verse") and then v40 to show that election is not completely unconnected to man's response.  Evidently Cloud does not follow the following theological formula i.e. Election leads to faith which leads to salvation. He claims that we cannot reconcile John 6:37 etc., and so we "just believe what the Bible says." There you go. The next time you see something in the Bible which you don't particularly like, then tell everyone you "just believe what the Bible says." It is a pity that a statement so grand and noble and right is being used in such a way. It actually debunks the statement of any real use.

24:00 Takes us then to John 6:44 about no man being able to come to Christ without being drawn and then goes in John 12:32 where God says that he will draw all men unto Himself. Evidently, Cloud believes that "all men" can only mean "all men without exception" and not "all men without distinction" However, he should sit some day with a concordance and read "all men without exception" into every  "all men" in the Bible and see how he gets on. Invokes Spurgeon again to show that  God's sovereignty and man's responsibility go hand in hand.  This is good, but apart from a few hyper Calvinists (whom Spurgeon had in mind as he speaks) every last Calvinist agrees 100%. The major Calvinistic Confessions teach it. Calvin taught it. This is one of the things that both Reformed and non Reformed Christians agree on. We may disagree about the details, but we do believe the same fundamental truth. I wonder why Cloud has introduced the matter here? Does he think that the vast majority of Calvinists deny man's responsibility? Does he think that the doctrine of man's inability (i.e. in and of himself to savingly repent and believe the gospel) is taken to believe that man is not responsible for what his sinful heart prevents him from doing? It is hard to come to any other conclusion, and if this is the case, then Cloud is building yet another sand castle.  He concludes this section again with his favourite phrase; "Our job is to believe the Bible" We do, Mr Cloud, we do and you haven't shown us any reason to believe other wise than what we do.

26:46 Third Supposed Error: CALVINISM  CONCLUSIONS ARE CONTRARY TO THE PLAIN TEACHING OF GOD'S WORD:


Cloud states as "a foundational Calvinist doctrine" that faith is a work. No, do not adjust your set. I'll repeat it again: Cloud states as "a foundational Calvinist doctrine" that faith is a work. Of course, he is wrong. Horribly wrong, and it is significant (a major failing in this sermon) that his references and quotes to what Calvinists believe are very few and far between, and certainly none here. Where are his Spurgeon quotes now? Why did Spurgeon not state this Cloud styled "foundational Calvinist doctrine"? Was Spurgeon not a Calvinist? Or why did Spurgeon not refute it, if other less informed Calvinists supposedly believed it? Did Calvin ever say that "faith was a work" or the main Calvinistic confessions? The Presbyterian and Calvinistic Westminister Confession Faith, which was taken in its basic sense by other denominations, has a whole section entitled "Saving Faith" Do we read it there? I have discussed Calvinism with many people over the years, both face to face, read many books and articles both in hard copies and online, perused many sites, both for and against Calvinism, and Cloud is the only man that I can recall ever having said such a thing. I have never come across a Calvinist arguing that it is so - strange for a foundational Calvinist doctrine or a non-Calvinist seeking to refute it. What is that telling you? Sand castle time again. The tide has gone out and the sand is there to be molded into whatever shape Cloud  fancies.

On what does Cloud base his statement? Although he does not say it, he is actually taking the Calvinist argument against his position that says that if we are saved because we are elect (and both sides agree that only the elect will eventually be saved) and that we are elect on the basis we were foreseen to have exercised faith, then faith in this case technically becomes a work. But that is an entirely different thing from saying that Calvinists believe - and that as a foundational doctrine - that faith is a work. Cloud has not grasped the argument in this case, and I sincerely hope that he doesn't try to mask his ignorance behind the "Calvinism is too complex so it can't be true." It would be very easy for us to balance up the argument and say that a lot of Cloud's supposed arguments are too dumb to be true either. From this gross misunderstanding, Cloud quotes Ephesians 2:8-9 to show that faith is not a work, but he is preaching to the Calvinistic choir on this one, since we already know this and have never said otherwise, except (as said) when we are seeking to expose the error of election by faith. He announces Romans 3:5, but finds it is not relevant and lets Ephesians 2:8-9 suffice. I hope Cloud enjoyed preaching this sermon, because it is starting to get tedious to listen to at this point.

30:50 The second example Cloud gives of Calvinism's conclusions being contrary to the plain teaching of the Bible is Irresistible Grace. Although in the introduction, he correctly (if briefly) defines this doctrine as the belief that when God has unconditionally elected you that He will irresistibly draw you (1:24) Cloud spends some time showing that from Cain right through to the end times people can resist the grace of God. But again, we must ask, "Why bother?" Calvinism also believes that men can resist the grace of God and they can resist the preceptive will of God also.  We read the same Bible as Cloud does and we watch the same television reports and read the same news in the newspapers. We see it all around us in our streets. There is nothing hot about this debate at all. Frankly, I'm starting to get bored. Cloud isn't causing me to rethink my position. I don't feel uncomfortable as I listen him. In parts of his sermon I agree with him because he is merely stating a common position held by both camps, although he thinks he is refuting our side of the fence. Elsewhere, he is inventing doctrines and fathering them on Calvinism but, for obvious reasons, he does not back them up with evidence. Is he thinking them up on the spot or is he reading from a preprepared script?  Ultimately, it doesn't really matter which if he is not doing what he claims to be doing i.e. refuting Calvinism.

35:25  He tries to parody the Calvinistic reading of 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 as reading that if our gospel be hid, then it is "hid to the elect" but even allowing for the parody, surely this should read then "the non elect" but even then, I'm left scratching my head wondering what he is trying to say. I have listened to this part a few times and I am still none the wiser. Complicated.

37:00 The third example Cloud gives of Calvinism's conclusions supposedly being at odds with Scripture is the doctrine of Limited Atonement. He quotes the favourite verses which emphasise "all" and "every man" etc., but he fails to do three things here:

1) Tell us why the "all" and "every man" and "world" must refer to every last sinner ever born, and cannot refer to "every man etc., without distinction." This is a serious point which Calvinists make and Cloud doesn't rise to meet it to any great degree. The only verse where he makes any kind of point in Isaiah 53:6 where the Lord lays on Christ the iniquity of us all. However, Cloud does here what he charges below the Calvinists with doing i.e. reading his theology into the verse.  He assumes that Isaiah is speaking for the whole human race without exception, as if the whole human race without exception are prepared to acknowledge their sinning before God. Spurgeon takes the text in a more scriptural fashion and says in his sermon on the text: "The verse opens with a confession of sin common to all the persons intended in the verse. The whole of the elect people of God seem to me to be here represented; they have all fallen, those of them who have lived to years of responsibility have all actually sinned, and therefore in common chorus they all say from the first who entered heaven to the last who shall enter there, “All we like sheep have gone astray.” (12:379) Overall, with Cloud, it seems that once the argument starts to dig beneath the surface a little, then it is starting to get too complicated to be true and so Cloud stops the train and gets off. This is shallow and Calvinists know it.

2) He doesn't tackle the Calvinist argument about Christ dying for the sins of men already in Hell when He was hanging on the Cross. We want to know how and why He could/would do that. It is another strong Calvinist argument which Cloud fails to address.

3) He fails to tell us where Christ took the sins of those who would eventually be in hell. Did He take them away? Where? Do they come back again? etc., I suspect that if we could debate Cloud face to face and ask these questions, he would just hide behind that old "Well, I just simply believe the Bible..." line and let that cover the gaping holes in his theology.

The choice here is between an atonement that actually atones for real Believers or a hypothetical atonement for hypothetical Believers. An atonement that can claim 100% success or an atonement that must confess failure every few seconds when an unbelieving soul dies and drops into Hell.  Calvinists have chosen to view the atonement as something solid and successful, Cloud and his school have gone for the lower view and so cast the stigma of failure upon the Cross.

44:33 Fourth Supposed Error: CALVINISM INTERPRETS SCRIPTURE BY THEOLOGY RATHER THAN BY CONTEXT:

Cloud accuses Calvinists of giving set terms to the Bible. Gives the example of "God's sovereignty" meaning that God's will cannot be resisted. Again, no references or examples from Calvinistic creeds or respected Calvinistic theologians or teachers. Cloud has spoken, and this is to be considered sufficient.  The problem here is that because Cloud rubbishes the Calvinistic distinction in the perceptive and decretive will of God  - it seems that anything that challenges the intellect cannot be of God in his view - he doesn't think he should mention it in relation to why Calvinists believe what they do. A more honest way to deal with the issue from Cloud's point of view would be like this:

"Although Calvinists claim that they are being Scriptural in making a distinction between God's preceptive will and decretive will, I think they are wrong. But you can at least see why they define God's sovereignty as meaning that God's decretive will cannot be resisted. Of course, they believe that his preceptive will can be and is resisted every single day. Why, every time someone sins, God's preceptive will is broken."

The trouble for Cloud with taking this more honest line is that it sounds very Scriptural. Every fundamental Bible believer of either school in this debate runs with that. I assume that even Cloud himself does not have God decreeing things and having them rejected and returned to sender (?) But Cloud isn't particularly interested here in having people understand that much of what Calvinists believe is Scriptural. Cloud's paint pallet for this picture of Calvinism has about 40 shades of black and so he just slaps on the thick tar like paint and doesn't give a toss whether it is true or not. If you the reader think that's OK, well that's up to you. I am aiming here at a different kind of reader i.e. the reader  who wants to get to the truth of the matter. Investigate these things further. See what Calvinists really believe. Go to Calvinists themselves and ask those awkward, probing questions. We don't think we have all the answers. There are difficult questions which we struggle to answer. Test our spirits and see if they really be of God. Reject all that does not measure up to Scripture. If at the end of it all, you are not happy with our interpretation, fair enough. But do not resort to the tactics Cloud resorts to here. I can respect a man who takes the other view. Many of my Christian friends do so. But I find it hard to respect a man who sets out to blacken people, attributing to them things they do not and would not believe. Is that to the glory of God?

45:34 Cloud says that Election is defined "as men having no choice." But do you really think that Calvinists have defined this deep doctrine in 5 simple words? Or, if you wish, can be reduced to 5 simple words? Cloud says that sovereign grace means that "man has no part in salvation." No Calvinist holds that and (as ever) by Cloud's total lack of any references is a strong indicator that this is not the case, even if he believes and propagates that it is. Calvinists believe that men must repent and believe the gospel to be saved. While we believe that the sovereign grace of God enables us to do so, yet it doesn't do it for us. God did not repent for me or believe for me. Think of it this way. Cloud admits above that there are some Calvinist soul winners. But why would there be any, if they believed that man has no part in salvation? What can he ask the sinner to do? He engages the attention of a listener - and even there, he requires the sinner at least to listen - and he tells him that men have sinned, that God sent His Son to die for guilty sinners so that they might know forgiveness of their sins, the new nature etc., Now what? Does he walk away and not mention faith or repentance, because (according  to Cloud) his views of sovereign grace prevent him from believing that the sinner can do something? Cloud is not being consistent here with himself, never mind with the truth.

46:00 Defines Total Depravity as meaning that "Man is so dead that he cannot even believe on Jesus Christ." Again, a little shortie definition which fails to do full justice. It would be more accurate to say that the sinner "cannot believe, in and of himself, on Jesus Christ" and indeed, go further (just in case someone in the audience might not grasp this and so be mislead (any preacher-with-a-conscience's nightmare) and say that they cannot believe in and of themselves because their own sin bound heart holds them back. Is that too intellectual for the folks in the pew? Not unless you are speaking to a pack of absolute dummies.

Cloud goes on to prove that the Bible is a "self interpreting book" (which no denies)

47:27 Cloud quotes Spurgeon "who is often held up by the Calvinists as 'their man'" on 1 Timothy 2:3-6 This is because Spurgeon disagreed with and criticised some Calvinists who took the view that "all men" means "all kinds of men" and (according to Spurgeon) why did the Holy Spirit not say "all kinds of men" if that is what he meant. This is one of the few places where Cloud actually gives us a reference, which is good. It means that we can look it up for ourselves. That's what we want to do. We do want to take Cloud's comments seriously. If he can show us from the Bible that we are wrong, then we will change our beliefs. We are not die hard Calvinists at all. If Calvin is a gross heretic, then we will reject him out of hand, as we have done with others. 


OK, Cloud is telling the truth here as far as Spurgeon did believe that "all men" means "all without exception" and not merely "all kinds" of men. But (and here Cloud's editorial scissors have been at work) Spurgeon did not believe that God willed to save all these men with the force of a decree. Before Cloud got to reading the bit where Spurgeon begged to differ from some of his Calvinistic brethren (and, BTW, not all of them, since John Trapp took the same line as CHS) he had to read this: "It is quite certain that when we read that God will have all men to be saved it does not mean that he wills it with the force of a decree or a divine purpose, for, if he did, then all men would be saved. He willed to make the world, and the world was made: he does not so will the salvation of all men, for we know that all men will not be saved. Terrible as the truth is, yet is it certain from holy writ that there are men who, in consequence of their sin and their rejection of the Savior, will go away into everlasting punishment, where shall be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. There will at the last be goats upon the left hand as well as sheep on the right, tares to be burned as well as wheat to be garnered, chaff to be blown away as well as corn to be preserved. There will be a dreadful hell as well as a glorious heaven, and there is no decree to the contrary."  

But Cloud doesn't tell us this. Not because it is not relevant, because it is. Spurgeon preserved himself from embracing the idea that God decreed something and it failed to come to pass. Those Calvinists who interpret the "all men" as "all kinds of men" (and there is nothing wrong grammatically with such an interpretation) then interpret the "willeth" as having the force of the decree. The elect will thus be infallibly saved. Spurgeon weakens the force of the "willeth" by denying it to be a decree, and so theologically prevents the non elect (included in the wider definition of "all men") from being saved. There is room for disagreement here among Calvinists within the theological framework of the basic Calvinist position.

50:48 Fifth Supposed Error: CALVINISM MISSTATES WHAT NON CALVINISTS BELIEVE:


First words after reading this heading, Cloud adds, "They do this perpetually and always" I wonder did Cloud even blink when he said this? Not because there are not Calvinists who have let their imagination run riot or engage in the very same tactics as Cloud and others (e.g. Dave Hunt) but because Cloud (as seen) has been misstating Calvinism all along in this message. Note even how this charge is stated here. It is not merely some Calvinists, but Calvinism (as a body) and that "perpetually and always." What information has Cloud access to that allows him to make such sweeping condemnation? Is he privy to every last discussion or debate that has ever taken place between two people holding different views on this matter? Is he demonising people here because they hold to a different view to his? Is this how Cloud conducts his criticisms?

For the record, I don't accuse every non Calvinist of misstating the Calvinist position. Many would shrink in horror from the very thought, just as I shrink in horror from misrepresenting their position. If I criticise, I use words like "Non Reformed in effect believe..." or "The logical outcome of this doctrine..."etc., I am very careful not to put words into the mouths of the Non Reformed. I believe that we have more in common in relation to the gospel than what divides, although the fundamental divisions are real and cannot be explained away. Having said that,  many of our divisions are only perceived and are often a matter of emphasis. 

First complaint: Calvinists claim that people like Cloud don't believe in God's sovereignty, but Cloud says he does, but "as defined by the word of God."

Second complaint: Calvinists claim that people like Cloud believe that man can be saved by his own will. Cloud denies this, saying that man cannot believe unless God draws, enlightens and enables him. The Spirit of God must convict Him, but "man can say 'yes'" Cloud doesn't explain himself here. Calvinists believe that when a man says "Yes" (and we do not believe that men are brought unwilling to Christ) then his very act of affirmation is due to the special work of the Spirit of God. If he is willing, then it is because God worketh in him both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13) From the very beginning. If this is what Cloud believes, then he has a lot in common with Calvinists. I suspect the difference is this  - Calvinists believe that such deciding grace is given only to the elect, while Cloud believes it is given indiscriminatory to all men. If Cloud does not hold to the indiscriminate side of things, then he is well and truly into the Calvinist camp, whether he likes the title or the reality or not.

Third complaint: Calvinists accuse his people of not believing that salvation is 100% of God. He denies this charge, although he will still hold on to the idea that his election is based on to his faith (conditional election) and it is this that saves him. Cloud's doctrine really does elevate man more than the Calvinist's does. I owe every spiritual thing I have to God. My election unto salvation was solely on the basis of grace. It is the fountainhead of my faith and repentance and coming to Christ. Simply put, I would not have come to Christ  if I were not elect. I would not have responded to the gospel if I were not elect.  The Non Calvinist position (which I once held to) believes that my election flows from my faith and repentance. It is that (foreseen from eternity) that put me among the elect. So, no  matter, how you look at it, I had my contribution to make.  It is the logical outcome between comparing the two doctrines that in Calvinism, the sinner has done less than in the other position. We both can't claim 100% for God, if God has done more in our Calvinist position than in the other. This leads us to consider then  a question which the Non Reformed might ask of the Calvinists: "Are we then (according to your doctrine) saved partly by our own contribution?" We simply reply, "No, because although you think your election flows from your faith, yet the reality is that it doesn't." If you excuse the comparison here with another controversy, Protestants don't really believe that Roman Catholics are cannibals when they claim that they eat the literal body etc., of Christ, because the reality of the situation is that they don't.  Thankfully the Calvinistic interpretation of the Bible is more accurate than the non Calvinistic view, even if Cloud doesn't quite see it that way.

53:52 Sixth Supposed Error: CALVINISM CONFUSES THE CHURCH WITH ISRAEL:
   
This charge is based on the fact that Calvinists use Romans 9 to support their view, when the context demands that it is dealing with Israel. Cloud here asks whether this chapter teaches that men are arbitrarily saved and lost? This is not a relevant question to the debate, because Calvinists don't believe that men are saved or lost arbitrarily. Or at least, depending on how you define the word "arbitrarily."  


First of all, God's sovereignty cannot be divorced from any of His attributes, so He is not a loose cannon without any reason or purpose. When He chose certain people to be saved, He did so for the wisest and most gracious reasons. I think that needs to be said. 

Secondly, when men are lost in hell, they are there purely on the basis of their sins. In other words, (to quote Spurgeon's great maxim) while Salvation is all of grace, damnation is all of sin. Calvin held to this view too: "Accordingly, we should contemplate the evident cause of condemnation in the corrupt nature of humanity - which is closer to us - than seek a hidden and utterly incomprehensible cause in God's predestination." (Institutes 3:23:8) If a Calvinist declares that sin does not play a part in the process of who was reprobated, then he is either mistaken (Please remember that all Calvinists have not grasped every last point of their doctrine, and I don't claim to have to either) or he may be pointing out that sin did not constitute the difference between one sinner and another when God made His choice who would be saved. But no man is in Hell who should not be there. Death is always the wages of sin and nothing less and nothing else.

55:00 Cloud reads Romans 9:9-24. Cloud says that he would have no problem with sovereign reprobation if God said it, but He doesn't. Cloud claims that the destinies here of Esau and Jacob has nothing to do with personal salvation, but refers to what Cloud calls, but does not define, as national issues. This is an unsatisfactory interpretation. Why then do we move unto Pharaoh (as an individual) hardening his heart? And then unto the wider application of all men in v18? That's the context also. It is Cloud who comes to Romans 9 and seeks to rob it of its natural application.

1:00:44 Takes us to the ambiguous Greek structure of Romans 9:22-24 where the Middle Voice allows for the sinner fitting himself for destruction. How do we know who fitted then the sinner for destruction? Cloud rightly points out  that other Scriptures show us that the sinner does it himself.  However, he makes another broad, sweeping claim that Calvinists doesn't go to other Scriptures - he just forces his theology into the verse and makes the verse teach that God fits men for for destruction. Cloud hasn't done his homework here. Let him go to the Calvinist commentaries (including those
recommended on his helpful commentaries page). What would he find there? He would find some of them taking his own position i.e. the sinner fits himself to destruction. Or, if it is to be attributed to God, it isas a response to the sinner's rejection of Him. Even John Gill, whose Calvinism could cross unwarranted boundaries at times, comments: "so these are said to be "fitted for destruction", that is, eternal damnation; not by God, for this does not respect God's act of ordination to punishment; but by Satan, the god of this world, that blinds them,  who works effectually in them, and leads them captive at his will; and by themselves, by their own wickedness, hardness of heart, and  impenitence, do they treasure up to themselves wrath, against the day of wrath, so that their destruction is of themselves..." Sometimes when we listen to Cloud, we wonder is there any trick left in the book which he will not play in order to blacken those fellow believers who take a different road in this matter?

1:02:57 Accuses the Calvinist of adding the doctrine of the effectual call to Romans 9:24. Seems to deny that there is an effectual call which is strange, because if God calls you and you respond to that call, then it was successful or effectual. Cloud admits that v24 has saved people in mind. Were they called ineffectually? Goes to various passages to show that there is a general call (which the Calvinist does not deny) but there is also an effectual call and it is not inconceivable, indeed the context (which Cloud rightly thinks is so important) here demands an effectual call. Without it, the vessels prepared for glory, will not come to him.

1:06:52 Again Cloud gets mixed up again over the idea that God's sovereignty does not mean that His will is always done - clearly denying the necessary distinctions between the preceptive and the decretive will of God. It seems that if Grandma in the back pew gives you a blank look if you mention any theological term, then it can't be true because the Bible is meant to be so simple. The funny thing is that Cloud himself posted on his site the writings of another [Update: Currently unable to relocate this page] who could make these distinctions and uses phrases like efficacious decrees and permissive decrees etc., However, in this sermon, Cloud just bungles on regardless and creates and kicks over the sandcastles as he pleases.

If you can ignore the not so accurate remarks about Calvinism, Cloud closes this section with a helpful emphasis on the fact that Australia (where I assume he is preaching this message) is not saved because they have closed their eyes to the gospel. To this every part, every Calvinist would say "Amen!"

1:09:25 Seventh Supposed error: CALVINISM GOES BACK TO THE CHURCH FATHERS INSTEAD OF STRICTLY TO THE APOSTLES FOR AUTHORITY: "No doubt about this"

Basis this on Calvin often quoting Augustine in the "boring Institutes." He manages to give us some references  - See! It can be done! - and quotes Calvin as saying, "If I wanted to weave a whole volume from Augustine, I could readily show my readers that I need no other language than his."and other such quotes. But this doesn't prove what Cloud says it proves. All that proves is that Calvin found agreement with Augustine on many issues, just as Cloud himself might do so on many  issues. (See here how Calvin regarded Augustine as being of mixed value) Earlier on in the sermon, Cloud quoted favourably the bit about the scriptures being like a river that children could play in and elephants swim in. Although he is actually quoting Pope Gregory the Great, none of us accuse Cloud of going back for his authority to the Popes or the Church Fathers. The statement itself is true, and therefore the source is relatively unimportant. Calvin wrote the following about the Church Fathers in general, "Still, in studying their writings, we have endeavoured to remember (1 Cor. 3:21-23; see also Augustin Ep. 28), that all things are ours, to serve, not lord it over us, but that we are Christ’s only, and must obey him in all things without exception. He who does not draw this distinction will not have any fixed principles in religion; for those holy men were ignorant of many things, are often opposed to each other, and are sometimes at variance with themselves." (From the Dedication to the Institutes)  Furthermore, a few more minutes with Google shows that it is common for Bible Christians to quote favourably from Augustine and others. Harry Ironside invoked his aid on Dispensationalism. Spurgeon did so too, big time, claiming: "The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God."(Defence of Calvinism) Calvin championed the cause of "Sola Scriptura" i.e. the Bible alone as the sole rule of faith and practice. He said, among many other things,  "I dare not to make any assertion where Scripture is silent." (Comments on Isaiah 6:2) 


One reason why the Reformers (and not just Calvin) quoted the Church Fathers so much, was to answer the Roman jibe that their faith was a new invention. They showed that it wasn't by [i] establishing their doctrine from Scripture - their ultimate authority and [ii] by showing that often the Church Father's had basically got it right in the fundamentals of the gospel. As I read Cloud's writings, I see that he too displays a desire to establish that his views are not novel. One page is anxious to assure us that there were many "Old Time Fundamentalists" who contended for the AV (KJV) of the Bible. This page was created specifically to answer the charge: "It is said that KJV defense is a new thing and that fundamentalists of old accepted modern textual criticism and did not make an issue of Bible versions." Again, Cloud creates a whole new page because he has found someone who believed in the pre tribulation rapture in 1742. [Update: Currently unable to locate this page] This is an appeal to antiquity. That's all Calvin was doing when he quoted Augustine. Calvin did not always agree with Augustine and says so often in his writings.

1:10:40 Cloud here majors on Augustine's faults, including his tendencies to persecute and the fact that he laid the foundation of much of what has become the Roman Catholic Church.

1:11:40 Cloud describes the Donatists as those who were "trying to be faithful to the word of God and establish a strict New Testament Christianity" I am surprised at this because my understanding is that the Donatists also believed in "baptismal regeneration." However, I cannot be dogmatic in this, but I would like to see solid evidence one way or the other. I sometimes get the impression that if Rome persecuted you prior to the Reformation, then you must have been a good old Fundamental Independent Baptist! Yet we know that this does not follow from any necessity. However, the jury is still out on this one, although I have queried it.

1:13:35 Eighth  Supposed error: THE CALVINIST SYSTEM CANNOT EXPLAIN THE APOSTLE PAUL:

This is a very general kind of heading that is not complete in itself, so Cloud hastens to explain it. He bases it on the words of 1 Corinthians 9:19 where Paul expressed the desire to "gain the more" meaning that he wanted to see more saved. Cloud rhetorically asks the question: "How's that Paul? Don't you believe the number of the elect is settled from all eternity?" I know that Calvinists and non Calvinists disagree over the basis of election - Calvinists say that it is unconditional and rooted 100% in God's decision, while the non Reformed say that it is largely conditional upon the foreseen faith of men. But surely, we both come together to agree that God has already elected (according to one way or the other) who will be saved. In this sense, the number of the elect may be said to be already settled, and that from all eternity. I have never viewed it as a particularly Calvinist matter. If Cloud is right in his implication that more people are being elected, then why were they not elected before when God saw from the very beginning that they would believe the gospel? Perhaps if a "conditional election" man is reading these words, he can confirm to me if Cloud holds to the general view among your camp, or if he is advancing a novel view here. I strongly suspect the latter and I must confess my surprise if it is so. (I don't want to be unkind to Cloud here, even though I think he has done a crude hatchet job in this sermon.)

Cloud moves on to 1 Corinthians 9:22 to rhetorically query Paul again as to why he was sacrificing himself to save some if "election was sovereign." Cloud, somewhat shallow here, does not expand  upon this for us, leaving us to assume that he takes the view that sovereign election somehow rules out evangelism. Does he not know that Calvinists believe that God has ordained both the ends and the means to those ends?

He moves on again to 1 Corinthians 10:33 and then to Romans 9:3 but the same failed argument is raised again. Why would Paul sacrificially labour to see men saved if they were going to be irresistibly drawn to Christ? Simple answer: The elect are irresistibly drawn to Christ through the God ordained  means of his people giving themselves to sacrificial labour. It really does start to get wearisome at times listening to this kind of thing that Cloud is propagating. It lacks logic and depth. He has been at it now for 1 hour and 15 minutes and he still isn't finished.


He says, "If Paul was a Calvinist, then somehow he didn't know the elect don't need persuading." This is a gratuitous remark, void of any reference from any Calvinist and contrary to the many comments from Calvinists which say that they do. For instance on the verse, Albert Barnes, who was an Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace man comments: "Observe here the uniqueness of the statement. It is not, we drive people; or we endeavor to alarm people; or we frighten people; or we appeal merely to their fears, but it is, we persuade people, we endeavor to induce them by all the arts of persuasion and argument to flee from the wrath to come." Calvinist  history shows her evangelists seeking to persuade people "by the best arguments they are masters of, taken from the word of God, and their own experience" (as Gill puts it) to repent and believe the gospel. Who can doubt the evangelistic and tender fervency for the souls of men of 5 point Calvinists like Knox, Whitefield , McCheyne and Spurgeon etc.?

1:16:40 A constant cry of Cloud through this sermon is that Spurgeon was "his own kind of Calvinist." He repeats it here, even when he quotes Spurgeon as saying that "We need to go back to the Calvinism of John Calvin himself." If, at the risk of insulting your intelligence, I may apply a little bit of elementary logic here, does this confession of Spurgeon not make him a John Calvin type of Calvinist?

1:17:10 Quotes Calvin, and gives the reference from the Institutes (Book 3 chapter 23) on reprobation to the effect that many are reprobated without any demerits of his own.  The reader can read this portion for himself here. If you read it carefully, you will see that Calvin (as is usual with all Evangelical Christians everywhere) blames the sinner for his own sin and sets this forth as the cause of his condemnation. Calvin argues the matter very closely here and so you need to follow the whole argument. If a few words sums it all up, while Calvin admits that God has ordained sinful acts to take place, it is always according to His holy will and for reasons which (to us) still remain hidden. At no time, does Calvin ever accuse God of engaging in or being the author of any sinful behaviour. Evidently, God can do these things without Himself contracting any guilt.  Calvin concludes the 8th section (3:23:8) with these words, (as quoted above) "Accordingly, we should contemplate the evident, cause of condemnation in the corrupt nature of humanity—which is closer to us—rather than seek a hidden and utterly incomprehensible cause in God’s predestination." This, of course, is the classic Calvinist position, summed up well by Spurgeon who popularised the maxim: "Salvation is all of grace while damnation is all of sin."

1:17:50 Cloud accuses Calvin of denounce the free offer and does so on the basis of the following quote, which he references for us. "When it appears that when the doctrine of salvation is offered to all for their effectual benefit, it is a corrupt prostitution of that which is declared to be reserved particularly for the children of the church" (Institutes, Book III, chap. 22)  I think this section shows just how shoddy and false Cloud's claims are. There are 3 solid proofs that Calvin did  not denounce the free offer at all.

[i] He constantly affirms it in many other places. Surely Calvin must be the wrong man to falsify when his writings are so abundantly spread across the Internet etc. Maybe Cloud doesn't expect his hearers to check the veracity or otherwise of his statements.

[ii] The quote itself doesn't deny the free offer at all. It denies the teaching that it is effectually beneficial i.e. saving to all. If the gospel is effectually beneficial to all, then all obviously would be saved. Cloud has missed the point, even though the grammar itself is easy enough to understand. I'm pretty sure that even Grandma in the back row could understand it.

[iii] Although we must wonder at Cloud mistaking the grammar of his chosen quote, we marvel even further at him missing the obvious sentiment of the very next sentence. There, Calvin says: "Let this suffice for the present: although the voice of the gospel addresses all in general, yet the gift of faith is rare." The address of the gospel is not just for those who are given the rare gift of faith, but it is for all in general. On his web page containing this basic message (which is constantly revised or updated as Cloud words it) Cloud admits that Calvin does give the appearance of believing that men can be truly saved through the gospel, but he immediately discounts it by accusing Calvin of speaking out of both sides of his mouth. According to Cloud: "While saying that the gospel is universally offered out of one side of his mouth,  Calvin rendered the universal aspect of the gospel meaningless in any practical sense with his doctrine of sovereign election, because they are the only ones who are drawn effectively and regenerated and given the “gift of faith.” If this is the case, why does Cloud keeping picking at John Calvin? If he were consistent, then he would have to lay the charge at the door of every Calvinist, even those for whom he professes a high regard. Did Spurgeon speak out of both sides of his mouth when he believes that only the elect are effectually drawn regenerated and given the gift of faith? In his very Calvinistic sermon on John 6:37, Spurgeon said: "The persons referred to as being given by the Father, are not all men; although, it is true, that the Father has delivered all things into Jesus’ hands, and he has power over all flesh. We must always interpret one passage of Scripture by another; and the thirty-ninth verse of this chapter very clearly interprets the thirty seventh:- “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” The given ones, it is clear, are by appointment delivered from being lost, and appointed to a glorious resurrection; which is not true of any but the chosen..." Why all this heaping of odium upon the head of Calvin on this issue, when every Calvinist believes the very same thing?

1:18:50 As Cloud brings this part of the sermon to an end, he goes back to Revelation 22:17 and briefly expounding it in a way that Calvinists would basically agree with. Water is necessary, free, abundant etc., but then he amazingly (and I must add scandously) declares of these things, "None of which is Calvinistic" This attack goes away beyond the charges which  two opposing schools within Evangelical Christianity may lay at each others doorstep. This is followed up again when Cloud moves unto another subject within the same sermon i.e. Easy Believism (or "Quick Prayerism" as he calls it). He accuses those who preach and practice Quick Prayerism of producing false converts who will populate hell. Very serious (although sadly true) charges. But where does such a hellish movement stand in relation to Calvinism? Are we comparing like with like? Surely many non Calvinists will deny it with sentiments like, "We mightn't agree with Calvinism, but it would be wrong to say that those who embrace it have embraced teachings that lead to Hell." But what saith Cloud in his parting shot at Calvinism before he moves into his new subject? Here's how: He describes Quick Prayerism, "at least as destructive and false as Calvinism."
Between the "None of which is Calvinistic" quote above and the last quote, we must then ask does Cloud believe if any thorough going Calvinists are saved at all? Has he crossed the line where, to maintain any kind of consistency, he would have to consider us as damned souls because we agree with Spurgeon,  “The gloomy tenets of Calvin,” as they are generally called, “the horrid dogmas of Calvin,” are supposed to possess congenial charms for minds gloomy and morose. Now what is your testimony, Christian, especially you Christians who have learned to see in “the horrid dogmas of Calvin” the gospel of Jesus Christ? Well, we can say if we be melancholy, joyous people must be very joyful indeed.(11:561)? Does he consider other leading Calvinists to be damned as well. Like George Whitefield whose sterling defence of Calvinism against Wesley may be found here or Dabney or a whole host of those men whose praise are in all the churches, Calvinist or otherwise. It is my considered opinion that if Cloud doesn't believe so, then he is admitting that these last words highlighted are worthless words, void of any weight.

1:21:08 Cloud goes on to expose Quick Prayerism, in his own words, among the Independent Baptists. He rightly calls for an emphasise to be put on the law of God and also upon repentance. It might be worth saying as I draw my comments to a close that Spurgeon saw similar things in his day, However, his theology allowed him to say,"We have not labored to excite carnal passions, nor to preach sermons with a view of driving you into religious fevers. Sturdy old Calvinism will not let us do that. We cannot preach such sermons as Arminians can." (2:73)
END OF ANALYSING CLOUD'S SERMON

So that's it. I didn't mean it to be so long, but I suppose taking on a sermon of this length and on such a subject by such a preacher was hardly going to pass a few spare moments. 



THE END 



INDEXES:

* CALVINIST INDEX
* PROTESTANT INDEX
* CH SPURGEON INDEX
* EVANGELISM INDEX
* HERE AND THERE INDEX

2 comments:

  1. Now on Youtube

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPPlQjliUi4&index=1&list=PLFczhc08bEVLbkRyCb5YWlMJ12uD9TjqZ

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  2. Thank you for the link. I have already linked to his basic message. Not sure if he says anything different in this message. I haven't the time at the moment to analyse it. Thanks for dropping by. I trust that the above page and other pages on this blog have proved helpful to you.

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