What are a couple questions and answers for John Calvin (religious reformer)?What are a couple questions and answers for John Calvin (religious reformer)?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would have some personal questions for John Calvin. What made him decide to go against the Church? Did he have a religious experience? Where did he get the ideas he so strongly supported in order to change the religious ideas of Calvanism?
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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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For a better overall view on the merits and flaws of Calvinism, you may wish to consult the book entitled "The Trouble with the Tulip." It highlights the contradictions as well as the strong points behind Calvin's doctrine.

Two questions:

1. Does God see into the future (for purposes of predestination), or does He allow man's free will to unfold itself in history with His own will accomplishing itself through the seemingly "free will" actions of man?

2. If you have professed faith in Jesus Christ at one time in your life, can you then commit an "unforgivable sin" and be removed from that status of God's Grace? Please explain specifically. 

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dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Interesting topic...

1. I'd ask John Calvin whether or not he considered himself predestined for heaven?, saved through God's grace?, or did he think he was going to hell?

Then I'd ask...

2. Do you really practice what you preach????

Predestination in and of itself states that where an individual goes after they die has already beed determined by God...all any human can do is follow the rules and hope for the best...however the powerful authority of the elders usually ruled the roost...get the point?????

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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This question should be on the discussion board.

Two questions I'd ask Calvin:

  • Do you really believe that once a person has been "saved" that person cannot then fall from grace? Many of your followers today preach that very concept: Once saved always saved. But how does that fit with the concept of predestination?
  • Why are your followers so afraid to allow leadership roles to women? Recently, all the Lifeway book stores (which are an arm of the Southern Baptist Church) had to either pull from their shelves all copies of "Gospel Today" magazine because the headline on the cover was "Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Female Pastors" and had a photo of four women pastors. Can you point out to me where Jesus said women can't preach?

As I understand it, and as it has been taught in the region where I grew up, predestination means that God chose at the beginning of time who to save and who to condemn. That means you'll never know until you die where you willl end up, so you'd better live a good life just in case. That's one reason why I follow Wesley and not Calvin.

frizzyperm's profile pic

frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

For a better overall view on the merits and flaws of Calvinism, you may wish to consult the book entitled "The Trouble with the Tulip." It highlights the contradictions as well as the strong points behind Calvin's doctrine.

Two questions:

1. Does God see into the future (for purposes of predestination), or does He allow man's free will to unfold itself in history with His own will accomplishing itself through the seemingly "free will" actions of man?

2. If you have professed faith in Jesus Christ at one time in your life, can you then commit an "unforgivable sin" and be removed from that status of God's Grace? Please explain specifically. 

1. Does God see into the future?

That is a very 'human' question. 'The unknowable future' and 'The irretrievable past' are only expeienced if you are trapped inside our three dimensional universe. It is very very technical and I don't claim to understand it perfectly (nobody does). But... We have a fixed, linear relationship with time.

We can move up and down, forward and back, left and right. We have freedom of movement in these dimensions. But we have a fixed speed and direction in time. Imagine walking due north, at one meter per second, never stopping for the whole of your life. You can't go faster or slower. You can't change direction. That is how we travel through time. But! We have made electrons 'jump' across time in the lab. They didn'tgo due north at 1m/sec. They went in a minutely different direction at a minutely different speed for a miniscule amount of 'time'. But they did it.

Unless he is trapped inside the universe, 'History' for God will be like looking at google earth... there's the dinosaurs, here's the year 50,000AD, over there they are building the pyramids, moving over here we can see the universe's largest supernova etc etc

How does this relate to predestination? Assuming, of course, that he exists, God can see the start and the end of the universe simultaneously, like you can see the start and the end of 5th Avenue.

tjk2723's profile pic

tjk2723 | eNotes Newbie

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John Calvin, like Martin Luther, challenged the authority of the Catholic Church in its teachings and practices.

1) What is Predestination?

Predestination is a one of the primary aspects of Calvinism. This is the idea that those who are saved are committed to good works to attest to the grace God has given them. The act of doing good works alone does not result in salvation, but rather good works gave evidence of election or predestination.

2) What is Divine Benevolence?

This, again, is the believer's good works. For Calvin, such good works are fruits of the spirit that show outwardly that God is dwelling within the believer.

3) How did his teachings impact his followers?

This inspired a platform for social and political activism. This allowed believers, who may have anxiety over their own fate, to know that in the end, God's causes and righteousness would prevail.

frizzyperm's profile pic

frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Predestination is the belief that everything is God's will and you have no choice about it. Calvin believed that people are incapable of making genuinely independent decisions. He believed that we choose based on our experiences and our experiences are beyond our control. Every action/choice is based on previous actions/choices, most of which are not our own, so nothing is a genuinely free choice.

Very very simplistically...  

Imagine a dog attacked you in the past and it was not your fault. Now, all your decisions about dogs (or cats or that street or many other things) will be influenced by that event, so all your dog-decisions are not your own independent choice. You have been influenced beyond your control. And since the day you were born you are influenced countless times in countless ways you cannot control.

So basically everything in the universe is beyond your control and the only free decisions in the Universe are God's. So, on judgement day, when God points his finger at you and says "did you lead a good or bad life", you can say, "niether, I led the life you gave me."

So you could ask Calvin, "Was Predestination your own idea, or did God decide to give it to you before the Universe was created?"

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