Perfect Knowledge or Tolerant Calvinism
February 29, 2012, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Arminianism, Tolerant Calvinism

written by David Bishop

The argument looks like this:

A Christian is someone who believes that the guilt for his sins is no longer charged to him, because it was charged to Christ at the cross.  Believing then that his sins were atoned for, he agrees with God that the righteousness which Christ obtained has been charged to his account and that it will alone save him at the last day.  Therefore, whoever agrees with this, no matter what they might believe, is a brother in Christ.

The chief problem with this argument is that fact that it ignores the difference in the definition of certain key words.

  1. Lost people define faith as the instrument by which whosoever wants to can apply the atonement to themselves and thereby obtain justification.
  2. Lost people define the atonement as the sin-guilt of everyone charged to Christ, and often also, God’s wrath not satisfied by it until whosoever wants to chooses to apply it to themselves.
  3. Lost people define the righteousness imputed as the agent that won’t really save until the one to whom it was imputed proves that it was really imputed by altering his moral behavior.

The tolerant Calvinist ignores these three key differences, though he knows for a fact they are present.  Rather than confronting the lost by challenging these definitions, the tolerant Calvinist instead welcomes the lost as Christian brothers.  There are a variety of reasons why the tolerant Calvinist does this, but chief on the list is the fact that he can’t get past the idea that some of these very same lost people are those whom he cares most about; his family, his friends, his church family, his co-workers, etc.  He can’t get over the fact that they are lost, will most likely remain lost, and in some cases have already died lost.  Rather than face up to this fact and praise God for His grace, the tolerant Calvinist instead opts to reject the truth of the gospel in order to welcome his lost loved ones into the kingdom of God.

In response to any serious challenge to his false gospel, the tolerant Calvinist often strawmans his opponent by asserting that his opponent is preaching a message of perfect knowledge.  We here at Sovereign Grace Society are not.  We are professing the truth that words mean something.  We assert along with Scripture that the gospel by its very nature demands agreement with a simple, biblical definition of faith; a simple, biblical definition of atonement; a simple, biblical definition of election; and a simple, biblical definition of justification.  We assert, along with Scripture, that disagreement with these simple, biblical definitions constitutes an abiding, legal state of condemnation in the mind of God.   The idea that a new convert cannot immediately upon conversion understand and agree with a few simple, biblical propositions because he hasn’t yet studied enough of his Bible, or because he hasn’t yet had any extensive theological training, is an appeal to salvation by perfect knowledge, and we reject it.

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