Thursday, March 18, 2010

DavidW on Gnosticism and Calvinism

I've been interacting some on DavidW's blogpost about his comparisons of Gnostic predestination and Calvinistic predestination.  He swears up and down that Calvinism is dressed-up Gnosticism, and I already corrected him on his point, told him:
My response is basically that you're committing a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Alot of EOC doctrines resemble Mormonism; that doesn't mean they're related. Looking at it the other way, all the ancient heretics held to doctrines that EOC would accept as well - that's what makes heretics so dangerous. They creep in, sound the same in almost everything, but secretly introduce destructive heresies, subtly, drawing away disciples after them. So this point of yours in principle proves too much. Otherwise stated, it proves nothing. 
 DavidW today laid out 5 questions on this topic he'd like me to address.  Let's see how well he did.

1) No, it's not a tu quoque. I don't grant that Calvinistic predest is of Gnostic derivation, remember? Rather, I derive Calv predest from Scr, which preceded Gnosticism. So, that's wrong.

2a) "early church writer" means "someone in the early church who wrote". Nothing more or less.
The entire reason I use that term is to point out your question-begging distinction between "Church Fathers" and "heretics". You test everythg by the church; well, what if those whom you now identify as heretics had won the struggle? Then the men you now identify as CFs would be heretics, to you.
This is the problem with the Sola Ecclesia position; the only way you can judge the heretics of old to have been wrong is b/c the modern church is the group that won out, that won the power struggle. Not so for me - I can and must judge anyone and everyone and their teaching by the Word of God, which does not change.

2b) at least one early Church Father who believed in predestination
I've given you three many times - Jesus, Peter, Paul.
This business about early church writers and the dissent that existed between them is an internal critique of the EO position. It doesn't have any bearing on Sola Scriptura.

3) I've identified your arguments as committing the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy (and am still waiting for a rebuttal). I can demonstrate that my doctrines are drawn from Scriptural exegesis. The ball's in your court.
You said:
If the Gnostic doctrine is not the same as the Calvinist doctrine, surely you should be able to explain how they are different.

Gosh, let's see. Oh, I know - one's Trinitarian and Christian, the other isn't. One's drawn from Scriptural exegesis, the other isn't.
From your own post:
their own selves (who are saved by nature)

Nope, saved by the grace of God. Fail #1.

Faith, then, is no longer the direct result of free choice, if it is a natural advantage.

Define "direct", "result", "free", and "choice".
Besides, Calvinism teaches that the regenerate man DOES freely choose - he chooses God b/c his nature has been changed and he's been given a new heart. Before that, he always freely chooses death and sin, b/c his nature is dead in sin and he hates God, his Enemy.
Fail #2.

Ye are originally immortal

Yet Calvinism teaches we are born dead in sin, and w/o God's intervention we will go to Hell forever.
Fail #3.

he also, similarly with Basilides, supposes a class saved by nature

It's so funny how you want to equate the Trinitarian God of the Bible with the Gnostic "nature". Why would you do that?
Fail #4.

In this way also they make a twofold distinction among souls, as to their property of good and evil

And yet the Bible teaches, and Calvinism of course affirms, that "there is no one good, no, not one." Fail #5.
(BTW, why are you citing the heretic Tertullian?)

For this reason it is that they neither regard works as necessary for themselves, nor do they observe any of the calls of duty, eluding even the necessity of martyrdom on any pretence which may suit their pleasure.

1) Calvinism teaches that God works thru means. Fail #6.
2) Calvinism teaches that man is responsible and called to "be holy as your Father in Heaven is holy". I am obligated to follow the entire law of God. Fail #7.

a rigidly deterministic scheme

Perhaps you're confusing Calvinism with HyperCalvinism? I'm pretty sure you've been corrected on that before, but you seem not to be a big fan of taking correction. Fail #8.
Now that, friends, is a lot of fail.

4) Irenaeus says They have also other modes of honouring these images... Seems like he's not a big fan of ANY honoring of images. I can certainly see where he's coming from - why not honor Christ? If you say "we already do", are you denying you could do so more? Or have you honored Him enough already? Let someone else get their snout in the trough, as it were.

(Please leave any comments at the BeggarsAll cross-post.)