Missed it by that much. Calvin's doctrine of befuddling assurance/non-assurance


The Work done outside of us

I had other plans but God providentially changed them.


I had planned on writing about finding the Gospel message in the arts, e.g. dances, lyrics, paintings, etc., but then this showed up in a Facebook group I am a part of. The discussion was one Zwingli’s affirmation of all the baptismal verses (see meme on this post) and yet he denied the efficacy of baptism. I’ve only been Lutheran just over a year, but things are beginning to clear up quickly regarding my biblical position on the Sacraments (See Winter Came…Everything Changed blog post here: https://www.lutherangirl.org/blog/winter-came-and-everything-changed).


What is ‘evanescent/confused/illusionary’ faith?


John Calvin wrote in his Institutes on the Christian Religion the following:


"Experience shows that the reprobate are sometimes affected in a way so similar to the elect that even in their own judgment there is no difference between them. Hence, it is not strange, that by the Apostle a taste of heavenly gifts, and by Christ himself a temporary faith is ascribed to them. Not that they truly perceive the power of spiritual grace and the sure light of faith; but the Lord, the better to convict them, and leave them without excuse, instills into their minds such a sense of goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption ... there is a great resemblance and affinity between the elect of God and those who are impressed for a time with a fading faith ... Still it is correctly said, that the reprobate believe God to be propitious to them, inasmuch as they accept the gift of reconciliation, though confusedly and without due discernment; not that they are partakers of the same faith or regeneration with the children of God; but because, under a covering of hypocrisy they seem to have a principle of faith in common with them. Nor do I even deny that God illumines their mind to this extent ... there is nothing inconsistent in this with the fact of his enlightening some with a present sense of grace, which afterwards proves evanescent." [John Calvin, Institutes 3.2.11]


A few years ago I took a course on Calvin’s Institutes. However, I must have slept through this section because I honestly do not remember reading this. I think I would have been just as shocked that Calvin thought, and evidently taught, that one could have this elusive “confused faith” and that there are those who think they are among the elect and turn out to be among those chosen to damnation (Calvin’s doctrine of Double Predestination).


You: I think I’m saved…I think I’m saved…I think I’m saved.

God: Nope. Just kidding.


Think about this: you are struggling to figure out if you are among God’s Elect. What are you to look to? Mostly, Reformed will tell you Christ Jesus but then quickly add that fruit is an evidence of your regeneration. The Heidelberg states that true faith has three parts: Knowledge, Ascent and Trust. It also states that those with “true faith” will do good works which is evidence of this true faith. However, Calvin writes that the reprobate (those chosen to damnation and not salvation) perceive the power of special grace, have the light of faith and that basically, “there is no difference between them. He goes on that they’ve tasted the Heavenly Gift but that Jesus has given them a “temporary faith”. Okay, I need to stop here and make a comment: How cruel can this be?



God's Word with the water...

You only THINK you are saved


You are told to look at your fruit for the evidence that you have true faith, while at the same time, Calvin is teaching that your fruit proves nothing because you still may not have true faith.


Wait...What?!?