[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Emperor's Old Theology

by Matthew

Don't you love the story of the Emperor's New Clothes? It is so true to life.

There was an emperor who was obsessed with fashion. He loved nothing better than showing off his latest outfit. One day, two swindlers came to his palace disguised as tailors. They promise to make him a fine suit, more handsome than any other. However, it is of a cloth so fine that only a person of refined taste and intelligence will be able to see it. A stupid and coarse person would see nothing at all. The emperor is delighted by the idea and pays them much gold in advance.

When the swindlers complete their 'work', the emperor and his courtiers are unable to see anything at all. Yet being afraid to appear stupid and coarse, they pretend they can see the most beautiful suit they have ever seen.

The emperor then parades naked through the city, and his subjects are all anxious to applaude and admire his new clothes. All except a small boy who laughs out loud and sings with delight on seeing the emperor as bare as the day he was born.

I think we can see the truth of this when it comes to theology.

A lot of Christians when they are first introduced to Calvinism think that it is a dreadful theology; they are appalled at the idea of God 'passing over' people and ordaining them to eternal destruction.

Yet just like the swindlers in the story, Calvinists pull a confidence trick on young believers. They tell them that only a person who is submissive to God's word and who is humble in her attitude will believe in Calvinism. A person who is proud and wilful will hate and despise the truths of 'Sovereign Grace.'

The young Christian then is left thinking:

If I am humble and submissive to God, then I must receive this teaching about election. If I dont accept 'the doctrines of Grace' then it will only show that I am proud and stubborn.

You see this in the testimonies of people who are Calvinists. They will tell you that it was their pride that kept them from believing in Calvinism. In their minds, they were duped into thinking that:

Calvinism = Humble Submission

Rejection of Calvinism = Stubborn self-will

The debate about Calvinism is dressed by Calvinism in the language of morality, not Biblical exegesis.

The truth is that the 'Doctrines of Grace' are bare of any true Biblical foundation. Just as the emperor and his pals were unwilling to think about the 'magic cloth', so often Calvinists are unwilling to re-examine their theology because they have been lead to believe that questioning election is a sign of pride and self-will.



  • Good stuff, Matthew.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sunday, January 27, 2008 11:54:00 AM  

  • Thanks, TJP.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, January 27, 2008 12:07:00 PM  

  • Brother, Matthew, I think you are right about that. I have heard a lot of Calvinists say that about how they came "to see the light." They will say that they fought it and fought it with their reason... until they finally submitted to Calvinism. But they usually add that they submitted to it because it seemed like the Bible clearly taught it. I suppose it was at that point, too, that most of them decided to extrude the portions that seem to clearly teach contrary to it.... and all this because their pride had fallen off.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, January 27, 2008 12:16:00 PM  

  • Rose, the Calvinists have their favorite verses, but I think a good part of the argument for Calvinism is the psychological guilt trip that Calvinists put on people who question and doubt their doctrines.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, January 27, 2008 12:17:00 PM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    I love it when you lot engage us Calvinists on Scripture alone. ;-)


    :-) Again

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, January 27, 2008 12:25:00 PM  

  • Rose: Are you feeling cloth├ęd today? :-)

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, January 27, 2008 12:25:00 PM  

  • Colin, yeah. I am naughty.

    But I dont do this often.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, January 27, 2008 11:42:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    You have the knack for putting a finger on things that I find hard to articulate. This is right on!


    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, January 28, 2008 5:02:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Only Look, at Monday, January 28, 2008 7:27:00 PM  

  • And here I thought you were building toward the new naked clothing of the refinement theology of free grace. I should have known it would be a bit to much to ask for a little objectivity. So I can only say that there is some truth to what you are saying but you are still myopic toward the hyper calvinist and their tendency toward refinement and with a log in your eye and unable to see that you are naked as well.

    By Blogger Only Look, at Monday, January 28, 2008 7:28:00 PM  

  • Thanks, Antonio.

    Brian, thanks for your comment as well.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, January 29, 2008 12:03:00 AM  

  • Please visit us, TheAmericanView.

    By Blogger John Lofton, Recovering Republican, at Tuesday, January 29, 2008 9:44:00 AM  

  • I dont see any link or URL.

    And if there was you did not say very much to sell it to us.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, January 29, 2008 9:48:00 AM  

  • I'm kinda late reading this, Matthew.

    I think it is a geat post and interesting insight.

    I just wonder, if those who pull the "trick" of 'not being submissive' on the person who does not believe as they do, I wonder if they are really true to their system that they will actually believe that those who never submit are un-saved because perseverance to the "system" is not happening?

    I know, that is a long winded question. :)

    By Blogger Kris, at Sunday, February 03, 2008 1:29:00 PM  

  • Kris, yes, it is interesting that most Calvinists are unwilling to doubt the salvation of those who don't believe in their system.

    Of course, many Calvinists think that there are Roman Catholics who are born-again. I have read what it says in the Westminister Confession of Faith about saving faith and I cannot help thinking it is a little vague. I think Calvinists are fuzzy in their idea of what is involved in saving faith.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, February 03, 2008 11:43:00 PM  

  • I just stumbled on your article, I love it.

    I asked a blogger, http://creative2567.blogspot.com/2008/02/abort73com.html on his post about abortion why calvinists were against abortion, yet at the same time affirmed that God was an abortionist Himself cutting people of from eternal life before they became bornagain?

    I have also posted up a response to the calvinist view of predestination on my blog, http://craigb1.blogspot.com/

    that you may like to have a look at.

    Thanks for the chuckles, I have been resisting that peer pressure for many years now and through working through the Scriptures I have a clear mind that they are wrong regarding predestination.

    Blessings craig

    By Blogger Craig Bennett, at Monday, February 04, 2008 11:27:00 PM  

  • Regarding not believing their doctrine, are we saved because of faith in Christ, or are we saved because of faith in what we believe?

    By Blogger Craig Bennett, at Monday, February 04, 2008 11:28:00 PM  

  • Great post Matthew. I know that Calvinists see me as stubborn and prideful and the latest...self-centered.

    To me, they're the ones boasting in that THEY have shed all these attributes within their personalities and beings, not to mention THEY were "chosen" by God because it pleased Him to choose THEM. They're just so PROUD of themselves. :-)

    By Blogger Dawn, at Tuesday, February 05, 2008 10:03:00 AM  

  • Dawn, we are all in danger of pride and there is a great danger in making show of one's humility.

    Craig, thanks for visiting.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, February 05, 2008 10:44:00 PM  

  • Craig, as regards your question, I think you need to clarify what the difference between those two statements is.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, February 05, 2008 10:45:00 PM  

  • G'day Matthew,

    I don't know what happened, I thought I posted this morning and when I checked for replies my post had gone.

    Any way, regarding my question re faith.

    1.) We are saved because we believe in Christ and him crucified and risen.

    2.) We are saved because we believe the right doctrines about Christ and him risen, and if you don't believe the right doctrines you can't be saved....

    Therefore the Scripture that says we are justified by faith, has two explanations mean who we have faith in, or in what do we have our faith in...Christ or doctrine.

    By Blogger Craig Bennett, at Wednesday, February 06, 2008 4:45:00 PM  

  • I reject both positions.

    We posess eternal life if we trust Jesus Christ for it.

    There is no other doctrine that needs to be believed other than this to be justified, though progress in the Christian life will depend upon learning the vital truths of Scripture.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, February 09, 2008 1:22:00 AM  

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