Meme Monday – Calvinists not Knowing if they are Elect Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
Calvinism itself fosters doubts as John Calvin writes, “For there is scarcely a mind in which the thought does not rise, Whence your salvation but from the election of God? But what proof have you of your election? When once this thought has taken possession of any individual, it keeps him perpetually miserable, subjects him to dire torment, or throws him into a state of complete stupor…. Therefore, we dread shipwreck, we must avoid this rock, which is fatal to everyone who strikes upon it…”
Dr. David Rock, director of the NeuroLeadership Institute writes: “The human brain craves certainty, and responds to uncertainty as it does pain.
Escape from Freedom – Dr. Erich Fromm – Ph.D Social Psychologist
A PSYCHOLOGY OF CERTAIN-UNCERTAINTY
Fundamental doubts result in a person’s quest for absolute certainty; but though the doctrine of predestination gave no such certainty [only the certainty that salvation is for an unknown few], the doubt remained in the background of the believer’s mind, and had to be silenced again and again by an overgrowing, emphasis, that the religious community to which one belonged, represented that part of mankind which had been chosen by God. (page 87)
In his conceptions, Calvin’s God, in spite of all attempts to preserve an [amorphous and oxymoronic] idea of divine justice and love, has all the features of a tyrant, without any quality of certain or predictable love or justice. (page 88)
In blatant contradiction to the language of the New Testament, Calvin denies the supreme role of divine love, and says “For what the Schoolmen advance concerning the priority of charity to faith and hope, is a mere reverie of a distempered imagination…”(Op. cit., 3-2-41). – (page 88)
One possible way to escape this unbearable state of uncertainty….is the very trait which became so prominent in Calvinism: the development of a hyper activity….. Activity in this sense assumes a compulsory quality: the individual has to be active in order to subdue underlying feelings of doubt and powerlessness. This kind of effort and activity works to promote a sense of confidence and conciliation. – Page 88
Human effort in Calvinist doctrine has yet another psychological meaning. The fact that one did not tire in that unceasing effort, and the one succeeded in one’s moral as well as secular work, functions as a more or less distinct sign of being one of the chosen ones.
The irrationality of such compulsive effort is that the activity is not meant to create a desired end, but merely served to INDICATE whether or not something will occur which has been determined beforehand, independent of one’s own activity or control.
Calvin himself was, of course, concerned with the obvious objections which could be made against this conception of God; but the more or less subtle constructions he provided, to uphold a picture of a just and loving God, do not sound in the least convincing. (page 95)
Calvinist hyper-activism – a form of works righteousness.
Calvinist pastors may warn individuals within the flock concerning the possibility of their non-elect status based upon observations of behavior.
This model of co-examination parallels Tasseography. The reading of an individual’s behavior patterns, in order to observe indicators of elect status.
In other words, Calvinists read each others behavior-patterns the same way people read tea leaves.
Hyper-activism in this context is completely understandable. The individual works to maintain a sense of self-assurance for internal purposes. And additionally works to produce an appearance of elect status, in order to maintain approval within his society and with persons of authority. Calvinism thus has its own subset of wide phylacteries.
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, III: xxiv, 4.