by Leighton Flowers & Eric Kemp
Calvinists often argue that if we as Christians were free to suppress the truth or believe it then we could boast in our choice to believe the gospel.
In other words, if we are able to meet the condition of faith that is required for salvation, we can boast. They insist that boasting would only be eliminated if we agree with them that God effectually caused our belief in the gospel (by means of irresistible grace).
There are several blatant problems with this argument:
1) Is the Calvinist’s belief in Calvinism also effectually caused by God?
If so, then why hasn’t God given it to all His children so as to prevent this inevitable boasting?
If not, then why wouldn’t the Calvinist boast in their choice to accept Calvinism?
2) On our view, people who would have the audacity to boast in humbly believing in Christ didn’t really humbly believe in Christ. Their rotten fruit has revealed a fake root. True humility doesn’t boast in itself. It boasts in the One we place our trust. (1 Cor 1:21)
“Let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. (Jer 9:24)
The condition of faith we assert mankind has the ability to meet is literal humility. Humbly confessing your sin, humbly recognizing your inability to save yourself, and humbling yourself before the Savior who sacrificed himself for you on the cross. How can a view which is based upon fulfilling a requirement of humility inevitably lead to boasting? Sure, people are capable of all kinds of evils, including boasting in being humble, but such boasting violates the principle of humility upon which our view is built.
3) Every honest Calvinist would admit they know at least one Calvinist who is proud and arrogant and one non-Calvinist who is humble and selfless. So why is one prideful and the other arrogant if the doctrine itself isn’t the ultimate cause of these characteristics?
On Calvinism, all things are in accordance with God’s sovereign decree, so those who act pridefully (regardless of their soteriological views) are ultimately doing so because that is how God decreed for them to behave. Why does the Calvinist lament God’s decree?
On our view, however, pride is not from the Father but from the world (1 John 2:16).