Dr James A, PhD (Originally Posted Through Dr James Ach’s Twishort)
I’m used to seeing people like James White attempt to rewrite history, especially when it comes to the Roman Catholic Church and Augustine, Anabaptists, and Waldensians, but this statement by Colin Maxwell takes the cake.
Maxwell writes that Bob Gray Sr in including the accomplishments of American’s that happened to be Calvinists is demonstrating an inconsistent position in claiming that Calvinism is a lie. In other words, if you claim that their THEOLOGY is wrong, then you must accept that every good deed that they do in the name of their theology is a concession to the correctness of the theology. With that logic, if an atheist saves a person from drowning, we must then accept his philosophy that there is no God. His goodness deprives us of the right to critique his beliefs.
Ben Franklin maintained Deist views. Do we then espouse to Franklin’s Deism because of what he did for American freedom? Colin Maxwell is making some of the most ridiculous leaps in common sense and logic I’ve ever seen (Now keep in mind, at this point we are still talking about HISTORY: I have to say that now before some pious idiot points to what I said and claims “Look, see! Dr Ach is talking about philosophy and logic without mentioning the Bible”. If you can show me Ben Franklin in Scripture then I’ll edit this).
But what is the most ATROCIOUS part of Maxwell’s missive is his claim that DL Moody and Billy Sunday were Calvinists.
First of all, Maxwell completely contradicts his own theory by claiming that “all four were Calvinists”, only to later state that Spurgeon, not Moody, commented on Moody’s “SCENTED Calvinism”. Again, we don’t deny there are things in common between Calvinism and contra beliefs. But there are also similarities with Muslims and Christians, ie., both are monotheistic (belief there is only one God, it’s the nature of God that is in dispute, not that there’s only one); but that doesn’t mean that everyone that believes there is only one God is a Muslim. That’s EXACTLY what Maxwell is trying to claim here. And even then, his evidence is based on what someone else assumed about Moody instead of pointing to anything that Moody himself actually said about Calvinism.
To even put Moody and Spurgeon in the same category is laughable considering the amount of heated debates they had over the issues of grace. At one point Moody even accused Spurgeon of encouraging converts to “sin their way into the Kingdom”.
One of Moody’s most popular quotes AGAINST Calvinism is “The elect are the whosoever wills, the non elect are the whosoever wonts”. In arguing with Calvinists, Moody said, ” “I want to talk about the word believe, the word receive, and the word take. Now who will come and take Christ as Saviour?
With Calvinists desperate to establish historical relevancy to the infant church and historical supremacy in the modern church will grasp any terminology that hints at the appearance of their dogma and claim it as their own regardless of context. If someone in AD 200 wrote that they thought a cat was predestined to eat mice, a Calvinist would take that phrase as proof the person was a Calvinist. The very reasons that folks like Bob Gray DO quote the works of many who did admit they were Calvinists is because we recognize THEY WERE INCONSISTENT yet maintained truths that were NOT CALVINIST. One may quote something Spurgeon says about the failure of works in getting one to heaven without relying on what Spurgeon thought about election. I can agree with the former and disagree with the latter without affirming Spurgeon’s Calvinism. But, according to Maxwell’s logic (and many other Calvinists) if Spurgeon and I both believed in tying our shoes before we walked in them, that means we’re both Calvinists. However, as we seen with Islam, that logic can not be applied consistently and it is the failure of Calvinists to acknowledge this difference that contributes to many of the good things that Calvinists DID espouse to going unnoticed because of the perceived need to put distance between Calvinists and their opponents.
Relying on Spurgeon to define Moody’s beliefs is erroneous. They were contemporaries and Moody spoke for himself, and clearly opposed Calvinism as a whole, and specifically Spurgeon’s views on it. Yet must we concede to the Calvinists who insist that all who oppose Calvinism are Arminians? I vehemently reject the conditional security of Arminianism, I reject their Pelagian view of original sin and I reject their modern attempt to adopt a theology that robs God of His foreknowledge (Open Theism), yet because I also reject Calvinism, I am nevertheless still branded as an Arminian as if those are the only two options. That is how Calvinists attempt to confuse the issues and rewrite history; by using dishonest means and false weights and measures.
If Billy Sunday, the METHODIST, DL Moody and even Charles Spurgeon preached the way they did back then in today’s society they would be branded as heretics by ALL Calvinists, including Maxwell whether he admits it or not (he certainly spends enough time writing against the things that Spurgeon affirmed, and supporting the things that Spurgeon renounced, like Limited Atonement).
WIthout clear proof that Moody and Sunday were Calvinists, and in the face of clear statements and beliefs they held to the contrary, it is extremely dishonest and disingenuous to parade these men as Calvinists. But this is what we’ve gotten used to from liars like Maxwell, and unfortunately a large host of other Reformers.