Anti-Trinitarianism in early Calvinists?

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Matthew G. Bianco, May 12, 2017.

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  1. Matthew G. Bianco

    Matthew G. Bianco Puritan Board Freshman

    I watched this video by a Lutheran Pastor who claims that 2nd and 3rd generation Calvinism had a lot of anti-trinitarianism due to the supposed "logic with Scripture" he supposes we try to hold onto dogmatically. Watch this video starting from 8:50 to hear his argument. What do you guys think? Is his claim about antitrinitarianism existing in early Calvinism historically true? Is his claim that we take human reason at the same level of Scripture true?

    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  2. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    He's Lutheran. He has an axe to grind. So he misrepresents Calvinists historically.
    However, it seems more of the antiTrinitarians came from rationalism. Arminianism came from that line. It did infect some Calvinist churches or churches that were once Calvinist. It does not mean Calvinism spawned it or that the antiTrinitarians were real Calvinists with their ironclad logic.
  3. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I guess I could say he committed the genetic fallacy. I suppose. If there is an actual argument. Sure, later descendants of Calvin became Unitarian or Socinian. But on the other hand today's Germany (Lutheran ancestors) legalize bestiality and prostitution.

    I say all of that in the spirit that I truly like Lutheranism and Lutherans. Lutheran Satire is one of the best web pages.
  4. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    On the historical statement, there is simply no evidence that there were "a lot" of antitrinitarians amongst Calvinists. Some Calvinists converted to Socinianism, just as there were converts to Socinianism from Lutheranism. There is no "reason" to think that these conversions were owing to internal structures within the doctrinal beliefs held by the converts. It is just as possible that Arminianism or some other intermediate step was involved. If that is the case then the Lutheran affinity with the Arminian doctrine of universal grace might provide a better explanation for the conversion and true Calvinism might be shown to preserve its adherents from the errors of Socinianism.

    On the theological question, the Trinity is understood by means of reason so as to avoid contradiction. One substance; three persons. The same applies to Christology: two natures; one person. Classifying and distributing are rational processes.

    As for the gentleman's understanding of Calvinism, it is flawed. He uses the word "equal" when speaking of predestination and reprobation. "Equality" only applies to the act of decreeing, not to the things decreed. He has applied equal ultimacy to the things decreed -- predestination and reprobation. Calvinism does not teach this. Moreover, Calvinists teach the doctrine of reprobation on the basis of what God has revealed in holy Scripture. The prophet Isaiah's stone of stumbling and the apostle Paul's vessels of wrath are biblical teachings. Calvinism merely uses reason to categorise and distribute this teaching within the system of theology, noting its inherent connections within special revelation itself. Holy Scripture requires this use of reason when it commands us to "prove" all things and "understand" the will of the Lord.
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
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