Campbellite Objections to Calvinism - Jack Cottrell

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Freshman
I enjoyed writing out some Lutheran attacks on Reformed theology by Dr. Jordan Cooper and sharing some thoughts on them, so I thought I would do it again. I have a few books from my family's time in a Restoration church (Pelagianism & Baptismal Regeneration) when I was very young (infancy to six years old). I thought it would be interesting to deal with some arguments against Reformed theology found in these books. They're quite explicit about it, especially "The Holy Spirit" by Dr. Jack Cottrell, who actually received a Master's degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. I'll outline his points and quote a bit, and I'll also respond. He also explains the Calvinist view of regeneration quite well.

1. Calvinists believe "that every sinner is totally depraved and therefore must be supernaturally caused to believe by an irresistible act of the Holy Spirit." Every child is conceived and born into a state of total depravity. No one has free will in the sense of an ability to respond to the gospel. The only way for any one to be saved is for God to supernaturally cause sinners to believe and repent.
2. "We must without hesitation or qualification reject this Calvinistic view." Sinners have the free will to accept or reject the gospel. When he accepts he is especially influenced by the Spirit of God. God's working is always universal and resistible, not selective and irresistible.

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1. I think his explanation of Calvinist thought on this topic is representative of this doctrine quite well. I agree with everything in his explanation.

2. None of what Dr. Cottrell writes about Calvinism includes Scriptural references. The doctrine that God's working and grace is always universal, resistible, and non-selective is not found in Holy Scripture. Rather, Christ refers to the need for God to open the eyes of sinners to understand the kingdom of God: Mark 4:11-12. Christ's prayers for the church are specific and selective, noticeably not universal: John 17:6-9. This Restoration doctrine is also a denial of the writings of the Apostle Paul, namely Ephesians 1:4-5, Ephesians 1:11-14, Ephesians 2:1-8, Romans 8. Romans 9 debunks Dr. Cottrell's view of the universality of God's grace on men. Perhaps soon I'll dive into Dr. Cottrell's chapter on conversion, and how he posits that the moment of regeneration is only tied to baptism.
 
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W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Freshman
Are there any classic Reformed works against Campbellites you know of?
I know of no official work, however any Reformed writings against Pelagianism of any kind and baptismal regeneration would apply. Their baptism doctrine is a bit different than the Lutheran or Roman view however. You must be immersed and must be confessing. You are unsaved until you come out of the waters. Therefore, all Christians that were baptized by pouring or sprinkling are going to Hell.
 
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W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Freshman
If read with caution, Nevin and Schaff's comments on sectarianism would apply here.
I am unfamiliar with their comments. Were my comments tending toward sectarianism? I do admit that I should revise my refutation. It sounds a bit rude.

Edit: I now revised the refutation I wrote, as I felt it not only sounded a bit rude but also informal, which was not my goal. I desire for Dr. Cottrell's unorthodox views to be attacked, not him personally.
 
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arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
I am unfamiliar with their comments. Were my comments tending toward sectarianism? I do admit that I should revise my refutation. It sounds a bit rude.

Edit: I now revised the refutation I wrote, as I felt it not only sounded a bit rude but also informal, which was not my goal. I desire for Dr. Cottrell's unorthodox views to be attacked, not him personally.
He was talking about the sectarianism of the Restorationists in general, not you.
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Freshman
He was talking about the sectarianism of the Restorationists in general, not you.
I thought that might be so, but I am still glad I revised my comments a bit.

Yes, I would call the condemnation of all Christians who were baptized by pouring or sprinkling to Hell quite a sectarianism one. A sad one as well.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I am unfamiliar with their comments. Were my comments tending toward sectarianism? I do admit that I should revise my refutation. It sounds a bit rude.

Edit: I now revised the refutation I wrote, as I felt it not only sounded a bit rude but also informal, which was not my goal. I desire for Dr. Cottrell's unorthodox views to be attacked, not him personally.
You're fine. Restorationist groups are sectarian.
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
Aside from the Campbellite teaching on baptism, otherwise I think his objections may essentially be Arminian objections. His contribution to the B&H "Perspectives on Election" book is termed "The Classical Arminian View."
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
The sad thing, historically, about Thomas Campbell is that he started off in the Original Secession Church (Auld Light Antiburger Seceders). He subscribed the Westminster Confession without exception at his ordination. After he emigrated to the US, he threw off all historical development of theology and the witness of the Church of Jesus Christ (and the Spirit through the Church), and sought to restore the church to its Apostolic foundations, based on a naive reading of the Scriptures. This began, reportedly, with a grief over the denominational divisions among Christians.
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
The sad thing, historically, about Thomas Campbell is that he started off in the Original Secession Church (Auld Light Antiburger Seceders). He subscribed the Westminster Confession without exception at his ordination. After he emigrated to the US, he threw off all historical development of theology and the witness of the Church of Jesus Christ (and the Spirit through the Church), and sought to restore the church to its Apostolic foundations, based on a naive reading of the Scriptures. This began, reportedly, with a grief over the denominational divisions among Christians.
In between that time, Thomas and Alexander Campbell became Baptists and fomented controversy in at least two associations once their views became apparent.
 
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