Friday, February 15, 2008

Nelson Price's attack on John Calvin.

It is a worrying fact to us that many Freewillers think that they are doing God service by attacking great men of God of the past. Nelson Price has joined this group in attacking the character of John Calvin.
Let us state first that we have not recieved our teaching from John Calvin but from the Bible. We do however feel that the saints of God are worthy at least of honour for their works of faith. 'Not unto us' is our motto, but equally to defame a man of God is a serious act. In fact we would go so far as to say that to speak evil of any man is a serious matter. Yet Dr. Price and his ilk carelessly defame Calvin without a second thought. The truth of the doctrines commonly called Calvinism does not depend on the character of John Calvin, any more than the truth or otherwise of Arminianism depends on the character of Jacob Arminius. At the same time it is a serious matter to libel any one of God's servants.

These attacks on Calvin consist of three parts. First of all, the good Calvin did is forgotten. Dave Hunt has even gone so far as to state that Calvin was an unconverted man, and that his "sudden conversion" was merely intellectual. Secondly all of his mistakes are played up, and his actions are put in the worst possible light. Thirdly outright falsehoods are written. Sometimes these are based on a misunderstanding of genuine facts, others are just lies.
This piece by Dr. Price is not original. Like most of these free-willer attacks it is drawn from the writings of other free-willers, thus perpetuating errors. If they bothered to do some serious research they would very soon discover that some 'facts' they had received are nothing of the sort.
It is not only Calvin who has received such unfair treatment. Jonathan Edwards is well-known to have been the victim of similar misrepresentations. We are in the possession of a dreary book on John Wesley called Wrestling Jacob by Marjorie Bowen (from the 1930s). The book is written in such a way as to make Mr. Wesley appear to have been a joyless fanatic, a man whose death was a great gain to the world. Ms. Bowen has followed just the methods used by these free-willers on Calvin. In short, by such methods even the best of men can be made to appear an ogre!
It is surely a cause for concern that Dr. Price is using the same methods to attack Calvin that are used by liberals and unbelievers!

Some may think that we are defending Calvin because we are Calvinist. This would be untrue. Some years ago it was our privilege to defend John Wesley against the attacks of a 'Calvinist' who denied that the great Methodist leader was a regenerate man. Despite our disagreements with Wesley's theology we are second to none in our admiration of him as a man. So we are defending Calvin as a Christian, and our first concern in the forthcoming series will be Calvin's character, not his theology. We have already exposed Dr. Price's shameful misrepresentation of Reformed theology.

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