Opposed to reality? I've shown you articles from well known Calvinists that admit assurance is a big prOBlem among Calvinists. That IS reality. These are not articles written by their opponents, but Calvinists themselves.
Sure, folks from all different beliefs doubt their salvation from time to time, but it is especially prevalent among Calvinists, and I can understand why. If I was taught that only a regenerated elect person can truly believe, then I would want to know if I am one of those elect persons. Otherwise, my faith could be completely false, how am I to know? And this is exactly what Calvinists themselves have written.
It may surprise you to know that just about every contact I have had with people who are doubting their salvation are Calvinistic in their theology. In other words, they believe in unconditional election. These are the ones who believe in perseverance of the saints. These are the ones that believe that we cannot lose our salvation! Yet these are the ones who are doubting their faith the most.
Their issue has to do with their election. Are they truly among the elect? If they are, they believe their faith will persevere until the end. But if they are not, there is no hope. But how are they to know for sure whether they are elect? Maybe their faith is a stated faith? Maybe it is false. The gentleman I talked to today was so riddled with doubt, he was having thoughts of suicide. “How do I know my faith is an elect faith?” He wanted assurance so badly, but felt that his Calvinistic theology prevented him from ever having such assurance.
Isn’t this ironic? I have never had a call from an Arminian (or any other believer in conditional election) about this. In my experience, it is only Calvinists who doubt their faith in this way, with such traumatic devastation. Why?
This was written by a well known Calvinist blogger who answers questions for Calvinists. He says that the folks who have the greatest prOBlem with assurance are Calvinists. They don't know how to know they are elect, and they don't know how to know their faith is real saving faith. This is the natural consequence of teaching folks that only regenerated elect persons have the ability to believe. Unfortunately, these folks are listening to you.
Just because you go to church or read the Bible doesn't mean you are saved, the folks in Matthew 7 called Jesus "Lord, Lord" (Lordship Salvation), they preached in Jesus's name, cast out devils in his name, and did many wonderful works in Jesus's name, and yet they were completely lost. So the fact that you do certain works or have certain religious feelings does not prove you are saved.
So how do you know you are elect and that your faith is real?
How can you know you are elect if Jesus did not die for everyone? Is your name on a list somewhere?
You may not know of any Calvinists who lack assurance, but I promise you there are thousands of them. Even John Piper said he struggles with assurance.
The most agonizing prOBlem about the assurance of salvation is not the prOBlem of whether the OBjective facts of Christianity are true (God exists, Christ is God, Christ died for sinners, Christ rose from the dead, Christ saves forever all who believe, etc.). Those facts are the utterly crucial bedrock of our faith. But the really agonizing prOBlem of assurance is whether I personally am saved by those facts.
This boils down to whether I have saving faith. What makes this agonizing - for many in the history of the church and today - is that there are people who think they have saving faith but don't. For example, in Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'"
So the agonizing question for some is: do I really have saving faith? Is my faith real? Am I self-deceived? Some well-intentioned people try to lessen the prOBlem by making faith a mere decision to affirm certain truths, like the truth: Jesus is God, and he died for my sins. Some also try to assist assurance by denying that any kind of life-change is really necessary to demonstrate the reality of faith. So they find a way to make James 2:17 mean something other than what is seems to mean: "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead." But these strategies to help assurance backfire. They deny some Scripture; and even the minimal faith they preserve can be agonized over and doubted by the tormented soul. They don't solve the prOBlem, and they lose truth. And, perhaps worst of all, they sometimes give assurance to people who should not have it.
This is one of Calvinism leaders, and he is not sure he has saving faith. This is the result of teaching people that they do not have the ability to believe.
I put this to Winman back near the beginning of this thread when he was arguing (as he maintains) that if God only died for an elect few then it is impossible to know that one is saved. At the time I argued that whether salvation is offered to all or a few is irrelevent to individual knowledge of salvation given that both Calvinists and non-Calvinists maintain that the evidence of salvation for the individual is what's seen 'at this end' as it were, i.e. what one sees and hears, what one confesses to, what they believe in, and what happens to them. Calvinists, like non-Calvinists, believe that true believers will show fruits of salvation.
(As far as I can see the only people who can say that the offer of salvation to all is in itself evidence that a given individual is saved are universalists, because they believe that Jesus dying on the cross means all will be saved.)
Winman responded to my argument by saying yes but Calvinists can't rely on the fruits of salvation because Calvin teaches 'evanescent grace', which is the idea that God engineers it so that the unsaved can appear to be saved, both to themselves and to others, meaning that according to Calvinism we can't tell the difference between real and fake salvation.
I didn't have time to respond to Winman at the time, but since this bit of the debate has popped up again I'll do it now.
I don't see how 'evanescent grace' supports the argument that Calvinists can't believe they are saved because of limited atonement, since it has nothing to do with limited atonement. It's actually a completely different argument for why Calvinists apparently can't know they are saved. This is demonstrated by the fact that if Calvinists didn't believe in limited atonement but did believe in evanescent grace, the argument that they couldn't know they were saved because of evanescent grace would be unaffected.
So what about 'evanescent grace' itself then? Well, if a Calvinist does believe in it then I can see how that would lead them to ask 'how do I know whether my salvation experience was real or fake'?
Thing is, non-Calvinists say pretty much the same thing. They don't attribute authorship of 'fake salvation' to God but they do maintain that you can think you're saved and appear to show fruit when actually you're not saved, so the effect on the individual is equivalent.
There are two reasons why Calvinists cannot know they are elect. First, if you believe in Limited Atonement, you cannot positively know Jesus died for you.
If you asked a Calvinist, "Did Jesus die for you?", they will say YES. I would then ask, "How do you know?" The only answer they have is, "Because I believe"
That is not proof that Jesus died for you, folks believe false things all the time. Like I said, you can believe a gun is empty and put it to your head and pull the trigger, and you will kill yourself. This is in fact how the famous guitarist for the band Chicago died. He put a gun to his head, and a friend said, "Be careful". He said, "Don't worry, it's not loaded!". He then pulled the trigger and killed himself instantly. If Jesus did not die for everybody, you have no possible way to know he died for you, that is impossible. Just because you believe it does not make it true.
And if Calvin was correct, you cannot even know if your faith is real. Calvinists are taught that unregenerated men cannot believe, and that they cannot even understand spritual matters. How in the world can they know what faith is? To complicate this, Calvin taught that God deceives many persons with an "evanescent faith" that seems so real that the person is deceived. Now how in the world can you know if your faith is real if this is true?
Calvinism is designed to make people doubt, not believe. And it is a fact that Calvinists doubt their salvation more than any other Christian groups. That is a FACT.
Here is what a well known Calvinist wrote on his blog concerning Calvinism and assurance of salvation:
See for yourself, google "how can I know I am elect?" and you will see dozens of Calvinists who are not certain they are elect. And if Limited Atonement is true, they are correct, there is no way to know if Jesus really died for them, or if their faith is even real.
No 5 point Calvinist can know they are elect. If Limited Atonement is true, then Christ did not die for the vast majority of people. Their sins have NOT been paid for. It doesn't matter what these persons believe. They can believe Jesus died for them, but if he did not, their faith is vain, and they shall perish in their sins.
Your faith does not determine reality. Paul himself shows this in 1 Corinthians chapter 15;
1 Cor 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
1 Cor 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
Do you understand what Paul is teaching here? Paul is saying that if Jesus did not in reality rise from the dead, then even if you believe Jesus rose from the dead your faith is vain, and you will die in your sins.
Likewise, if Jesus did not die for you personally, the fact that you have convinced yourself he did will not save you. He either died for you or he didn't, your faith does not determine reality.
You could believe a pistol is empty and put it to your head and pull the trigger, if it is loaded it will blow your head off.
No 5 point Calvinist can possibly know for a certainty they are elect. Ask them who the elect are, they will tell you they don't know. But then they contradict themselves and claim they know they are elect. That is impossible, they cannot know that either.
Just because they have convinced themselves they are elect does not make it so.
Nice theory, but that is all it is, your personal theory without a word of scripture to support it.
The angels were created, we are directly told Satan was created in Ezekiel 28;
Eze 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
This has to be Satan, because he was in the garden of Eden. We are told he was perfect in his ways from the day he was created TILL iniquity was found in him.
This is why Genesis 1:31 refutes the Gap Theory, because God saw "every thing he had made" and behold, it was very good. This was the sixth day, and Satan had not rebelled yet.
I think you are making a big unsupported assumption that the angels were created before everything else that was created in Genesis 1.
Psa 148:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.
2 Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.
3 Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.
4 Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.
6 He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:
8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word:
9 Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:
10 Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:
The angels are included with everything else we are told were created in Genesis 1 here, the sun, moon, stars, the heavens, the waters above the heavens, the mountains, hills, trees, beasts and cattle, creeping things, etc...
These are all the things we are told were created in Genesis 1, but here the angels are included among them. This argues this is speaking of one creation event.
Gen 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
On the sixth day God looked and saw "every thing" he had made, and behold, it was "very good". Satan and the fallen angels had not rebelled against God yet, so it is impossible there was a gap with rebellion and death between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2.
Believing does not guarantee he is one of the elect. Calvin taught that God often deceives the non-elect with an "evanescent grace" that completely deceives them. They believe and feel they are true believers but are not.
And if Limited Atonement is true, then no man can know for a certainty he is one of the elect. If Jesus did not die for you personally, your faith is completely vain and will not save you.
You do not know if you are elect, it is impossible for anyone who believes in Limited Atonement to know if they are elect, even if they believe. If Jesus did not die for you personally, then it does not matter if you believe on him, your faith is vain.
The only person who can know they are saved is someone who knows for a certainty that Jesus died for him personally, and that he has trusted this work of Jesus on his behalf to save him.