By Earl E. Robertson
The field of writing and preaching, discussing and debating, “What must I do to be saved” is most preponderant. The creeds of men covering this subject have beclouded rather than given light. The doctrines of men cause misunderstanding of truth. The world is not divided over what the Bible says, the division exists over what. it does not say! This fact is easily observed in every religious division.
In the early part of the 16th century, John Calvin wrote a very definitive work, Institutes of The Christian Religion, which was presented to the Monarch Francis, King of France. In this work, he established the rive fundamental erroneous doctrines which today permeate nearly every denomination. Many other errors in denominational religion stern from these five cardinal doctrines. When one’s course is cast on a false premise his conclusions necessarily will be false, too. Any proposition, therefore, not antecedently proved, being used as the basis of a religious position, must lead to a false conclusion. Calvin is the father of these doctrines: (1) Total inherited depravity; (2) Unconditional election; (3) Limited atonement; (4) Irresistible grace; (5) Perseverance of the saints. The denominational manuals, disciplines, and articles of faith all teach these doctrines, plus others which stem from these.
These doctrines were embraced in the Philadelphia Confession Of Faith, and accepted by the Baptists in September 1742. These doctrines have often been restated in the later manuals and disciplines – even to the present. There was a time in the last century and the first part of this one that the proponents of these doctrines would affirm and defend them in public debate. But defeat after defeat caused retreat. The Methodist Discipline reversed its position in 1910. Its position until that date was “all men are conceived and born in sin” (Discipline, 1894, p. 200, Article 439). But the Discipline for 1910 says, “‘All men are heirs of life eternal.” Others have made no doctrinal change and, in their own way, continue to teach inherited depravity, total in its nature and concept. This obnoxious doctrine, thrust into the lime-light by Calvin, originated perhaps in the fourth century with Augustine. The old confession basically states it this way: “From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.”
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 19, p. 592
October 6, 1983