Responding to Leighton Flowers Assurance Claims

25. June 2015 21:42 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)
The Assurance of Salvation: And why a consistent Calvinist can’t have it.
Responding to Leighton Flowers
 
I recently listen to a YouTube video produce by Leighton Flowers called “The Assurance of Salvation: And why a consistent Calvinist can’t have it.” Leighton Flowers is a former Calvinist who is passionate about warning others from the errors of Calvinism and even seeking to help others come out of what he believes is a bad systematic theology. 
 
After listening to the video and trying to give it a honest chance at understanding why Leighton Flowers believes that a Calvinist can’t have a assurance of their salvation I was honestly baffled. I even commented on his Facebook page seeking clarity. Leighton replied and we talked back and forth yet I still was confused. 
 
My confusion came because I believe I have a fair understanding of what a Calvinist believe about salvation and having a assurance of that very salvation. Today, June 25, 2015, Leighton actually did a brief podcast and blog post trying to explain himself even further because it was a bit confusing. In this post Leighton says:
 
We must understand that our assurance ultimately rests on three main factors:
 
1.The Sincerity of your Commitment
2.The Genuineness of your Experiences
3.The Trustworthiness of God
 
These three main factors is what he uses to make the claim that Calvinist can’t have real assurance. He explains very thoroughly through his personal experience, testimony, and some insightful analogies. He drills his theory home by saying, “This finally point is why I believe Calvinism cannot logically bring assurance to those who are consistent within it’s systematic…It is a purely logical argument based upon the reality inherent within the deterministic framework.” 
 
This is where I have come to understand where Leighton is coming from. At first I didn’t make the connection because I was focused on what Calvinist acutally teach and preach on the Assurance of Salvation when Leighton was really attacking, as he calls it, the deterministic framework of Calvinism. If one does not know what that means it basically means that a Calvinist believes that God causes all things good or bad. Leighton actually explains it this way, “Calvinists affirm that there are people who sincerely believe they will be saved, but in reality are self-deceived.” See Leighton mixes together determinism, salvation, and the self-deceived and then gives a quote from well known Calvinist John Piper that said, “You can embrace a system of theology and not even be born again”.  He goes on to explain that Calvinist have “a worldview where God determines whatsoever comes to pass, as the Calvinistic scholars affirm, it must be said that those who are self-deceived are such ultimately because God has so determined it. If you happen to be one of the individuals who God has destined to remain in self-deception, falsely believing that you are saved when in actuality you are not, then you could not know this fact until after you were condemned.”
 
So see IF God determines all things in the Calvinist system of theology and God can also cause the self-deceiving of a person then therefore a Calvinist can have a self-deceived salvation with no real assurance of their faith. 
 
Leighton concludes with what what I think is a remarkable view of Calvinism. He says, “the Calvinistic system affirms that God is willing to unchangeably decree and use self-deceived individuals to be objects of divine wrath in order to bring Himself more glory, it is impossible for any consistent Calvinist to be certain that he or she is not one chosen for this ignoble purposes. Believing that you have committed yourself to Christ and have had experiences with him in relationship means nothing if He is not trustworthy toward humanity in general. And because He is proven to be able and willing to decree for others to sincerely believe they are saved, when they really are not, there can be no assurance He is not doing the same with you. There is no way for a consistent Calvinist to know if he has been chosen for self-deception or true salvation.”
 
I say WOW!!! What I believe he does here is really take a bunch of Calvinistic ideas and makes a Mash Potato Theology with it. I personally disagree and believe that Leighton is dead wrong. Here’s my reasons why:
 
First, I believe if the idea is to say that Calvinist systematic theology can’t give assurance why not prove it based on what Calvinist actually teach concerning salvation and assurance of salvation.
 
Secondly, Calvinism is all about Creeds and Confession. Why not quote from the Westminister Catechism, Heidelberg Catechism, or even the 1689 London Baptist and prove from their sources that they cannot have a real assurance. 
 
Thirdly, Calvinism is all about the Scriptures (one thing Leighton’s view leaves out) i.e. Sola Scriputra. In explaining this view Leighton doesn’t actually use any Scripture to make his point. This in my opinion is a wee bit dishonest.
 
Leighton Flowers really wasn’t focusing on assurance but really focusing on his Mash Potato view of Calvinistic determinationism. 
 
I want to try to give a brief response and answer.
 
In the Calvinist system of theology only the elect will go to heaven according to Scripture. In Scripture are there any examples where God in His sovereignty calls a person to self-deception? Is there in Scripture any historical narrative where God deceives period? No, No, No there isn’t. I honestly don’t know or understand where Leighton Flowers gets his Calvinism from. I just simply must say that Leighton’s view is just all wrong. I won’t try to counter what he has said because how do you counter that which is just simply wrong from the beginning. Remember the video isn’t about assurance it’s really about determinism. Leighton seems to be a person who actually doesn’t like verses such as “Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3). That implies that God determines, God saves who He wants, and God does what He wants because He is God.
 
Lastly, Leighton Flowers view of Calvinism is only logical in the vacuum that he creates. I was taught that if a person has to misrepresent your view in order to prove you wrong it’s because they actually have no real defence to your position. Honestly, that really sums up Leighton Flowers. Leighton is so bent on “exposing” Calvinism for what he believes it is that only in his mind is it what he says it is. 
 
Here's my challenge to Leighton Flowers; if you believe that there is no real assurance of salvation in the Calvinistic system of theology then point that out in Calvinistic theology on salvation and assurance the way they actually teach it. If you can’t then don’t falsify Calvinism just so you have something to tear down. 
 
 
Blessing SDG

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About Edward L. Smith

My ministry philosophy would consist of these essentials—a High View of God, the absolute authority of Scripture, Expository Preaching, Sound Doctrine, Personal Holiness, and a Biblical view of spiritual authority. All ministries must be God-Honoring, Christ-Centered, & Gospel Saturated. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

 

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