A question for the Calvinists

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Winman, Aug 22, 2009.

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  1. Winman

    Winman
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    I have a question for those who consider themselves to be Calvinists, it has been on my mind for some time.

    Now, if I understand Calvinism correctly, men are sinners and can only do evil, and they have no desire or will to do things that please God. According to Calvinism, God must regenerate a lost person to believe. This also works an effect upon the will.

    Now my question.

    Could some of you Calvinists tell of the time you were regenerated please? I mean, this sounds like a dramatic change that a person would surely notice. Did you absolutely hate God and all his ways and then suddenly turned 180 degrees and loved God? Did it happen in a moment or over time? What were the circumstances when this change happened to you? If you can remember when this happened to you, could you please give at least a little detail? I have been very curious about this for some time.

    I did not write this so that I can attack Calvinism, I've done that numerous times on other threads. I am sure some of that will take place by myself and others, but I ask this because I am sincerely curious about if Calvinist's noticed a sudden and abrupt change in their beliefs and attitudes.

    I hope some will respond.
     
  2. Hardsheller

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    Why would a Calvinist's conversion be any different from a NonCalvinist's conversion?

    The Bible says we were all sinners before God saved us.

    The Bible even says we still struggle with sin after we are saved.

    So I guess I don't understand the question.????
     
  3. jcjordan

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    I can definitely remember. I had been divorced, lived with a woman, and then we got married. About a year later, we both read this one evening:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/Resource...e_Believe_About_the_Five_Points_of_Calvinism/

    I'm seriously not kidding. I had heard a little about calvinism....mainly that it was really bad because it taught that Jesus didn't die for every single human being. I was in the process of getting back into church and at that time, I was studying catholicism. Other than that, I don't remember the circumstances what brought me to that particular article. Anyway, I can remember from that point on.....EVERYTHING changed for both of us. I believe that regeneration took place previous to my having saving faith, but the two were practically instantaneous and happened simultaneously. I remember just reading through it all and by the time I was done, my heart had been changed and I went to bed that night knowing for sure for the first time that I was saved. So, to be clear, I think my regeneration caused me to have faith, but the two happened directly one after the other.
     
  4. Winman

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    Thank you JCJordan, that is what I was looking for. Let me ask you a question. Before this time when you believe you were regenerated, did you absolutely hate God and everything about him? I mean, I've known people that despised God and were not afraid to say so. Were you like that?
     
  5. jcjordan

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    Yes...in the sense that I hated the God of the Bible. I did not love the God that I know today. Back then, I would have said that I loved God, but I know now that I didn't. I loved my version of god. Mostly, I loved me.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    Sounds to me like bad methodology. Rather than determining correct doctrine by what God revealed, you want to judge it by what something "sounds like," by other people's experience, and by your own mind.

    Twould be far better to believe the Scriptures. The truth is that for some, regeneration is drastic (such as Paul), and for others it is not as drastic, such as Peter perhaps, or Cornelius, or some others.

    The truth is, as was already pointed out, that regeneration is the same whether you are a Calvinist or not. God doesn't change the way he works, based on a person's belief system about soteriology. So you, an Arminian, were regenerated just like me, a Calvinist, was.
     
  7. Winman

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    I am not an Arminian, I do not believe a Christian can lose their salvation as they do. That is a false argument used by Calvinists. I am just a Bible believer.

    No, I ask this because the Calvinists insist that the lost are in complete rebellion to God in every way. So I wanted to know if this was their experience.

    And I was not regenerated first. I was saved by hearing the word of God, the gospel preached in church when I was a boy. I believed it and asked Jesus to come into my heart as my personal saviour and forgive all my sins. I remember it like it happened yesterday.

    No, I was sincerely curious about how Calvinists got saved.
     
  8. FlyForFun

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    "Calvinists" also believe in "common grace" -- that while there is "total depravity," God's grace allows people to live and enjoy life to some degree even in their rebellion.

    To me, this is very plausible, as it testifies the ever-gracious, loving God who even cares for and blesses complete rebels. It also helps explain how total non-believers can still be nice and even quite lovely.
     
  9. Winman

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    Thank you for that answer, but I am not asking about God, I know that God is good to both the good and the evil.

    Matt 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

    I am asking how Calvinists got saved, and if they were in absolute rebellion to God before they were regenerated and if they remember this change.

    What I am especially curious about is if there was anyone who was saved who had not first heard the gospel.
     
  10. Winman

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    Let me give a hypothetical example of what I am getting at.

    If tomorrow morning Osama Bin Laden came out of his cave somewhere in Pakistan waving an American flag, telling all Islamic terrorists everywhere to put down their arms and embrace the Crusaders, don't you think that would be miraculous? And then if someone asked Bin Laden why he suddenly loved America he said, "I don't know, I just do." Wouldn't that be a notable event? And don't you think that Bin Laden would be aware of this sudden change?

    And this is the way Calvinists portray regeneration. One day they hate God and everything about him, the next day they love him.

    And I am simply asking if any Calvinists here have had that kind of experience. I don't think it unfair to ask this, because this is what Calvinism teaches.
     
  11. Winman

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    JCJordan

    Thanks once again for answering the question. Some here might think this is a "gotcha" thread, but it is not. I am sincerely asking questions that have been on my mind for a while. I am trying to see the viewpoint of Calvinists.
     
  12. jcjordan

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    You're Welcome.
     
    #12 jcjordan, Aug 22, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2009
  13. Winman

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    JCJordan

    My last post for the night, but I am curious. I read much of that article you posted. What was it about that article that caused you to believe on Christ?
     
  14. Hardsheller

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    No I think you have misunderstood what Calvinism teaches. Calvinism agrees with all true Christian Understanding of salvation. Before anyone is saved they are a hell bound sinner. After they are saved they are a heaven bound sinner.

    You are trying to pin something on Calvinism that does not exist.
     
  15. Winman

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    First, I get a little tired of Calvinists saying nobody understands it.

    All I am doing is asking when Calvinists here were regenerated. Were they walking down the street and suddenly the thought occured to them that the Bible was true and that Jesus died for them? Or were the scriptures even necessary?

    JCJordan said he was regenerated while reading the article he posted. I asked what in the article caused him to believe. What is wrong with asking that?

    I am just trying to understand the circumstances of when those who are Calvinists were regenerated.

    So why don't you explain how you were regenerated so that I understand it properly?
     
  16. Hardsheller

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    I was saved when Jesus became real to me in a Revival Service 53 years ago. I had no intention of being saved. I had refused to talk about it with those who had asked me about it. At the close of the service during the invitation I knew I was a sinner and I knew Jesus was my savior. It was like a light switch had been turned on inside of me. I could not refuse so great a salvation because I clearly understood that Jesus Christ had changed my life.
     
  17. OldRegular

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    I am not a Calvinist as I have stated many times but I believe in the Doctrines of Grace or the Sovereignty of God in Salvation, including of course the Doctrine of Sovereign Election. I simply would say that Calvinists, me, and you are all saved the same way, by the Grace of God.
     
  18. OldRegular

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    You have a very distorted view of what some call Calvinism.


    Regeneration is a resurrection from the spiritual death.

    John 5:25, KJV
    25. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

    John Dagg notes [Manual of Theology, pages 277ff] about regeneration:

    “So great is the change produced, that the subject of it is called a new creature as if proceeding, like Adam, directly from the creating hand of God; and he is said to be renewed, as being restored to the image of God, in which man was originally formed”

    2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV
    17. Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

    Dagg further notes:

    “The change is moral. The body is unchanged; and the identity of the mind is not destroyed. The individual is conscious of being the same person that he was before; but a new direction is given to the active powers of the mind, and new affections are brought into exercise. The love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost. No love to God had previously existed there; for the carnal heart is enmity against God. Love is the fulfilling of the law, the principle of all holy obedience; and when love is produced in the heart, the law of God is written there. As a new principle of action, inciting to a new mode of life, it renders the man a new creature. The production of love in the heart by the Holy Spirit, is the regeneration, or the new birth; for he that loveth, is born of God.”

    “The mode in which the Holy Spirit effects this change, is beyond our understanding. All God's ways are unsearchable; and we might as well attempt to explain how he created the world, as how he new-creates the soul. With reference to this subject, the Saviour said, The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.[John 3:8, KJV] We know, from the Holy Scriptures, that God employs his truth in the regeneration of the soul. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.[James 1:18, KJV] Love to God necessarily implies knowledge of God, and this knowledge it is the province of truth to impart. But knowledge is not always connected with love. The devils know, but do not love; and wicked men delight not to retain the knowledge of God, because their knowledge of him is not connected with love. The mere presentation of the truth to the mind, is not all that is needed, in producing love to God in the heart.”


    God through the richness of His grace has granted to His elect spiritual life so that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in [His] kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. [Ephesians 2:7]

    I don't see anything in the above that support your faulty understanding of regeneration. Incidentally, whether you believe it or not, every person saved is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, as Jesus Christ teaches in John 3:8, and then given the gift of faith, as He again teaches in Ephesians 2:8.
     
  19. annsni

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    Well, I was a child when I came to know the Lord as my Savior but I still think it was a pretty big change (not that I was bad then got better but my heart changed). I was just 7 years old and was raised Catholic. My mother was saved the week before and after reading the New Testament in that week, she realized that she was saved but the rest of the family were not. She came to my bedroom where my younger brother and I were playing and she gave us the Gospel and asked what our response was. Now growing up Catholic, I had heard a lot of what she had said before and it was boring to me. I didn't like going to church but it was just what we did. I certainly didn't "hate" God but He was a .... an obligation - a tradition. But there was something about that day that I just HAD to respond to Jesus in a way that I never did before. While I was still very little, I knew there was something different about me. Now I really wanted to learn more about God. A few days later, I asked for a Bible from my mom and I wanted to be around other people who were Christians. Even as little as I was, I knew there was something different - a change in me that was not my doing. I certainly wasn't perfect after that and I still fought God through the years - but there was most definitely a change in my heart that day in January, 1973.

    Does that help?
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    Actually, arminianism does not always believe one can lose their salvation. In terms of comparison, the line is drawn through unconditional election. If you affirm it, you are a Calvinist, or Calvinistic. If you deny it, you are Arminian, or Arminianistic.

    Obviously not, or you would believe what I believe, because I am a Bible believer. :D ... Obviously, you can see the uselessness of that designation in this discussion. Everyone claims to believe the Bible.

    I htink perhaps you don't understand. Calvinism teaches that man is in complete rebellion but that he experiences God's common grace so that he is not as bad as he could be.

    How do you know this?

    Sounds like you were regenerated first, since there is no way you could have heard and understood and believed without it. At least that's what most Calvinists would say. As I said above, you may deny regeneration, but you still participate in it.

    The same way anyone gets saved. By believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
     
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