a thread for Calvinists

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ashleysdad, May 28, 2009.

  1. ashleysdad

    ashleysdad
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    Okay, I know that this is a hot topic here on the BB. I have not done much posting but I have spent a lot of time reading the threads and the posts and I have noticed that the topic of Calvinism vs Freewill tends to spark much heated debate. My purpose in asking this question is not so much to debate but to try to get some information. I will admit that I am a freewiller (is that even a word)? Anyway, with the exception of the acrostic TULIP and the basic idea that according to Calvinism God chooses who will be saved and who wont be saved I really don't know much about what Calvinism teaches. I have been spending more time looking at this and while I am not close to moving from free will to Calvinism, I am starting to see it in a different light. One of the questions that I have is this, lets say that I am one of the ones that God has not chosen for salvation, according to Calvinism regardless of what I choose or desire there is no chance of me getting saved (again, I freely admit that I do not know much about this teaching so if this is NOT true please correct me this is my understanding of it however). If I am not chosen for salvation, what impact will hearing a gospel message have on me? Will I experience conviction? A desire for salvation? Or will it basically have no impact and I will simply reject it and go on my way. What I have a hard time with is the thought that a person could hear a message be convicted of their sins and cry out for a savior to no avail. If any of my Calvinist brothers could correct any misconceptions that I might have about this teaching as well as provide any information I would appreciate it. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Allan

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    While I am not a Calvinist, though I do understand the Calvinistic view, I will tell you this about your question. It is no different than the answer you would give regarding those who call out to God for salvation.

    No one will cry out for salvation an NOT be saved.
    A difference between your view and their view is that only those whom God is working on will call out and in fact are going to that He might save them only - His elect.

    Now in relation to the other parts such as conviction or desire here is a brief summation - Some will tell you 'No' and some 'yes' but with some qualification however in either case the reason, in their view, a person does not do anything with it is because God has not given them faith in order to choose beyond their natural state which is dead. (In their veiw, dead is take in the wooden-literal sense and thus you are unable to respond)
     
    #2 Allan, May 28, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2009
  3. zrs6v4

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    I think your questions are good and dont worry about not understanding : )According to the entirety of Romans chapter 9 as I see it, Grace is a complete act of God in which He has mercy and compassion on a few which they didnt deserve at all. On the other hand all of us deserve a "just" perfect judgment which results in eternal torment. Basically the desires we have when God's Spirit is at work are not simply wanting to not go to hell. The desires of our coming to Christ freely in need of Mercy is probably a more accurate way of stating the result of God's inner work. The issue is that nobody naturally desires God so nobody seeks Him or comes. God's grace is an act of a saving mission to a chosen people- see John 10, Romans chapter 8/ Ephesians 1 and 2/ Romans 3 and Romans 9 for starters. When we see our sin and our desire is for mercy, putting our trust and hope in Jesus then God has been at work.
    Total Depravity, means that we are dead in our sin refer back to Ephesians 2. Basically when left alone from the work of the Spirit, we dont respond in any righteous way that is pleasing to God- Romans 8. We are completely, 100% sinners who are totally lost and not just mostly. We need God 100% to lead us into anything good.
    Yes, the reason we experience conviction is because God secretly reveals aspect of our sinful nature in which we were/are blind and somehow gives us a desire to deny them and love Him in faith.
    Well I would say based on certain passages that a desire to be saved from Hell isnt always an evidence of the Spirit at work. Many people desire to be saved and are not because there faith was not saving faith. I dont mean that anyone who truly comes under the drawing of the Spirit will be denied, but rather our desires are selfish and apart from the Spirit revealing things can be very decieving. So a true desire for mercy based on the understanding and reality of sin would be a good indication of faith apart from works.

    Hopefully Im touching on some of your questions, but its not that God rejects people He truly convicts. He rather accepts all He truly convicts and another way would be called God's drawing/calling. We basically believe when God is truly at work calling someone then they will always come and if they dont come freely then they were not truly called. See John 10

    There are many terms that need to be touched on to clearly give a proper view of Calvinism/grace doctrine/reformed view. Please keep asking questions and if I am not here to get deeper into with you then I hope someone else will be willing. It seems like your beginning to scrape the surface.

    -Zach, Psalm 1 and 119
     
  4. Tom Butler

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    Finally, a non-Calvinist who correctly characterizes Calvinism. Thanks, Allan.
     
  5. ashleysdad

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    I aprreciate all the answers and information that I have been given thus far. I grew up in a church that believed that we all have free will to accept or reject salvation. Lately, I have been revisiting that concept. I think we get hung up on words and lose sight of the ideas. When a person hears that God chooses some to be saved and some to be lost they tend to focus on the fairness or unfairness of it. What is lost is that unless God through the Holy Spirit convicts a persons heart there is no salvation regardless if you are freewill or calvinist. Also we believe that God is omniscient, given that fact I am starting to wonder about freewill. If God knows who is or is not going to be saved before that person is born than in reality by allowing a person to be born knowing they will reject the Gospel is in a sense predestination. A person getting saved will not suprise God, so where is the freewill. I guess you could say that I am starting to sway in my view points a little.
     
  6. OldRegular

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    In the doctrine that some call Calvinism, what I call the Doctrines of Grace, we see the Grace of GOD sublimely revealed in the sovereignty of GOD.

    The doctrine of the sovereignty of God in Salvation is clearly expressed in the Covenant of Grace. This Covenant, an eternal covenant, is best understood as a covenant in which the three Divine Persons in the Godhead co-operate in man’s salvation [Psalms 2:8; 40: 6-8; 59:3; Isaiah 49: 3-12; John 17:6; Hebrews 13:20; Titus 1:2] and is summarized as follows:

    1. God the Father foreknew and chose a people to be His own before the foundation of the world [Ephesians 1:4].

    2. God the Son agrees to humble Himself, take upon Himself the form of man, and die on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of those whom the Father has chosen to salvation so that none are lost [John 17; Philippians 2:6-10].

    3. God the Holy Spirit agrees to apply the work of the Son to those chosen by God the Father and who regenerates and effectually calls those whom God the Father has chosen unto salvation [John 6: 37, 44; Ephesians 2:1-10].


    We must not think that this Covenant of Grace was preceded by a proposal of terms by one person of the Triune Godhead followed by deliberation prior to acceptance or rejection of the proposal by the other persons of the Triune Godhead. God is One and the nature of the Godhead is such that perfect harmony, in fact, unity of thought must exist within the Triune Godhead.

    Holy Scripture is the story of the outworking of the Covenant of Grace in time and history. Though there is one Covenant of Grace [and many subsidiary covenants] there have been two primary administrations of the Covenant, one before the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ and one after His death and resurrection. The first administration as recorded in the Old Testament dealt in types and shadows of things to come [Colossians 2:17, Hebrews 8:5 and 10:1]; the second administration, as recorded in the New Testament, presents the spiritual reality of that which was promised. This second administration was instituted by the death of Jesus Christ [Hebrews 7:14-28] and is the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise of a New Covenant [Jeremiah 31:31-33, Hebrews 8:6-13]. The elect of God have, since the fall of Adam, received the blessings of the Covenant solely through the Grace of God.

    The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1677 [Lumpkin, page 259] defines the Covenant of Grace as follows:

    “The distance between God and the creature is so great that, although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto Him as their Creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part [Luke 17:7-10; Job 35:7,8] which He hath been pleased to express, by way of Covenant.

    Moreover man, having brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall [Genesis 2:17; Galatians 3:10; Romans 3:20, 21], it pleased the Lord to make a Covenant of Grace wherein He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved [Romans 8:3; Mark 16:15, 16; John 3:16]; and promising to give unto all those that they ordained unto eternal life, His Holy Spirit to make them willing and able to believe [Ezekiel 36:26, 27; John 6:44, 45; Psalm 110:3].

    This Covenant is revealed in the Gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of woman [Genesis 3:15], and afterwards by further steps until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament [Hebrews 1:1]; and it is founded in that eternal Covenant transaction [2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2] that was between the Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect; and it is alone by the grace of this Covenant that all of the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved [Hebrews 11:6, 13; Romans 4:1, 2; Acts 4:12; John 8: 56] did obtain life and a blessed immortality; man being utterly uncapable of acceptance with God upon those terms on which Adam stood in his state of innocency.”


    The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Rome clearly defines the sovereignty of God in salvation:

    Romans 1:16, KJV
    16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    That the sovereignty of God is active in the salvation of the elect is demonstrated in the following Scripture.

    Romans 8:28-30, KJV
    28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
    29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
    30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.


    Ephesians 1:3-7, KJV
    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
    4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
    5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
    6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
    7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;


    Ephesians 2:1-8, KJV
    1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
    2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
    3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
    4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
    5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
    6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
    7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
    8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:


    Philippians 2:6-8, KJV
    6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
    7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
    8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.


    1 Peter 1:18,19, KJV
    18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
    19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:


    John 16:13-15, KJV
    13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
    14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
    15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.


    From this sampling of many such Scripture we see the affirmation of the Covenant of Grace:

    1. It is God the Father who foreknew and chose His people before the foundation of the world [Ephesians 1:4].
    2. It is God the Father who predestinated that His people would be conformed to the image of His Son that they might be adopted as His children [Ephesians 1: 5] and become heirs and joint heirs with Jesus Christ [Romans 8: 16, 17].
    3. It is God the Son who humbles Himself, take upon Himself the form of man, Jesus Christ, and sheds His blood on a Roman cross to pay the penalty for the sins of those whom the Father has chosen to salvation [John 17; Philippians 2:6-10].
    4. It is God the Holy Spirit, who applies the work of the Jesus Christ to those chosen by God unto salvation so that none are lost [John 6: 37, 39, 40, 44].
    5. It is the Triune God who, in time, will regenerate, call, justify, and glorify those whom He chose to Salvation before the foundation of the world, therefore, they can never fall away or lose that Salvation [Romans 8:28-30].


    The Holy Scriptures from the first words in the book of Genesis, In the beginning God created to the last words in the book of Revelation, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you all. Amen, are a testimony to the sovereignty of God. By sovereignty is meant, not simply the omnipotence of God, but the exercise of that omnipotence, as HE chooses, in the governing of all things. Similarly, from the shedding of blood to provide a covering for the nakedness of Adam and Eve, to the birth of Jesus Christ - God the Son, His death and resurrection, and finally to the declaration of His return in power and glory, Scripture clearly declares the sovereignty of God in salvation. God not only takes the initiative in salvation but completes that good work.

    Philippians 1:6, KJV
    6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:
     
  7. Allan

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    I am glad to see that you are wanting to look into more than you told. We are command in scripture to study to show 'ourselves' approved.

    I would state this however, do not just get one side of any issue or doctrine. It appears that you have been in church but have never really studied what you believe or it 'appears' that maybe your church(es?) did not do a good job in teaching 'why' they believe 'what they believe.

    Take predestination for instance.
    No non-calvinist will not deny predestination is scriptural but what is typically disagreed upon is what it 'entails'. Therefore the 'term' is 'predestination' is tied (incorrectly) to a particular view of a particular doctrine and so it causes much confusion to many.

    Summation of the the main views of predestination:
    The Calvinist hold that God chose some people to save and then gave only them what would be needed to make sure they would be saved (not including Gods part in conviction and calling on both views). The other view (no-cal view) is typically that the chosen of God are those whom God foreknew or knew before-hand would believe. In Calvinism/Reformed/doctrines of grace you have God determining who He would choose save first (not based upon anything we do including believe) and now that they have been chosen he then would give them faith and repentence to ensure their salvation. In the other you have God choosing to save those whom He knows will believe due to His working in their lives. That is the basic gist of two of the view.


    That is just an example to understand that we don't necessarily disagree on the immutable Truths but it is more mechanics of how those truths operate regarding the operation of salvation (soterology).

    However, I encourage you in your study and will quote you a paraphrase of passsage of scripture - be persuaded in your own mind.. Just because many people believe something and even great and God-fearing teachers of scriptures teach somethng, do not think they are right in it, but find out for yourself, not just 'what' to believe but 'why' we are to believe it.

    For myself I have found many of the views of Calvinism true and others I disagree with. I have friends to do not hold to much of anything resembling them and others who are ardent 5 point Calvinists. The point is do not let what you learn seperate you from other believers eithers no matter what view you settle upon.

    (NOTE: The 5 points are not all that is involved in Calvinism but they are the basics of the beliefs)
     
    #7 Allan, May 29, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2009
  8. Allan

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    OldRegular, did you write the above or copy it?
    If copied please cite the sourse
     
  9. OldRegular

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    I can't cite the sourse but I will cite the sources where appropriate.

    I did not write the Scripture cited. God did and I gave Him proper credit. I did not write the quotation from the London Baptist Confession and I gave proper credit. The rest is my own writing as far as I am aware. This post is excerpted from some material that I wrote 6-8 years ago in a much larger treatise on the Sovereignty of God in Salvation.

    I am sure that the three elements of the Covenant of Grace are not original with me. A similar wording is found in Richard P. Belcher's book, Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology, though they certainly are not original with him either. I have expanded considerably on the wording Belcher used. [I suspect these three elements have been around since sometime after the Reformation. Who the original author is, if there is one, I have no idea. Do you?]

    May I say that I do not plagiarize. If you can find anything in the post, extracted verbatim, that I have not properly referenced I will humbly apologize.

    In anything I write I am careful to assign credit for the information presented. As one studies the writings of other people on a given subject it is only natural that a phrase or a bit of information be impressed on the readers mind. Such information may later be repeated with no knowledge of the original source and therefore no means of bestowing proper credit and certainly no intent to plagiarize.

    I suspect that all, including you, who read are going to recall and use a thought or phrase that you have read somewhere without giving credit.
     
  10. Allan

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    I wasn't accusing you of anything. It was well written and an interesting raead so I was simply asking if you wrote or if it was from some material you had at your disposal - that was all :)
     
  11. saturneptune

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    It was a very well written and thought out post. As far as giving credit, I am sure we have all missed that at times, and while we are suppose to give credit here, it must be remembered this is a chat board. It is not like we are publishing a book or submitting legal documents to a court, or writing a thesis for college.
     
  12. blackbird

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    **Moderator note**

    Be advised------although noone is accusing Old Regular of any sort of wrong--------posters MUST be aware of the USER AGREEMENT rules and stipulations

    I would advise any poster to reread Paragraph #5 under the USER AGREEMENT found in Baptist Board rules which speaks of the use of copywrited material!!

    If you are copying from a book----or any sort of reading material---please site the source

    Blackbird
    Moderator
     
  13. ashleysdad

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    Allan, you are right the church I spent most of my time in taught from certain view points but never really explained why they held those views, I had considered myself fairly literate in scripture knowledge until I started to read some of the threads here on BB, that was when I realized how much I don't know and started to study again. As far as what you said about finding out the why not just the what of things that we believe that is what led to me really starting to question freewill vs calvinism. Like I said before I am not in a position yet that I am ready to move from one camp to the other but I do want to know more about it. I appreciate greatly your insight as well as everyone elses. I also appreciate everyone bearing with me as I ask questions that may seem a bit basic. I believe as a Christian that there are definitely issues that would call for us to break fellowship with people but I don't think that this is one of those issues. Thank you again to everyone!
     
  14. OldRegular

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    I cited my sources. If you can find the original human source of the three elements of the Covenant of Grace then you have found a treasure. I could argue successfully that the original source of these three elements are found in Scripture, though not in such a concise manner; since the Scripture I quoted, again giving proper credit to GOD as the source, support those three elements. I deleted a few to keep within the 10,000 character limit.

    As I said the post in question was extracted from a treatise I wrote 6-8 years ago. I would be happy to post the entire document but it is some 70 pages long.

    May I say that I strongly resent the implication in the posts by you and Allan that I have presented the work of someone else as my own.
     
  15. Allan

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    Then it is apparent you didn't read the post you are commenting on nor the other posts in the thread, go back and read and you will find you have no reason to 'strongly resent' anything.
     
  16. OldRegular

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    Allan have I ever ask you if you wrote something or copied it? NO!
     
  17. Allan

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    Read post #10. It appears you might need to take your emotions off your sleave or maybe just a take a break for a while. You seem overly touchy lately.
     
    #17 Allan, May 30, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2009
  18. webdog

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    Let me give you a little help in the reading comprehension department. Allan said...
    I wasn't accusing you of anything. It was well written and an interesting read so I was simply asking if you wrote or if it was from some material you had at your disposal - that was all :)
     
  19. OldRegular

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    A little help in getting the whole story. Go back and read post 8.
     
  20. OldRegular

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    My apologies to all for my short fuse. Guess I am spending too much time on the Politics Forum.

    OldRegular
     

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