An Open Response to My "Arminian" Brothers & Sisters

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Rev. G, Nov 7, 2002.

  1. Rev. G

    Rev. G
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    On another thread Chappie stated:
    and
    I told Chappie that I take it from his own words that he has implicitly accused all who are Reformed / "Calvinists" / orthodox Protestants of the following:
    1) Of being idolaters (worshiping a false god, a god other than the true God - YHWH);
    2) Of being heretics (we claim the name of Christ, but our views of soteriology are aberrant);
    3) Of being unconverted (to have eternal life is to know God - Jn. 17:3).

    Other accusations that have been made against "Calvinists" within this forum have been that they/we have libeled God; that they/we have twisted and distorted the Scriptures; that they/we are "false prophets," and the like.

    In spite of our deep disagreements we who are Reformed have never made such derogatory statements about you who are "Arminian." We who are Reformed understand, or at least I hope we do, that these are gravely serious charges made against those who claim the name of Jesus Christ.

    Another thing that is deeply disturbing is the way that many have presented "Calvinism." It has not been presented, a caricature has. To misrepresent the Reformed view out of ignorance is poor, but to continue doing dp after one has had "Calvinism" and the beliefs of "Calvinists" explained to them time after time after time is another issue.

    Those who are "Calvinists", once again:
    * Affirm the existence and activity of the will.
    * Affirm free moral agency.
    * Affirm that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and that it must be proclaimed to all.
    * Affirm that an individual must believe the Gospel / place faith in Christ to be saved.
    * Affirm that those who are sent to Hell are sent for their own wickedness and rejection of Christ.
    * Affirm that God saves people in accordance with their wills (not against).
    * Affirm that evangelism is commanded by God, and is a necessary part of accomplishing God's purposes.
    * Affirm that prayer is commanded by God, and is a necessary part of accomplishing God's purposes.
    * Deny that God is the author of sin.
    * Deny fatalism.

    What else shall I add? Perhaps this, we are NOT followers of John Calvin. JESUS CHRIST is our only LORD AND SAVIOR.

    The doctrines you dispute are not unique to Calvin. He did not invent them. Discussion within the Church over the issues of grace and free will goes back to the fifth century (Augustine and Pelagius). There are many who you claim as your "forefathers" who preceded Calvin in holding to "total depravity" and "unconditional election." Wycliffe, Huss, Gottshalk, The Waldensians, Luther, Zwingli and Bucer.

    Such men were both the fore-runners and the front-runners of the Protestant Reformation. The Roman Catholic Church, during the period of the Reformation, held the position that you do now. Erasmus, acting as a spokesman for the RCC, attacked Luther for these same beliefs. The RCC argued that it was impossible for Luther to be correct in asserting that salvation was by grace alone, that human beings can attribute nothing to salvation, that they are totally depraved, and that they do not have "free will." Their argument was that God throughout Scripture commands people to do good, repent, etc., etc. They argued that since God has commanded these things, that is proof enough that we can accomplish them. Do you realize that if the Protestant Reformation erupted today, you would concur with the RCC (and not the Reformers) on every major point regarding the ability of human beings and predestination? Does this in any way cause you to stop and reconsider your position?

    If you want to discuss God's "love" by declaring that election is according to foreknowledge, then carefully consider the implications of your position. Because God determined to create you He determined all that you would do, before you did it, because He knew with absolute certainty all that you would do before He created you. Correct? If God knows in advance (before creation) that some human beings will ultimately reject Him, then how can God still create these people and be said to sincerely love them?

    In this line of reasoning God creates people whom He knows, for certain, who will reject Him and wind up in Hell for all eternity. How can God be said to sincerely love such people? God must have created them simply to destroy them, and we can derive this conclusion without appealing to any "Calvinistic" premises. Knowing beforehand that they will reject Him, by then creating them God effectively 'predestines' them to Hell. That they are born makes it certain that they will actually be condemned. To maintain that God's determination of what will take place is conditioned upon what you do does not change anything. If you disagree with this, then your problem is not with Protestant orthodoxy, it is with classical theism!

    Since the time of the Reformation there have been others who have held to "Calvinism." John Bunyan, who wrote "Pilgrim's Progress." John Newton, who penned "Amazing Grace." Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, men whom God used to ignite the Great Awakening. William Carey, the "Father of Modern Missions." And, in our own day, men such as J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, John Piper, D.A. Carson, and D. James Kennedy (who started 'Evangelism Explosion').

    If you want to declare that we who are "Calvinists," including all of these men, idolaters, heretics and false prophets, you certainly have the right to do so. I respectfully, and ardently, disagree. If this shall be your position, I will politely end my debate(s) on this topic with you all.

    Rev. G

    [ November 08, 2002, 12:27 AM: Message edited by: Rev. G ]
     
  2. npetreley

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    Excellent and most eloquent post. Thank you.
     
  3. Jeff Weaver

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    I tend to avoid this forum because the debate between Calvinists and Arminians usually degenerates into an unChristian argument.

    However, Mr. G. I would tend to agree with you.

    I think I was the first Primitive Baptist person to join this board, and was soon labeled a heretic, and told that our doctrine was leading folks to the recesses of hell. Obviously I disagree.

    I think the ultimate problem in the debate is one's view of who/what God is. It is a topic that I see rarely confronted, here or anywhere else. Calvinists and Arminians have a different view of the nature of God. Can this be addressed? Probably not.

    Once upon a time in my life, about 25 years ago, when I got serious about studying the word of God, I had to address this issue -- What is the character of the supreme Being? It led me to be firmly established as a 5 1/2 point Calvinist.
    (TULIP and spirit regeneration versus gospel regeneration).

    Until each one can come to the same understanding of what God is, then debate is pretty futile, IMO. Who is right? I don't know. One must go by faith, and if Arminians have a different faith from me, that is fine. I know lots of folks say they believe in salvation by grace, but in reality they don't mean it (this goes for Calvinists and Arminians). What they mean is salvation by grace if you agree with them.

    So, my position is this. Read, study, keep looking through that dark glass Paul talks about, hope and pray. Argumenet or debate, however, doesn't come into it for me.

    Jeff
     
  4. ForumChaplain

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    Concerning the post in question, you pretended to be gentleman enough ask me if the conclusions that you project my words out to be were accurate..

    You asked me to verify what I meant by my words. Although I never said anything even close to what you have posted here, i did respond to your post by saying that a better choice of words was in order. I chose to clarify even tho only in your mind did I say the things that you ascribe to me.

    Did you read my response before you posted here, or did your perceived opportunity to do a little bashing of your own cause you to jump the gun.

    My response to your concerns is still standing. Your efforts to vent your calvinistic indignation is unwarrented at my expense anyway...

    [ November 07, 2002, 11:33 PM: Message edited by: Chappie ]
     
  5. KenH

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    Amen, Rev. G. Right on! [​IMG]

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite :cool:
     
  6. Rev. G

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    Chappie:
    First, let me apologize because I posted this prior to reading any response from you. I should not have used the quote from you without hearing what you had to say. Please note, however, that I asked qualifying questions in my post. Nonetheless, if I have taken you out of context, I sincerely apologize.

    Second, this isn't about your post in particular. It is about a whole lot of posts in general. I believe that was clear in what I stated.

    Third, this is not a "bashing" or an effort to "vent [my] Calvinistic indignation." This is an effort that is hopeful of causing people to think seriously about the words they use, to think seriously about how they are approaching these discussions, and to think about whether or not "Calvinists" are brothers and sisters in Christ. These are serious matters, my friend, brought on by serious charges - whether explicity or implicit. I'm saddened that you think me to be vain and shallow rather than being concerned about these deep issues.

    Chappie, I do wonder if you are as "innocent" as you proclaim. Elsewhere you stated this (in regard to "Arminianism" and "Calvinism"):
    Do you deny that with this post you at least implicitly cast doubt upon our character and beliefs?

    Chappie, I hope that you know from our exchanges that I like you. I honestly do. When I tell you that I am praying for you, it is because I really am. When I call you "friend," I have meant it. I think you are bright and zealous. I find both to be admirable, especially the zeal.

    The other day I told Helen that I hoped her husband made it back safely from Australia. Know what? I not only meant that, but I prayed that the Lord would keep him safe while he was traveling, and that the Lord would bring him safely home to his family. I'm fairly certain that I aggravate the tar out of Helen and I don't think she likes me, at least not much, but she is my sister in Christ and so I both wished her well and prayed on her behalf. Why? Because I believe the Scriptures. I believe I am commanded to love my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ - even if they are "Arminian." I believe I am commanded to pray. So I do. And God is gracious and answers! Yet, on this board, accusations have been made that individuals such as myself are unloving, that we don't believe in prayer, and that we don't believe in evangelism. We have been called heretics and agents of satan. Do you know how much that cuts to the heart? To be called an instrument of my Lord's worst enemy? Of my worst enemy?

    Chappie, this is what the post is about. I hope you understand that.

    Rev. G
     
  7. ForumChaplain

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    Mr. Weaver.
    Why do you think that people are so diabolically opposed to the doctrines of Calvinism. Why do so many that call themselves Christians take such a negative view of your theology. Why do so many accuse you of heresy and doctrines that are leading folks to hell. Obviously you disagree. I consider the Jehovah’s witnesses to be essentially further outside the Christian faith than Calvinism. Yet Calvinism for me presents more of a problem because it is so intertwined with freewill theology. You claim the docturine of Grace as tho it was indigenous to Calvinistic theology. Wit this concept alone you establish this us against them mentality.

    Please, I beg of you, set aside what you perceive my motives to be for just a moment. For I did not just wake up one morning having decided to kick some Calvinist butt. My call into the ministry was under a Calvinist minister. For years he taught it, for years without me knowing who John Calvin or a tulip was; I did not believe. I tremendously respected this minister, and I wanted to believe. Yet I was more in awe of scripture than I was in awe of him. Sometimes I perceive Calvinism to be more in awe of men than scripture. Many Calvinist quote men in the same breath as they quote scripture.

    If you sincerely want to know why the opposition to what you believe is so strong. I now call my faith to bare witness that my answer to you is not spoken in malice or with any intention to hurt. But here goes my answer.

    To anyone that does not see God as you see him, your theology is arrogant, hurtful and offensive. The way that most Calvinist present their faith is the same. Your very theology set’s up an us against them mentality. A we are better than you mentality. This may be the farthest thing from your minds and hearts, but is at the forefront of the way that you present your faith. And believing as you do, I cannot see how you can be perceived any other way by those that do not believe as you do.

    You desperately try to glorify God, and I praise God for that. But to those that that do not see God as obsessively sovereign and hung up on his power, those that see him in spite of hell after a fair and equal opportunity to be saved, still see a loving and compassionate God. We see a God that has made provisions for salvation: And is desirous that all me should receive and accept his provisions.

    A God that said that love does not seek it’s own, a God that created man in his image, desiring an intimate and loving relationship with those that he created. A God that is just and fair in the administration of his justice.

    The injustices that we perceive in our minds based on what you say bring shame on our God. Perhaps it is only in our minds, but I ask; what can be done to remove this misconception, if in reality that is just what it is, a misconception? This is what others standing on the outside looking in see, when they see Calvinism. Perhaps it is the nature of what you believe, to believe it or despise it. If I am blind, then I am totally blind, but I cannot see how anyone can reed the bible and attribute the ramifications of salvational predestination to a just and holy God.

    Prayerfully, you will receive my remarks as the remarks of an ignorant person honestly seeking answers, for I mean no malice. I simply tried to honestly answer your question as to why so many speak so negatively about what you believe.
     
  8. ForumChaplain

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    In light of the truths that you seek to publish, it's ok to slap the chap man around a little bit.

    In reguards to, "But is it the same Lord, The same faith, and the same baptism"??? It is a consideration that we need to kick around a bit. It is a question that can be asked without malice.

    That being, can a lord of election be a Lord of freewill? Can a faith of selective efficacious grace be a faith of just grace. And can a baptism of the Holy Spirit that baptises before repentance, be the same baptism that indwells believers as the comforter given after one is saved...

    We can say yes and deceieve ourselves, because that how we want it to be: or we can ask the question, and hopefully learn the truth.

    Like is Allah and Jehova the same God? If yes, why? If no, why not?

    PS.
    Please keep in mind exactly what you mean by implicit accusations. I call them rammifications. I would like to talk more about that concept later....

    [ November 08, 2002, 12:46 AM: Message edited by: Chappie ]
     
  9. Rev. G

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    What do you mean by this, Chappie? I'm not wanting to "slap you around." I'm wanting to have an honest discussion.

    Yes, without malice. That is my point, friend. May malice, and malicious words, be absent from our (everyone's) discussions.

    Rev. G
     
  10. ForumChaplain

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    What do you mean by this, Chappie? I'm not wanting to "slap you around." I'm wanting to have an honest discussion.</font>[/QUOTE]It means nothing Rev. G., smile and move on.
     
  11. Rev. G

    Rev. G
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    Words have meaning, friend. Remember, "Every idle word..."

    But I will move on.... [​IMG] (notice the smile?)

    Rev. G
     
  12. ScottEmerson

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    Do you not realize that over and over again, Calvinists quote that Spurgeon guy who calls anyone who isn't Calvinist a heretic? It works both ways.
     
  13. ForumChaplain

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    Words have meaning, friend. Remember, "Every idle word..."

    But I will move on.... [​IMG] (notice the smile?)

    Rev. G
    </font>[/QUOTE]Ok, Rev G. here is what it means...
    You mentioned something about purpose that was greater than the misunderstanding of the post of mine that you quoted when you started this thread. I read your post and decided that any discomfort (so to say) that you caused me was not important in light of the truths that you sought to bring to the fore front.

    It's Ok, for you to slap the Chap man in order to accomplish a greater good. Now can you really smile?
     
  14. Rev. G

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    Chappie:

    I did apologize to you earlier. The apology still stands.

    Rev. G
     
  15. Rev. G

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    Scott,

    Yes, we quote Spurgeon. We love him. However, please recall that he called "Arminianism" heresy. He was, I believe, dealing with "true Arminiansm" (all five points) - although he certainly called the mixture of "Calvinism" and "Arminianism" a "mongrel." Yes, it does work both ways. But, has anyone on this board (Mr. Spurgeon excluded - he is not a member of the BB) ever called you a heretic, an agent of Satan, or anything remotely related?

    There are certainly numerous non-Calvinists who quote Spurgeon with ease. Do you want to accuse them of speaking against you?

    Rev. G
     
  16. ScottEmerson

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    Yes. Not you, of course. Others.
     
  17. Frogman

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    Chappie, though I cannot speak for everyone, I believe this is a matter which most Calvinists would say the belief of man's choice, is true only after God made that choice available and acted upon the will of man to accept it.

    I also think that it could be answered, "Is Allah and Jehovah the same God" (perhaps paraphrased); Maybe those who worship Allah hold this to be the same as Jehovah, however, that worship is not acceptable to Jehovah, we cannot honor the Father without honoring the Son.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas
     
  18. KenH

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    I think there is a difference between saying Arminianism is a heresy and saying that Arminians are heretics and doomed for hell. There are a lot of de facto Arminians who have never thought through the logical conclusions that Arminianism leads to, or who have never compared their de facto Arminianism to the Bible as a whole. And I am sure the same could be said about some Calvinists, as well.

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite :cool:
     
  19. ScottEmerson

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    I have no clue how you have the audacity to be able to be the psychological and theological experts on Arminianism. I have demonstrated to you over and over that you misstate what Arminianism really is. You choose not to respond to many of those assertions, so I can only assume that you don't know how to argue back.

    The way you view Arminianism leades to many things that true Arminianism does not.

    The reason I am an Arminian is because I do take the Bible as a whole, whether you like it or not.
     
  20. Rev. G

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    Scott:

    Well, I hate to hear that. May BOTH "sides" deal with each other as Christ as dealt with us! Tenderly, graciously, kindly.

    If I see that someone from the "Calvinistic" side states something that is "out of bounds," I will take the liberty to discuss it with that individual. No one has asked me to do it, but I will anyway - and I call on my Reformed brothers and sisters to do the same.

    I would also encourage you and others from the "Arminian" camp to do this as well. May we keep ourselves in check!

    Rev. G
     

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