Arminianism Deconstructed

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Van, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Van

    Van
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    Jacob (James) Arminius taught that after the fall, mankind was totally depraved, unable by nature to do anything really good. But rather than solve this issue by the unconditional pre-selection of individuals by God and then enabling them to trust in God via irresistible grace, Arminius solved the apparent dilemma of individual election before a person comes to faith by asserting God’s foresight into the nature of some persons, and thus according to Arminius God elected those of foreseen faith to salvation before the world began. To get around spiritual inability, God granted grace to all men so they could respond (accept or reject) the gospel. Those that accept are the very same ones that God foresaw would accept, and therefore Arminius works man’s freewill into the equation. In sum, this view is closer to what the bible actually teaches than Calvinism.

    Rather than irresistible grace, we have resistible grace; rather than unconditional pre-selection election of foreseen individuals, we have conditional pre-selection election of foreseen individuals foreseen who come to faith by their own free will.

    Arminian teachings were summarized as follows:

    1. God has decreed to save through Jesus Christ those of the fallen and sinful race who through the grace of the Holy Spirit believe in him, but leaves in sin the incorrigible and unbelieving. This is election by foreseen faith. (The underlying biblical truth that makes this view false is God chooses those whose faith He credits as righteousness during their lifetime, not before creation.)

    2. Christ died for all men (not just for the supposed pre-selected elect individuals), but no one except the believer has remission of sin. (True.)

    3. Man cannot do anything truly good until he is born again of God, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. (Scripture says the unsaved can give good gifts to their kids, so discernment and choice is taught as a capability of the unsaved, limited as it is in that nothing the unsaved can do will result in earning salvation. If the point is in support of mystic mind manipulation (resistible grace) being necessary in order to overcome Total Spiritual Inability to enable us to place our faith in Christ, it is a false premise. Matthew 23:13 demonstrates that the unregenerate can believe in God and seek God yet be turned away by false teachings.)

    4. All good deeds or movements in the regenerate must be ascribed to the grace of God but his grace is not irresistible. (If we do something good, it was enabled by God’s grace, if something sinful, it is all on us, God’s grace did not cause it. True)

    5. Those who are incorporated into Christ by a true faith have power given them through the assisting grace of the Holy Spirit to persevere in the faith. But it may be possible for a believer to fall from grace. ( Those incorporated into Christ are incorporated by God, after He credits our faith as righteousness. Scripture plainly says that it is not possible to become unsaved, but is possible to believe you are saved and then fall away from your “faith.” For people will say, “Lord, Lord” but Christ will say, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:22-23.) Note “never”, not “I knew you once but no more.” 1 John 2:19 says that those who went out from us were not of us, again teaching those who fall away were never born again.)​

    In summary, Arminius formulated his doctrine to address his understanding of the flawed doctrine associated with John Calvin. He is on target in that he recognized something was amiss, but by framing his response based on acceptance of some of the underlying false premises of Calvin, his solution, like fruit from a corrupt tree, is unpalatable.

    The biblical position is summarized as follows:

    1. God chose the Word before creation to be the Lamb of God, and therefore anyone spiritually placed into Christ shares in His election before the foundation of the world. By logical necessity, when God chose His Redeemer before creation, He also chose corporately those His Redeemer would redeem. God’s plan for salvation was thus formulated before creation, and therefore anyone chosen and spiritually placed in Christ is chosen according to God’s foreknowledge of His salvation program, (1 Peter 1:2). Hence, He chose us in Him [corporately] before the foundation of the world, (Ephesians 1:4).

    2. Christ died for all mankind (1 Timothy 2:6), becoming the propitiation (means of salvation) for the whole world (1 John 2:2), but only those whose faith in Christ God credits as righteousness (Romans 4:5) are then spiritually placed in Christ by God (1 Corinthians 1:30), and receive the reconciliation provided by Christ’s sacrifice (Romans 5:10-11). Thus we are saved by grace through faith and not by the will or actions of men. Ephesians 2:8-9.

    3. Our individual election occurs when God chooses us to be a member of His family, after we are physically alive and have lived without mercy, 1 Peter 2:9-10. He chooses those who are rich in faith and love God (James 2:5), who believe in Christ (John 3:16). We are chosen by God placing us into Christ (the sanctification by the Spirit) 2 Thessalonians 2:13, after He credits our faith as righteousness, Romans 4:4-5. Our faith in Christ provides our access to God’s saving grace, Romans 5:2.​
     
    #1 Van, Feb 6, 2012
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  2. freeatlast

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    So what does all that mean as you see it? Are you saying that this mans belief "Those that accept are the very same ones that God foresaw would accept" is accurate?
     
  3. Van

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    Reply to Freeatlast

    This reflects the mistaken view of classical Arminianism. He believed God chose foreseen individuals before creation, same as Calvinism, except He asserted God chose foreseen individuals who God foresaw would freely come to faith.

    This whole perspective is built on the idea that Ephesians 1:4 means: He chose us in Him [individually] before the foundation of the world, but that view creates paradoxes galore when viewed with the many verses that teach God chooses us individually during our lifetime after He credits our faith as righteousness. Rather than correct their understanding of this verse (Ephesians 1:4), they nullify several passages, letting the tail wag the dog.
     
    #3 Van, Feb 6, 2012
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  4. Don

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    So, in this particular example, your basic argument against both calvinism and arminianism is about the concept of election?

    If I understand you correctly, you're saying that God doesn't necessarily have foreknowledge, nor did He choose (elect) anyone at the beginning; but that He judges us at some point during our lives and determines our worthiness to be elected at that time?
     
    #4 Don, Feb 6, 2012
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  5. freeatlast

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    Thank you for the explanation.
     
  6. Van

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    Reply to Don,

    Hopefully the above was not a calculated misrepresentation of my view, but simply represents an innocent question from someone eagerly seeking the truth.

    My basic argument with Calvinism and Arminianism is that they are unbiblical.

    First I did not mention foreknowledge, you introduced the topic, but then asserted I had said something about it. Please try to stick with the truth.

    Next, I clearly said God elected Christ individually before the foundation of the world and elected every one Christ would redeem corporately before the foundation of the world. Please try to stick with the truth.

    Next, I did not mention God judging us based on merit, you did, but then asserted I had said something about it. I said God elects us individually during our lifetime based on Him crediting our faith in Christ as righteousness. Thus our faith, as worthless as it is, does not earn our salvation, it is God who credits our worthless faith as righteousness, so the righteousness comes from God. Romans 4:4-5;24. Thus our faith provides our access to the grace in which we stand, Romans 5:2.

    Scripture says God chooses us for salvation from the beginning, not "at the beginning" or before the beginning, or in the beginning. Therefore the election of 2 Thessalonians 2:13 cannot refer to the election of Ephesians 1:4. What Calvinists do is rewrite the text and say "apo" which means from, out of, since, after, really means "before" in every verse that points to election from the beginning. Fiddlesticks.
     
  7. Don

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    You are correct; I was attempting to synthesize what you posted in your last 3 paragraphs, based on what you presented in all the preceeding. That's why I used the words "if I understand you correctly." I had no intentions to misrepresent your position; seeking to clearly understand it.

    I gotta say, I'm somewhat amused, because I just went through an exchange with someone else last night who totally misunderstood what I wrote, and then misrepresented it; but even after explanation, continued to misrepresent my statements. I hope we don't get into that here.

    Understood, especially from other threads and posts you've made in the past.

    Sorry to have to correct you, but YOU introduced foreknowledge; look at your opening post, second sentence, talking about Arminius' position. Foreknowledge is mentioned.

    Second, look at your final three paragraphs, paragraph 1; you mentioned foreknowledge of the "salvation program" as a biblical position. But then in paragraph 3, you mention that we are only chosen after our faith is credited as righteousness. This seems to contradict what you wrote in paragraph 1, unless you're trying to say that God only has foreknowledge of the program in whole, rather than foreknowledge of each individual. Thus, my question about "you're saying that God doesn't necessarily have foreknowledge."

    Again, I'm asking for clarification, not intending to misrepresent your position.

    I see how you've misunderstood my question (i.e., "nor did He choose (elect) anyone at the beginning").

    Am I correct in interpreting what you're saying as God chose Christ, but He didn't choose other individuals at the beginning? If not, please clarify.

    Here's my misunderstanding of what you've written; your words, from paragraph #3 at the bottom of the opening post:
    The way this is written gives the impression that we must have faith and love God before we are chosen, and thus, before we are saved. So I'm asking for clarification here as well, because this could be interpreted as all those who have faith and love God will be chosen; or there are many who have faith and love God, but will not be chosen.

    And my main confusion is that the way you worded it sounds like we must have faith and love God before He will choose us as the elect; that necessarily leads to a "I must be good enough" kind of salvational thinking. So I believe I'm reading it wrong. Please clarify.

    Dinner time. I'll take a look at the word study after dinner.
     
  8. Christos doulos

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    My friend. Sounds like semantics to me, and that you are doing the same you accuse Calvinists of doing. We can go all day long pitting scripture or how we "rewrite" scripture against one another, but at the end of the day for me. There is only one question that can dispel my Calvinistic approach to scripture.

    Answer this question, and I believe you can destroy Calvinism once and for all; at least for me

    Why are you saved and others are not?
     
    #8 Christos doulos, Feb 7, 2012
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  9. Van

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    I did not mention foreknowledge in this sentence. However, if you equate biblical foreknowledge with foreseeing the future, then I can see how you might think I did. In any event, I was simply explaining the Arminian view, not mine. Therefore I did not mention foreknowledge, i.e foreseeing the future, when I represented my view.

    Here is what I said:

    Here I am quoting 1 Peter 1:2 and thus referring to knowledge obtained or formulated in the past being used in the present. The idea is God elected those His Redeemer would redeem corporately before the foundation of the world, and is now putting individuals of His choosing into that corporated elected group.

    And so to answer your question for the second time, I did not mention your view of foreknowledge when presenting my view, nor did I suggest God does not have biblical foreknowledge.

    And yet again God did not choose individuals for salvation before the foundation of the world. But every redeemed individual receives the blessing of being chosen corporately before the foundation of the world.

    Next, I was quoting James 2:5. Do you deny that James 2:5 says God chooses those rich in faith and heirs to the promise to those who love God? Do you deny the Covenant of Love?

    Next, you seem to say if God credits our faith as righteousness, that means we merited having our faith credited as righteousness. How can someone whose works of righteousness are as filthy rags be good, when only God is good. But our faith does provide our access to the grace of God. So even though it is worthless, a filthy rag if you will, God takes that filthy rag and credits it as righteousness. So it is fair to say God's election is conditional, but inaccurate to say the condition is either goodness, or merit, or works. He does not choose based on your and the worlds value system, nor based on whether the person wills to be saved or does works to be saved, but rather based on what He says in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 , which I understand as saying "by means of crediting our faith as righteousness.

    Finally, from the beginning means from or since or after, not before. At the beginning and in the beginning are not the same as from the beginning.
     
  10. Van

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    I am saved because God choose me, it did not depend on me, but upon God. Why did God not choose those whose spirits have been taken to Hades? God did not have mercy on them. They will receive perfect justice, no more and no less. I deserved their punishment, perhaps even more punishment, for like Paul I am chief among sinners.

    But did God choose me because He credited my faith in Christ as righteousness, because He looked into my heart and saw my faith was whole hearted, and I was willing to do my best to follow Christ no matter where He leads? Did He choose me, even though He knew I would stumble and fall and fail to be worthy of Christ? Did I love Him because He first loved me, and this is love, that He died for me.
    Let me give you the answer, Sir. For God so loved the world that He gave His one of a kind Son so that whoever beliefs in Him shall not perish, but have life eternal.

    God Bless
     
  11. Christos doulos

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    My friend. You say, Calvinism is not biblical, yet what you said, sounds very Calvinistic to me; apart from a few differences in your lingo. I for the most part agree. :thumbsup:
     
  12. Don

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    Not just calvinistic, Christos; also arminian.
     
  13. Christos doulos

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    Yes I must admit. I had a problem with this quote, seems arminian to me

    Is our faith somehow separated from God? Why would I want God to look into my wicked heart? How can He see my faith looking at my heart? and why when He is the one who placed my faith in the first place?

    Did I grow my faith or did God?
     
  14. Van

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    No truth, no matter how profound can escape rejection by Calvinists. They have God providing the grace of faith, and then that faith providing access to the grace of salvation. They have God planting perfect faith into us, via irresistible grace, then God crediting that faith as righteousness.

    Never mind scripture, which they ignore such as Matthew 13 which says some men cannot understand the gospel, they claim all men cannot understand the gospel. Never mind Matthew 23:13 which has men entering heaven, and thus having been regenerated by irresistible grace, then being blocked by false teachers. Scripture means nothing if the whole bible is nullified shuck and jive.

    The T of the TULIP is false doctrine, fallen men can understand the milk of the gospel, but not spiritual meat which requires being indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Strike one, and all Calvinism can do is shuck and jive. 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:3.

    The U of the TULIP is false doctrine, God chooses those rich in faith, those who are heirs to the promise God made to those who love Him, James 2:5.

    The L of the TULIP is false doctrine, Christ became the propitiation or means of salvation for the whole world, all mankind. He died as a ransom for all. 1 John 2:2

    The I of the TULIP is false doctrine, if applied to the call of the gospel, but those whose faith He credits as righteousness are put spiritually in Christ, 1 Cor. 1:30 and are kept for their inheritance by the power of God who protects their faith forever, 1 Peter 1:3-5.

    Romans 9:16 is an interesting verse, first it says men can be willing, proving the T is unbiblical, and then it say God has mercy on whom He chooses, proving His selection based on faith is not based on merit.
     
  15. Don

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    Van, I have to spend the rest of the day writing a contract statement of work and a performance work statement (yes, they're actually two different things by government standards). I also need to mull over your responses. Hopefully I'll get back to you tonight. If not, it may be a couple of days; I'm going to get some steroid injections in my neck tomorrow, and they tell me I'll be out of whack through Thursday. We'll see what happens. Just wanted to let you know I'm not ignoring you.
     
  16. Van

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    Thanks Don, I take people at their word and then make adjustments according to subsequent behavior.
     
  17. Van

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    If God credits our faith as righteousness, it logically follows the faith was not righteous before being credited. Therefore by logical necessity, the faith must be separated from God, because if it was entwined with God it would be righteous for God is holy and separated from unrighteousness.

    Whether or not we want God to look into our wicked heart, He can do it, nothing is hidden from Him.

    Scripture says if we believe from the heart, therefore God assesses our faith as to whether it is a lip service faith, or our core conviction from the heart if you will.

    And then you make an assertion about God placing your faith in your heart. Unwritten but logically implied is that faith was planted via irresistible grace, which has already been shown to be unbiblical by Matthew 23:13. You have read that God grants repentence. You seem to understand that verse as saying no one can repent unless God gives them the power to repent. But an equally viable reading is no one can repent unless God allows them to repent, for example Judas was not allowed to repent, and those unbelieving Jews of Romans 11 were not allowed to repent. Therefore, the idea is God gave us His revelation, both in word and in Christ and most particularly in the gospel of Christ which calls to repentence, and if God grants us repentence, i.e. He allows us via His permissive will, to repent, some of us repent and turn to God. This alternate understanding is why I believe your "gift of faith" doctrine is based on misunderstanding scripture.
     
  18. Don

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    You're correct; I equate foreseeing with foreknowledge (i.e., if you foresee what is to be, you have foreknowledge). You'll have to convince me that the two are not synonymous.

    Two things here: 1) does God have foreknowledge or not? Your posts indicate He does; I believe the clarification that needs to be made is, how much foreknowledge? You seem to be indicating that God does not have foreknowledge of each and every individual that will partake of the "corporate" blessing; is that correct?

    2) Just for my clarification, I'm trying to put what you've said in a word picture; what comes out is analogous to: the "corporate" choosing is like a room that remains empty, until individuals are chosen to enter the room. Would that be a somewhat correct analogy?

    I do not deny the covenant of Love; I do, however, question your use of this verse in the context that you've presented it. You see, the context of the passage isn't about who God saves and doesn't save; the passage is about what is mentioned in v.6--"But ye have despised the poor."

    I see where you're coming from, in that this verse could be used to say "those rich in faith and the promises to those who love Him"; but I need to study this one further because the context is about another subject.

    (I have the same concern with those who justify "the tongue of angels" found in 1 Cor 13:1; it's the only verse in the Bible that mentions the tongue of angels, and the context of the passage is about something else entirely)

    I now see how you're using "credit"; I need to consider this one further.

    I also understand how you're seeing the distinction here; you're saying that those who use "at" or "in" are indicating a one-time event, while "from" indicates an on-going process.

    Which is what this is: an on-going process of discovery and understanding. More to come.
     
  19. Van

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    Thanks Don for being willing to try and understand my view. But we are at impasse, because you have nullified James 2:5 saying it does not mean what it says. There can be no common understanding if when scripture says God chooses those rich in faith, heirs to the promise to those who love Him, you claim it does not teach on election.

    As far as corporate election, think of designing a plan with a target group, i.e believers.

    As far as James 2:5 being the only place individual conditional election is mentioned, I disagree. 1 Corinthians 1:26-30 talks of God choosing those who are not well born, rich in worldly wealth, or powerful in the world, again teaching election during our lifetime. 1 Peter 2:9-10 says we are chosen after we live without mercy. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says God chooses existing individuals, i.e. the Thessalonians, from, not before or in or at, the beginning. And how does God choose? By means of setting people apart for God based on faith in the truth.
     
    #19 Van, Feb 8, 2012
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  20. Don

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    I didn't make myself clear; I wasn't trying to say that James 2:5 was the only place the subject was identified. I was trying to say that contextually the passage is talking about a different subject. For example, is 1 Cor 13 talking about or making the case for speaking in tongues? No; it's talking about having love. Yet you'll find pentecostals who use verse 1 as evidence that there is a tongue of angels, ignoring the rest of the chapter and thus, ignoring the context.

    Heading off to my doctor's appointment in a little while. Don't know if I'll be back today.
     

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