Attempting Definitions

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by rlvaughn, Sep 24, 2002.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    On another thread one member gave this sober observation:
    One thing that is usually done for clarity in formal debate is to give definitions. It should be helpful to define some of the terminology that we throw into our discussions. Perhaps we are not using the terms in the same way and it causes confusion. I am starting this thread toward that end. I will present my understanding of some of these terms and give all of you the opportunity to tell what you understand in them. Perhaps afterward we will have a better understanding of what it is that each of us is trying to say. I think I will start with the main terms and move into those that are more peripheral. I will cut them into several posts in order to keep the average length to a readable size.

    I do not take credit for all the material below. It is from a document that contains cut and pasted materials from different sources, as well as definitions and comments of my own. I do not have sources to credit in most cases, but I hope this will make a substantial contribution to the Calvinism/Arminianism forum. Thanks.

    [ September 24, 2002, 11:03 PM: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  2. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    ATONEMENT

    1. General Atonement/Redemption - this view holds that Christ’s death makes provision for the salvation of all men. The atonement paid for the sins of the whole world, but each individual must appropriate that payment through faith. Unlimited redemptionists are not universalists. They do not believe that all will ultimately be saved.
    2. Limited Atonement/Particular Redemption - this view holds that the atonement is limited in scope in that Christ's death actively redeems only those for whom He particularly died (the elect).
    3. Universal Atonement/Redemption (Universalism) – this view holds that Christ's death guaranteed salvation for every member of the human race, past, present, and future.

    J. I. Packer put it this way, “The choices are, therefore, an atonement of unlimited efficacy but limited extent (Reformed particularism), one of unlimited extent but limited efficacy (hypothetical universalism), or one of unlimited efficacy and unlimited extent (actual universalism). Scripture must be the guide in choosing between these possibilities.”
     
  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    Arminian/Arminianism
    Follows the teachings of Jacobus Arminius in general, and probably in particular the Articles of Remonstrance:
    - 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. (In other words predestination is said to be conditioned by God's foreknowledge of who would respond to the gospel)
    - Christ died for all men (not just for the elect), but no one except the believer has remission of sin.
    - Man can neither of himself nor of his free will do anything truly good until he is born again of God, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. (Though accused of such, Arminius and his followers were not Pelagians.)
    - All good deeds or movements in the regenerate must be ascribed to the grace of God but his grace is not irresistible.
    - 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 is possible for a believer to fall from grace.
    I would question whether many of those described as Arminians actually hold to “original” Arminianism.

    Calvinist/Calvinism
    Follows the teachings of John Calvin in general, and probably in particular the Canon/Synod of Dort:
    - that fallen man was totally unable to save himself (Total Depravity)
    - that God's electing purpose was not conditioned by anything in man (Unconditional Election)
    - that Christ's atoning death was sufficient to save all men, but efficient only for the elect (Limited Atonement)
    - that the gift of faith, sovereignly given by God's Holy Spirit, cannot be resisted by the elect (Irresistible Grace)
    - that those who are regenerated and justified will persevere in the faith (Perseverance of the saints)

    Modified Calvinism
    This seems to be the most common terminology to refer to those who hold total depravity and eternal security in combination with general atonement, election conditioned on repentance and faith, and resistible grace. Is there a better term?

    Hyper-Calvinist/Hyper-Calvinism
    Everyone that is more Calvinistic than you are! [​IMG] This term probably does not have a fixed meaning, but maybe most often refers to those that believe we should not command and call the sinner to come to Christ. This is sometimes applied to those who hold “Spirit regeneration” as opposed to “gospel regeneration”.

    Biblical Christian
    Everyone that believes like I do! ;) Actually, this is a wonderful term, but confuses the issue in any debate, because all who seriously try to faithfully interpret the Scriptures think they are Biblical Christians.

    [ September 24, 2002, 11:29 PM: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  4. rlvaughn

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    Amyraldian/Amyraldism
    Follows the teachings of Moyse Amyraut, who, according to Curt Daniel, “posited that Christ died for all men because of universal grace. Christ died equally for all in order to provide a basis for the universal part of the Covenant of Grace. This provision was universal, but the application was particular and limited to the elect. Amyraut felt that this was the view of Calvin and the early Reformers.” This is also called Hypothetical Universalism. “The theory basically is…two kinds of grace: universal grace for all men and special grace only for the elect. Because of universal grace and the universal aspect of the Covenant of Grace, it is hypothetically possible for the heathen to be saved without hearing the Gospel…in fact none of these have ever been saved because it is only through the Gospel that saving faith is given. Further, God is said to have two wills: a universal conditional will and a particular unconditional will.” The view of Andrew Fuller (Fullerism) seems to accord well with Amyraldism (or Amyraldianism) and is often so called. Fuller reasoned that on the one hand, Christ died to atone for all men; and on the other hand, as the Father saw in advance that no one would wish to accept Christ of their own free will, He only guaranteed that certain sinners would follow their inner sense of duty and repent and believe. Christ still died for all men, though His Father restricted salvation to the elect. The thought that “Christ’s death is sufficient for all, but efficient for only the elect” is part of this system.

    Pelagian/Pelagianism
    Pelagius combatted the doctrine of original sin. He and his followers framed these six doctrines for example:
    1. That Adam would have died even if he had not sinned;
    2. That the sin of Adam injured himself, not the human race;
    3. That newborn children are in the same condition as Adam was before the Fall; that infants have eternal life;
    4. That the whole human race does not die because of Adam's death or sin, nor will it rise again because of Christ's resurrection;
    5. That the Old Testament Law, as well as the New Testament Gospel, gives entrance to heaven;
    6. That even before the coming of Christ there were men who were entirely without sin.
    It should be noted that some present day “Arminians” are followers of Pelagius rather than Arminius on the idea of original sin and depravity.
     
  5. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    Other terms we sometimes encounter include:

    Manichaen/Manichaenism
    Historical Manichaenism probably does not exist among Christians, but any form of dualism is often referred to as Manichaenism. Possibly most notable among Baptists has been/is the teachings of Daniel Parker which posited that among the human race there is a seed of God and a seed of the Devil (and that the Devil is an eternal, though lesser, being). The "elect" would be those who have the seed of God.

    Fatalist/Fatalism
    Some people would connect this term to those who hold to predestination. The ancient idea (of Greeks and others) is that man is a helpless creature borne along by some unknown force (destiny, fate). Some versions of absolute predestinarianism may reach a similar conclusion, simply replacing fate with God.

    Antinomian/Antinomianism
    Antinomian comes from the Greek ‘anti’ and ‘nomos’, meaning against law. It refers to the doctrine that it is not necessary for Christians to obey the moral law. Faith frees the Christian from such obligations. Or, put another way, antinomianism is a system of doctrine that leads naturally to licentiousness. This is often unfairly charged to any who hold to eternal security, perseverance, or once saved/always saved. It is said that such doctrine allows the Christian to do “whatever he wants.”

    Sandemanian/Sandemanianism
    Sandemanianism may not be specifically related to the Calvinism/Armianism debate, but it is a form of soteriological belief. Robert Sandeman taught that the faith which saves is nothing other than the "bare belief of the bare truth." Sandemanianism is the name which is usually identified with the idea that saving faith consists of "merely believing facts." It is simply "taking God at His Word" (bare belief of the bare truth!).
     
  6. rlvaughn

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    Supralapsarianism (supra-above) places election first (and reprobation) followed by the decrees to create, permit the Fall, provide for the salvation of the elect, and call the elect to salvation.
    Infralapsarianism (infra-later) lists Creation, Fall, election (pass over the rest), provision for the salvation of the elect, and call of the elect to salvation. Amyraldism could be considered a form that adjusts this order to Creation, Fall, provision of salvation sufficient for all, election (pass over the rest) and call of the elect to salvation.
    Sublapsarianism (sub-beneath) sees this order: Creation, Fall, provision of salvation for all, election of some to be saved, and call of the elect to salvation. Arminianism might be considered a variation on this: Creation, Fall, provision of salvation for all, call all to salvation, elect those who believe.

    We must realize that much of this it deals with logical order more than with time.
     
  7. Monergist

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    OK, CLASS. PUT YOUR NOTES AWAY, WE'RE HAVING A POP QUIZ!!! [​IMG]

    But seriously, thanks for putting all this together for us.
     
  8. Monergist

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    Could one hold to this view and still hold to Total Depravity in the truest sense?
     
  9. rlvaughn

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    Timothy, I think it is possible to hold total depravity in a "modified Calvinistic" model. Many will say that is inconsistent, and it may be, but none of us are immune from holding inconsistent positions.
     
  10. rlvaughn

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    Concerning atonement - I have noticed that many in both the "Arminian" and "Calvinist" camps use the term Universal Redemption to refer to the position that the atonement paid for the sins of the whole world, but each individual must appropriate that payment through faith. I find this confusing partly because I learned the terminology General Atonement to describe that position and partly because Universal Redemption is a term used for the universalism which holds to the actual eternal redemption of all persons. The General Atonement position is at most a hypothetical universalism. How do most of you use the term "Universal Redemption?"
     
  11. tyndale1946

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    Brother Robert how can one hold to the doctrine of Universal Redemption and Election at the same time?... Doesn't the doctrine of Election negate the doctrine of Universal Redemption? Or is this conditional on the hearing of the Gospel to put one in the elective group?... Brother Glen :confused:
     
  12. Jeff Weaver

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    Bro. R.

    Thanks for the list of stuff, it is useful to have it all in one spot. Now instead of arguing,this is what this board should be used for -- education.

    Jeff
     
  13. Jeff Weaver

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    Bro. R.

    I almost forgot, are you going to define "Spirit Regeneration" and "Gospel Regeneration." I think those distinctions would be helpful as well.

    Jeff
     
  14. rlvaughn

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    I'll try, brother Jeff, and hope I don't get in water above my head. First, I think I can generally agree with Michael Gowens definition of regeneration in which he explains that "every heir of God was saved at the cross, legally and positionally, but redemption accomplished must also be applied. Regeneration is the personal application of the blood of Christ to the 'inner man' so that the soul is cleansed, really and individually, from sin."

    Spirit Regeneration
    Spirit Regeneration, also called immediate regeneration, presents the Holy Spirit as the direct and immediate cause of spiritual life, without the use of means.

    Gospel Regeneration
    "Gospel regeneration," also called the gospel-means position, presents the preached gospel as the means that God employs to call dead sinners to life in Christ. Some people refer to this as decisional regeneration, but I feel that varies from the position of the Calvinist who holds that God uses the gospel as a means. I would define "decisional regeneration" more in terms of the idea that making a "decision" for Christ brings about regeneration.

    Two related terms are:

    Monergism
    "This position teaches that salvation is entirely a work of God; That man can contribute nothing to his salvation and that one is saved wholly and unconditionally by grace through faith." - John Hendryx

    Synergism
    "Synergism comes from two Greek words meaning 'to work together with.' So when speaking of salvation it refers to a cooperation between God and man. In other words, man works together with God to effect his salvation. To be fair I should point out that there are two strains of this teaching; the Semi-Pelagian form which teaches that man takes the initiative and then is helped by divine grace. And then there is the more prevalent form among evangelicals which teaches that God, the Holy Spirit, takes the first step (toward all members of the human race) but cannot effect the completion of the work of regeneration without the cooperation and consent of the sinner." - John Hendryx

    The definitions of monergism and synergism are taken from Monergism vs. Synergism by John Hendryx.
     
  15. tyndale1946

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    Brother Robert if it's not asking to much how about all these others... Foreknowledge, predestination , effectual calling, and justification, sanctification, and grace... add these to your definitions as these also need the be discussed with proper definitions!... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  16. rlvaughn

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    Brother Glen, one certainly could not hold both election and universal redemption if they strictly hold to the "Calvinistic" understanding of election. But most "Arminians" understand the idea of election in a different way.
    Many people that hold "general redemption" believe that election is based on God's foreknowledge of who would believe, so in that system election is understood in a different way. In actual "universalism" I don't know exactly how they understand election. There are 5 or 6 Primitive Baptist associations in the Appalachias that hold to an actual universalism - that all without exception are or will be eternally redeemed. They make election refer to those who are chosen and called in this time life (somehow or another, I don't really understand it).
    I'll try to find time to get these, but their definitions will be much more controversial than some of the above that can be traced back to an historical person, time or incident. Your list must be defined from scripture and will get into our specific interpretations.

    Here are a couple of links that will interest those who would like to research the original doctrines of Arminius as codified by his followers: http://www.apuritansmind.com/Creeds/ArminianArticles.htm
    http://www.apuritansmind.com/Creeds/ArminianOpinions.htm
     

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