Being a Calvinist is Good?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by drfuss, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. drfuss

    drfuss
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    Calvinism has been defined as having five points (TULIP). I assume the TULIP represents what Calvin believed and wrote. All five points tend to be tied together and support each other. Yet some people call themselves Calvinists who do not now believe in all five points after years of studying the scriptures. I have seen on BB 3 point, 4 point and 5 point Calvinists and even hyper-calvinists. Still others, after studing the scriptures for years, have changed some of the definitions in the TULIP so they can still consider themselves Calvinists.

    My question is: Why do some people who now do not believe all five points of Calvinism still want to consider themselves Calvinists?

    1. Is it because they have been erroneously taught that you are either a Calvinist or an Arminian, and they do not want to be considered an Arminian?

    2. Is it because they would feel like they were deserting Christianity if they said they stopped being a Calvinist, since they have been taught Christianity and Calvinism are the same?

    Am I missing something here?
     
  2. AresMan

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    I would say that most "Calvinists" don't like the "Calvinist" label, because they don't want to be associated with all the details of all the beliefs and actions of one man, John Calvin: especially the infant baptism and the "responsibility" for alledged murder. Most Calvinists would rather be called "Reformed theologians."

    Most "Arminians" don't like the "Arminian" label, because most aren't 5-point Arminians (believe that one can lose salvation) and the general idea that Arminianism = "works salvation." Many "Arminians" accept the label "non-Calvinist."
     
  3. Jeep Dragon

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    Suggestions:

    People may choose not to put a label on themselves because:
    • Some people feel that any specific label named after a human follower is viewed as a cult.
    • Some people feel that if they do not believe all points they are not part of a group who do.

    People may choose not to put a label on themselves because:
    • Some people who believe 3 or 4 points of a label may reluctantly accept the label to avoid endless arguments.
    • Some people favor one label more than another, thus would rather be accepted into such a group.

    I assume it depends on what gives one the most peace. Anyone else have ideas?
     
  4. Dale-c

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    Calvinism is used a a generalterm to applying to people who believe in predestination.
    The so called 5 points actually did not come until after Calvin as far as I know.
    It is simply a doctrinal statement.
    As Spurgeon said, he did not mind being called a Baptist and he didn't mind being called a Calvinist but he was first and formost a follower of Jesus Christ.

    As for me, I don't mind being called a calvinist as a general doctrinal statement about the doctrine of salvation.
    As for believing that anything that the man John Calvin said was true...not hardly.

    Only the Bible is inerrant but "labels" are helpful ways telling others what our general beliefs are.


    Also, at it's core...most would devide the C vs A debate at predistination vs freewill.
    There may be differences within that, but mostly that is the major line in the sand so to speak.
     
  5. 2BHizown

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    Well, why do so many call themselves 'christian' when they obviously are no such thing?
    Perhaps those who like calling themself 'calvinist' do so as the association with those who truly are calvinist is something they are presently interested in. Who knows why people do what they do? Until a heart is regenerated by the HS and a person exhibits a totally changed life they remain in need of a Savior, as do we all! Some of them perhaps are still learning that the TULIP is only a small part of calvinism and its great biblical truths. That little acrostic just reflects the basic points that were written to refute arminianism.
     
  6. Brother Bob

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    Only ones I know are on BB!
     
  7. saturneptune

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    You analysis is fantastic. Keep up the great posts.
     
  8. Ransom

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    drfuss asked:

    Calvinism has been defined as having five points (TULIP). I assume the TULIP represents what Calvin believed and wrote.

    To be precise, TULIP is a later systematization of Calvin's soteriology, which John Calvin himself did not lay out so systematically. (There is some debate as to whether Calvin himself believed all 5 points, since unlike the other 4, he never explicitly affirms particular redemption in his theology works. I think the evidence overwhelmingly favours his being a particular redemptionist, myself.)

    And yes, "Calvinism" is simply a handy theological label for those who hold to the same soteriology as Calvin, regardless of whether they affirm everything he wrote (such as his theology of baptism or the sacraments, for example).

    Yet some people call themselves Calvinists who do not now believe in all five points after years of studying the scriptures. I have seen on BB 3 point, 4 point and 5 point Calvinists and even hyper-calvinists. . . .

    My question is: Why do some people who now do not believe all five points of Calvinism still want to consider themselves Calvinists?


    Because by and large they do identify more with the Calvinist side of the spectrum, rather than the Arminian side. Usually such people affirm human depravity, unconditional election, effective grace, and perseverance, but not particular redemption - a position known as Amyraldianism. I personally think that being a "3-point Calvinist" or fewer results in theological incoherence, because, as you say, all five points form a coherent system.

    And yes, to be not a Calvinist is to be an Arminian; the five points of Calvinism were a response to five Articles of Remonstrance drawn up by the disciples of Jacob Arminius. The corresponding articles of each set are antithetical: to the extent you are a Calvinist, you are not an Arminian, and vice versa. A 3/5 Calvinist is a 2/5 Arminian.
     
  9. StefanM

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    That is true for most people, but not in all cases. You could be Pelagian, as well.
     
  10. Ransom

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    StefanM said:

    That is true for most people, but not in all cases. You could be Pelagian, as well.

    I wasn't counting unbelievers and heretics. Obviously you don't fit the categories if you are outside of orthodox Christianity altogether.
     
  11. drfuss

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    From my orginial post:
    "My question is: Why do some people who now do not believe all five points of Calvinism still want to consider themselves Calvinists?

    1. Is it because they have been erroneously taught that you are either a Calvinist or an Arminian, and they do not want to be considered an Arminian?

    2. Is it because they would feel like they were deserting Christianity if they said they stopped being a Calvinist, since they have been taught Christianity and Calvinism are the same?"

    So far, the posts have idicated that the answer is #1.

    I considered being either a Calvinist or an Arminian to be erroneous classification because it really doesn't tell anyone what you believe. However, it appears these unclear definitions are so locked in that we just have to live with the uncertainies.

    Dale-c writes:
    "Calvinism is used a a generalterm to applying to people who believe in predestination."

    The above is a good example of how unclear things are. Both Calvinist and Arminians believe in predestination, but the interpretations can be different.

    Even if you say you are a three point Calvinist, we really don't know for sure which three points.
     
  12. J.D.

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    Calvinists that do not hold to all 5 points still consider themselves Calvinists because they are first and foremost monergists. A convinced monergist, such as myself, could never fathom converting to synergism, a system we consider to be injurious, even blasphemous, to the character and glory of God. I don't think anyone that changed their beliefs on salvation from monergism to synergism could honestly retain the label "Calvinist". It is a complete misnomer to refer to so-called "biblicists" as "1-point calvinists" since they deny the ability of God to save the elect by His own will, which is the core belief of Calvinism. They are 4-point arminians, if not outright Pelagians.
     
  13. 2BHizown

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    When I say with humble gratitude that I'm a Calvinist I am saying that I believe in God's mercy and grace in all of its biblical fullness, saying like this poem that I am so thankful to my God for opening my eyes to His truth! Those criticizing or blatantly objecting to Calvinism have proven on BB that they have zero understanding of what it is!

    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not shouting, “I’ve been saved!”
    I’m whispering, “I get lost! That’s why I chose this way”
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I don’t speak with human pride
    I’m confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not trying to be strong
    I’m professing that I’m weak and pray for strength to carry on
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not bragging of success
    I’m admitting that I’ve failed and cannot ever pay the debt
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I don’t think I know it all
    I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not claiming to be perfect
    My flaws are far too visible but God believes I’m worth it
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I still feel the sting of pain
    I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I do not wish to judge
    I have no authority–I only know I’m loved
    Copyright 1988 Carol Wimmer
     
  14. webdog

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    Talk about painting with a wide brush... :rolleyes:
     
  15. Mel Miller

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    Calvinism Good?

    drfuss and Scott,

    Please comment on Ransom's stated view:
    Quote:
    ___________________________________________________________
    Because by and large they do identify more with the Calvinist side of the spectrum, rather than the Arminian side. Usually such people affirm human depravity, unconditional election, effective grace, and perseverance, but not particular redemption - a position known as Amyraldianism. I personally think that being a "3-point Calvinist" or fewer results in theological incoherence, because, as you say, all five points form a coherent system.
    ____________________________________________________________

    Does a belief in 3-point Calvinism result in theological incoherence?
    Must a belief in all five points (naturally) form a coherent system?

    Mel Miller www.lastday.net :wavey:
     
  16. drfuss

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    2BHizown writes:
    "When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not shouting, “I’ve been saved!”
    I’m whispering, “I get lost! That’s why I chose this way”
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I don’t speak with human pride
    I’m confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not trying to be strong
    I’m professing that I’m weak and pray for strength to carry on
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not bragging of success
    I’m admitting that I’ve failed and cannot ever pay the debt
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I don’t think I know it all
    I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not claiming to be perfect
    My flaws are far too visible but God believes I’m worth it
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I still feel the sting of pain
    I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name
    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I do not wish to judge
    I have no authority–I only know I’m loved
    Copyright 1988 Carol Wimmer"

    Nice article for all Christians. Both Calvinists and Arminians agree with it.
     
  17. drfuss

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    Mel writes:
    drfuss and Scott,

    Please comment on Ransom's stated view:


    Mel., as my opening post indicates, if you are not a 5-point Calvinist, then why call yourself a Calvinist? However, it appears people will continue to consider themselves either a Calvinist or an Arminian. The points, as the 5-point Calvinists define them, are all tied togther.
     
  18. Dale-c

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    Yes, both should...too bad some "calvinists" think they are special and better than the non elect.
    And of course some on the other side think that they a better than others for choosing..but it SHOULD be something we all agree with...I sure do!
     
  19. webdog

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    I have said this on numerous occasions, but have been shot down by the Christmas Calvinists as being not true.
     
  20. Andy T.

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    I agree. The crux of the issue is monergism vs. synergism. That is why I consider a 4-pointer a "Calvinist" in a loose sense of the term (despite Webdog's meaningless objections to the contrary). A 4-pointer is still a monergist and is a long way from Arminianism/synergism. And that is why most 4-pointers still consider themselves Calvinists. I can't speak for 1-3 pointers. However, though we often equate "Calvinism" with TULIP, Calvin himself wrote and preached a great deal on Scripture. His writings (beyond anything concerning TULIP) continue to have a huge influence on Evangelical theology. Thus, I think some more astute historians of theology feel more comfortable with the term "Calvinism" even though they may be less than 4 pointers.
     

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