Believe like a Calvinist, preach like an Arminian?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Van, Apr 30, 2015.

  1. Van

    Van
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    Often congregations are comprised of Calvinistic leaning folks and Arminian leaning folks. They have sat under Pastors that present lukewarm food, vague pablum that might mean this or might mean that.

    Yes, some passages of scripture are vague or ambiguous, where scholars disagree about what is actually being said. But if we are sure, or pretty sure the idea was this, and not that, should we not preach "our" truth. Or is it sound ministry to sail under false colors for the sake of unity?

    Recently, on this forum, a thread addressed "ignorant Pastors" who taught other than the Calvinist doctrine of Limited Atonement. Setting aside the fact I believe that view is unsound, what about those who believe in "limited atonement" (Christ did not die for all mankind) but preach that salvation is available to all people?

    Frequently we see threads where the word "atonement" is used but not defined. When Christ died, did He set aside the specific sins, past, present and future, of specific individuals or foreseen individuals? Or did Christ's death pay the ransom for all mankind, such that whoever is spiritually placed in Christ may undergo the circumcision of Christ where the specific sins (past present and future) of that individual are set aside. Two totally different understandings of scripture.

    Should we pretend the answer to which view is correct is a mystery and we soft pedal around it?
     
  2. Scott J

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    I believe the Atonement is limited in its effect but not its sufficiency. Some do teach that Christ died only for the elect... but that view makes His death insufficient. But yours makes it impotent. If Christ died for all men "effectively" then either all men are saved or Christ's blood is insufficient to accomplish the intent of God.

    But Christ in a real sense DID affirm general grace on the Cross.... that God didn't immediately destroy all of creation.

    My view is that people generally ask the wrong question. They imply it is somehow unjust for God to save some but not others if truly it is by His preordained will. But the true "injustice" is that ANY should be saved and much less considering the price of that salvation.

    Those who go to hell have no complaint nor do those who speculate on this subject. God did not make them do it. He offered and they WILLFULLY rejected him as will all men in their natural state. God gets NONE of the blame for those who say no... but gets ALL of the glory for those who say "yes"... even when it comes to regenerating their will so that they WILLFULLY say yes.


    To your question, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards, and others were calvinistic and preached that way. They were very effective in leading people to Christ. In general, the more "arminian" someone preaches... the more false professions we see in those who respond.
     
  3. Rippon

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    Charles Finney went beyond mere Arminians --he was a raging Pelagian. His "converts" didn't stick in those "burned-over districts."

    But, in a complete contrast to Finney, Asahel Nettleton reached the lost and they, most of them, remained faithful to the Lord for the rest of their lives. And he was quite the Calvinist --stricter than Whitefield of the previous generation.
     
  4. Van

    Van
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    Hi Scott, thanks for your post. We agree folks should preach what they believe and not sail under false colors. Naturally I disagree that my view makes Christ's death for all mankind impotent. Each and every person saved, the same group your view agrees are saved, is saved by the blood of Jesus. So the charge of impotence is in itself impotent.

    We agree it would be "fair" for everyone to face the perfect justice of God, being punished eternally for their sins. Saving some tempers that perfect justice with mercy. Nothing unfair about that.

    You say all men will reject God in that natural state, but have no answer for Matthew 23:13 where men in their natural state were seeking God effectively, for they were actually entering heaven.

    As far as preaching like an Arminian, consider J. Edwards. He used "fear" i.e. sinner in the hands of an angry God, when according to Calvinism, no natural person would be moved. Yet he moved many!

    And I find it interesting that you claim that Arminian preaching, i.e. Christ died for all mankind, and therefore salvation is available to you, results in more "false professions." Why would a person who is unable to receive the gospel, because of total spiritual inability, profess Christ?

    Bottom line, those that present the gospel, should present the gospel they actually believe in. Or so it seems to me.
     
  5. padredurand

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    Van, have you ever seen one of those troubleshooting charts that lead you through a series of steps that hopefully leads you to a resolution? Say your toaster won't toast. You look at the top of the matrix and it says Toaster Won't Toast. You run your finger down the line and it says Is it plugged in? Follow the line that says No and it tells you to plug it in. The line that says Yes leads you to more steps.... You know what I'm talking about?

    We have our own matrix when it comes to C/A. After 10 years of perusing these pages there is a very predictable line of conversation that follows the same old conversation and conclusions that have been batted around for centuries. To be fair, in my opinion, both sides do a lousy job representing what the other side really believes.

    I said all that to say this. How about we stand up and forget about whether we preach C or A and preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

    I know there are some C on this board that think A is another gospel. I can only conclude they no nothing of A. I know there are some A that think C are nothing more than boastful nut-jobs that run around yelling, "I am of the Elect and they rest of you are going to hell." Yep, don't know very much about C either. Malcolm Muggeridge said, We have educated ourselves into imbecility." Yep. We rush to so ardently defend out systematic theology that we run right past the plain words of the Book.

    1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NAS77
    1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.
    2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
    3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.
    4 And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
    5 that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.​

    I would pray if someone was inclined to say, "That boy preaches like an A or C." the Good Lord would give me weak knees and a sore throat so I'd have to sit down and shut up.
     
  6. Jerome

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    Charles Spurgeon, "Preach the Gospel":

    Charles Spurgeon, "Our Lord’s Trial before the Sanhedrin":

     
  7. Reformed

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    You make a good point. When the Gospel is preached Christ is the subject. Sinners are not interested in Monergism or Synergism. On the other hand how we present the Gospel does matter. There is a time and place for vigorous debate. But that typically is an intramural battle.
     
  8. Van

    Van
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    I disagree. Here is how a Calvinist would preach, " You were damned or saved from all eternity, for all eternity, and nothing you can do, not study of the Word, not prayer, not witnessing, will alter that outcome for yourself or your loved ones."

    Both Calvinism and Arminianism are right on some points of doctrine, but both are wrong on other points. So to preach like a Calvinist on eternal security should not give you a sore throat. Or to preach like an Arminian on Christ dying for all mankind should not make you weak in the knees.

    What burns my toast is sailing under false colors. I agree we should be concerned about nothing but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, but that notion does not say we should not teach ourselves and others to observe all Christ commanded, which includes avoiding hypocrisy.
     
  9. Scott J

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    You either missed or evaded the point. If Christ died for ALL effectively as "your group" teaches then He either failed or universalism is true. From there you might say "Ah, but one has to access it to make it effective for them"... you just made it a human work, an act of personal goodness or wisdom.

    I hope your changing of words wasn't intentional. It has nothing at all to do with "fairness". It has to do with justice and grace. By the law (justice) all should go to hell and pay eternally for their sinful rebellion. It is by grace that some are saved.... and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. Most folks on "your side" struggle with God's "fairness" in choosing to save some while allowing others to go to hell. Whether you verbalize it or not, the question is whether God has been "fair" to those who go to hell.

    God has been JUST in allowing those who make themselves His enemy to go as they so readily choose to do. You ask a question about "fairness" when there is no legitimate question about "fairness". In "fairness", Christ calls down the legions of angels, destroys mankind, and we all go to hell for eternity.

    If you are going to continue with these tactics then we should stop communicating now. Perhaps you should ask me for an answer before claiming I have none.

    Before we even discuss a particular passage, I will freely admit there are passages that are difficult for believers in the doctrines of grace. But as I struggled with this topic years ago and when I even consider it now... I find it is the other side who faces passages that are impossible to reconcile without changing the meanings of words.

    And indeed, no person was moved by their own sinful will. If you read more Edwards, I am sure he answers your objection himself.

    Why do you believe people make false professions?

    There are many reasons. Acceptance, emotional manipulation, fear of consequences, attempts at self-salvation, being sorry (but not repentant), etc.

    A relative of my wife has been "saved" in evangelistic rallies multiple times. Within a few weeks, the emotional high wears off and she goes right back to her horrible lifestyle (bi-sexuality, drugs, stealing, lying, cheating, violence,...). ONLY the Holy Spirit can resurrect her dead spirit. She has made "decisions" and did so with the best of intentions. She was genuinely sorry... but not repentant nor regenerated.

    There is only one gospel. Those who approach it from the perspective that it is our job to give it and God's job to save people... are just more biblical.
     
  10. Scott J

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    Except.... that calvinists DON'T preach it that way and pretty much never have. Did it not occur to you that the problem isn't what they do but your understanding? You are attempting strawmen and then being antagonistic as you try to light them.

    John MacArthur is a good, current teacher who might help you understand this better.

    If Christ died for all mankind... what happened? Why isn't all of mankind saved? I am asking rhetorical questions that I realize are uncomfortable to you. Perhaps you have something new but every attempt I have ever seen to these questions necessarily come down to some goodness on the part of the one who is saved. Romans 3 clearly tells us that NONE are good.... not a single one.

    You do not understand what you protest. Those you would seem to condemn accept what the Bible says about preaching the gospel... and do it. They accept that God foreknew His own before the foundation of the world. If you consider this "hypocrisy" then your problem is with what the Bible literally says... not with "us".
     
  11. Van

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    Lets consider this argument:
    1) The first point is simply an attack on me, either I am so stupid I did not understand the argument from Calvinism, or I am disingenuous and seek to evade its truth. Neither of this assertions are true. Beware of arguments that attempt to bolster those arguments by disparaging the opponent.

    2) Christ died for all mankind. His finished work of the cross provided reconciliation for the whole world. Now does this mean that the whole world was reconciled? Nope. It means His death provided the opportunity of reconciliation for all mankind. Thus God did not fail. And Christ's death did not reconcile everyone, for each individual must "receive" the reconciliation. So this view does not present "universalism."

    3) Here is how Calvinism should be preached: "You were damned or saved from all eternity, for all eternity, and nothing you can do, not study of the Word, not prayer, not witnessing, will alter that outcome for yourself or your loved ones." But Calvinistic leaning preaches do not preach it that way, including MacArthur.

    4) The point of the OP is to say preachers should present their actual beliefs, and not shroud them in vague assertions that mislead others.
     
    #11 Van, May 5, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2015
  12. Scott J

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    I was actually attempting to be accommodating to you rather than accusing you of being stupid, ignorant, or a liar... thanks for being so gracious.:confused:

    So then what Christ did isn't complete until activated by what is CLEARLY an independent decision from the will of the sinner, correct? It takes a "good" act or decision by the spiritually dead in order for spiritual quickening to occur, right?

    You complain that I suggested you didn't understand or else were being dishonest... then you demonstrate that you either do not understand or are being dishonest. If you do not understand the Doctrines of Grace, that does not invalidate them no matter how smart you think you are. Simply put, we preach because that's what God said to do. He saves because that's what He said He had DONE.

    The point of my response is you should not speak for someone else while lacking the understanding to do so. You attempt a strawman by putting words in the mouths of others while refusing to actually consider their own words. You refuse to recognize or account for the weaknesses in what you believe when compared to clear scriptural statements concerning God's foreknowledge of the elect and man's unregenerate state.

    Your fundamental question seems to be why has God commanded that we preach if He has elected those who would listen from the foundation of the world. You could just as well ask why God gave Adam a choice knowing that if he failed some would be condemned to hell. You might as well ask why didn't God save who He knew would be saved before Adam even fell.... unless of course you are claiming that God doesn't know who will be saved in direct contradiction to what the Bible says.

    The Reformed writers answer this best so far. Creation is not nor was it ever about the salvation of man. It is and always was and always will be about the glory of God.
     
    #12 Scott J, May 8, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2015

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