Calvinism or Arminianism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by The Doctor, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. The Doctor

    The Doctor
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    A Short Introduction to the Controversy
    Between Calvinism and Arminianism
    INTRODUCTION
    This particular study seeks to answer the question: is God's provision of
    salvation best explained in Calvinistic or Arminian terms? Perhaps a good starting
    point would be to clarify some titles.
    The term Calvinism refers to the doctrines set forth by the Reformer John
    Calvin, and developed by his successors in the Protestant church world-wide. This
    has come to be called Reformed Theology. The distinctives of Calvinism center on
    five key points that explain the doctrinal basis of the Gospel. Although nicknamed
    Calvinism by opponents, most the Reformers held these five points.
    Historic Christianity has mainly been Reformed in its theology since the mid
    1500's. Certainly all its key confessions were Calvinistic, whether they were
    Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist or Congregational. Even the early Brethren
    movement was largely Calvinistic in Gospel truths. Calvinism expresses the faith
    of the martyrs, confessors and reformers, the faith in which the majority of Christ’s
    true people have lived and died ... it is the truth of God. (John L. Girardeau,
    Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism, Sprinkle Pub. P. vii)
    Arminianism stems from the teachings of Jacob Arminius [1560-1609] that
    diverged from the Reformed view of predestination. His followers (the
    Remonstrants) took these views even further and solidified their position in five
    points in the early 1600’s that led to their denunciation by the Synod of Dort in
    1619. It was here that the Calvinistic five points were clearly spelled out in
    distinction to the Arminian theology:
    • Total Depravity
    • Unconditional Election
    • Limited Atonement
    • Irresistible Grace
    • Perseverance of the Saints
    Methodism is the main Arminian representative in history (although even
    portions of that were Reformed like the Calvinistic Methodists of Wales). From it
    stems the Holiness movement and the Revivalist movements, which were strongly
    Arminian, or even Pelagian in the case of Charles Finney and his successors, and
    from this comes the modern crusade evangelistic movements and Pentecostalism.
    Roman Catholicism is also a works based religion and history shows that Jesuits
    have encouraged Arminianism to undermine Protestantism at various times.
    The influence of Arminianism in modern times is enormous, mainly due to
    the influence of various evangelistic organizations and the effects of popular
    books. The average evangelical Christian is probably Arminian in his
    understanding of the Gospel. It must also be said that our time is seeing a dearth of
    theological awareness, many being blown about by every wind of doctrine, a
    dangerous over-dependence upon experiences, reliance upon 'professional'
    ministers or leaders, and a concomitant fall out of casualties on all sides. Salvation
    Today there are many forms of salvation being offered just as there are many
    available gods. We have seen a return of civilization to a pagan culture where idols
    and false religions abound upon every corner. Even man himself is said to be god
    by some. This particular idea of man being god is popularly taught by New Age
    cults. It is the original Satanic lie.
    We need not study the variety of salvations being presented since we are
    looking at Christian doctrines. This means we can ignore
    • Universalism, which states that everyone will be saved, and also
    • Pelagianism (see History) which denies the Fall of man and believes that
    man can save himself.


    A study of the Bible gives us only two possible options concerning the Gospel:
    • Salvation is something that God provides, initiates, and controls
    totally.
    • God only potentially provides salvation; man must initiate his
    personal conversion and co-operate with God to complete it.
    There are no other options. These in turn lead to two different pictures of God:
    • The first picture is that of an all powerful, completely sovereign God
    in total control of everything, past, present and future, who loves man
    so much that he actually saves those He has chosen and brings them
    through to the end.
    Or…
    • The second picture is that of a God who loves indiscriminately (i.e.
    everyone), but not enough to guarantee the salvation of anyone; who
    has left the initiation of salvation to mere man; who hopes that people
    will respond to his gracious offer and who cannot control the destiny
    of those that do respond to his Gospel so that they could still be lost.
    This is not an unfair caricature, though perhaps the comparison is not usually
    presented in this way. The first presentation is Calvinistic, the second is the
    Arminian nature of things.
    (more later)
     
  2. LeBuick

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    What's up Doc? I see ya got in finally.

    I choose neither, they are both man derived idiologies. Each have some valid points and I have places I disagree with both.
     
  3. Allan

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    I agree with LeBuick.
    Beleivers do not fall into the quaint catagories, the typically Calvinist places others into.

    Most Baptists are Non-Cal and Not Arminian, while shunning Pelaganism and Universalism.
     
  4. The Doctor

    The Doctor
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    they are both man derived idiologies

    When you said that tthey are both man derived idiologies. Then you tell me what is from God. Did not God himself use over 40 men in writting the Bible? Paul even said in 1Co 7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.
    1Co 7:25 ¶ Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
    2Co 11:17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.
    so do you throw this part of the Bible out because it comes from man? Do you really know the doctrine that each teach? if not then how can you say neither?

    God uses his chosen to teach us ln Ephesians the 4 chapter vs 11-17 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
    12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
    13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
    14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
    15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
    16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
    17 ¶ This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
    18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
     
  5. The Doctor

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    The History of the Controversy
    Throughout the ages a key struggle in theology has been between those that
    stressed the sovereignty of God in salvation (monergism) and those that elevated
    man (synergism). The Bible shows us a balance between the provision of God and
    the responsibility of man in many areas, but in salvation, even man's responsibility
    is activated by God. Man must respond to the Gospel, but God in his grace enables
    man to respond by changing his heart (more of this later).
    In history, movements began which elevated man, even to the position of
    being able to provide his own salvation (e.g. Pelagianism). True Bible believers
    could not accept this course, but some of these weakened the Gospel by saying that
    man initiates or contributes to his salvation, apart from God (i.e. Semi-
    Pelagianism).
    The great Gospel champion, Augustine of Hippo, contended against Pelagius
    in the 5th century, and re-emphasized the New Testament teaching that salvation is
    all of God. God predestines those who are to be saved and ensures that they are
    saved. Although the Gospel is declared to all, i.e. the command to repent is open,
    only those who God has chosen will respond. (Similar controversies took place in
    the 3rd and 4th centuries).
    The Reformers, starting with Martin Luther, rediscovered what Augustine
    taught and went to the Bible to search out the truth for themselves. This current
    controversy is not modern, but ancient. Throughout history, God has taught men to
    proclaim the truth (monergism) in the face of opposition. That truth was then
    established, underlined and initiated periods of consolidation in the church. This
    happened, for instance, in the times of the Puritans in England, Knox in Scotland
    or Spurgeon in Victorian London.
    The Heart of the Question
    We have seen, then, the central issue: Is salvation all of God; or is salvation
    partly of God and partly of man?
     
  6. Allan

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    It is all of God. The fact man must beleive does not take anything away from Gods sovereignty, if you understand man will not come to God unless God first come (or draw us). To believe is not a work. Believe - is not only acknowledging God but trusting that God will do All He said He would do concerning our great salvation.

    Who was the great champion of the Gospel for the first 500 years before Augustine? Augustine was only one of many during those years who contended for the faith. Though I do give him GREAT credit for helping to alay some false ideologies creeping both up and into the Church (even though at the time He was in the corrupted Church of Rome) he still gets credit for many other falsehood coming into the church. Infant Baptism is just one of them.
     
  7. Brother Bob

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    Welcome The Doctor; to the chop block :)

    If you don't understand that God in His Sovereignity made man very complex with a mind and a heart and soul. He also made

    Him subject to vanity or in other words, when God in His Sovereignity made man He gave him a choice to choose good or evil

    and when man does so he is doing what God give him, not something of his own. You see, there is the Spirit of God that

    strives with man to do good and believe and there also is the spirit of satan that strives with man to do evil and disbelieve

    God. God chose to make man this way so He could get Glory and Honor out of him when he chose God over satan. unfortuantly

    man chose to disbelieve right in the beginning but God already knew this so He gave His Son before the fall for the sin of the

    whole world before man had ever sinned at all, for Jesus stood as a slain Lamb before the foundation of the world. So the

    Bible says when God gave His son and then made man that it was "very good" so therefore God loved all when He gave His

    son and not just a select special "few". So, when it says "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son" it was

    before the fall and it was "very good" and all meant all. Thank God He had no respect of persons but gave us all a chance to

    go to Heaven and not just the Calvinist.



    2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    1 Timothy 2:3-6 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

    Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

    Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

    Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

    Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

    1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
     
    #7 Brother Bob, Sep 28, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2006
  8. webdog

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    The Doctor is in! Welcome to the BB :thumbs:

    A. Calvinism
    B. Arminianism

    I vote C!
     
  9. saturneptune

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    Oh goody, another Calvin free will debate. Can anyone say Groundhog Day? I dont think a VCR tape could take this many replays. One thing we have learned over and over again is that they neither change anyone's mind, neither are they edifying.
     
  10. Brother Bob

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    New dog on the block Saturneptune. :) We got to break him in.
     
  11. J.D.

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    Salvation is either

    (1) Monergistic

    or

    (2) Synergistic

    Pick one.


    There is no middle ground.
     
  12. webdog

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    Agreed...but it is not calvinism or arminianism.
     
  13. J.D.

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    And BTW it was Pelagius that stirred the controversy, not Augustine. Augustine's famous prayer "Lord, grant to us what you require of us, and require of us what you will" was attacked by Pelagius and his followers. Likewise, it was Arminius and his followers that attacked the orthodox doctrines of the reformation.

    Augustine didn't "invent" the doctrine of absolute sovereignty of God. Maybe the record gets blurred before Augustine, but the original record is clear, both in the New Testament and in the Old Testament.
     
  14. Blammo

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    Salvation is monergistic.

    Romans 10:8-9 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    Notice the above does not say: (thou hath saved thyself)

    Even though belief preceeds salvation, God still does/did the saving work.

    I heard, resisted, heard, resisted, heard, resisted....

    Finally, I heard, I believed, and God saved me.

    God gave us life.
    God gave us His word.
    God gave us His only begotten Son.
    God gave us preachers.
    God gave us the ability to hear, remember, think, reason, decide...
    God gives salvation by grace, through faith. (No works involved, it is a free gift)
     
  15. 2BHizown

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    When He says, 'Let there be light', then there will be light, in the world or in our heart! Its all about God!
     
  16. J.D.

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    Blammo said:

    .

    Great, Blammo! Drive your very soul into that thought and don't move off of it for anything!

    And regeneration preceeds belief. God does the saving work from beginning to end. It's all the work of God. The Holy Spirit puts the thirst in us (regeneration), and the water of the word (Gospel) satisfies it. We drink of it by believing. Either this is true or monergism is false.

    But at the end of the day....God won!

    And what did you finally hear? Wasn't it the voice of your Sheppard calling you into the fold? Why did you hear the voice and others have not heard that voice. Many hear the Gospel, but only some hear that voice. Who comes to Jesus? "All that the Father gives me shall come to me".
     
  17. Brother Bob

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    They all hear it is just that some love darkness rather than light or they say, I will wait a while and death catches them in their sins or some will say I will wait a while and the Lord will come back and it will be too late then.

    Jesus stood as a slain Lamb before the foundation of the world right before God made man and said it is very good and Loved His whole creation. In other words "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would BELIEVE should not perish but have eternal life. amen,
     
  18. Blammo

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    If I had ever thought there was something good about me, (something making me worth of saving), I would still be lost.

    I'm not sure where you find "regenerated before belief" in the scriptures. For me, it seems these three verses describe the order of events:

    1 Corinthians 3:5-7 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

    Yes, no matter what happens, God wins. Each time I resisted, God won and I lost. When I finally surrendered, God won and I won.

    John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    (And there is nothing we can do to change it)

    It was the same gospel message I had heard before. The only difference was, this time, it was clear I was a sinner in need of a Saviour. The planting had been done, the watering continued, and God gave the increase.
     
  19. J.D.

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    You heard, and you resisted. Whom did you resist? And then you stopped resisting and believed. Why did you resist in the first place? Wasn't the Gospel disagreeable to your fallen, prideful nature? And did the Gospel suddenly become agreeable to your fallen, prideful nature? Who turned the key in your heart to make the Gospel agreeable to you? Did you turn the key, or was it the work of God?

    Hint:

    "saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts:"

    "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:"

    "And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live."

    "But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."

    "And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:"

    "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me."

    "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:"

    "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."

    "Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do?"

    "whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul."

    "But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God."

    "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

    "and the day star arise in your hearts"

    "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
     
  20. webdog

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    No calvinst has ever honestly been able to prove this from Scripture. If you can, you will be the first. I won't hold my breath. Regeneration is simultaneous with faith in Christ, and THIS is what the Bible supports.
     

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