Calvinists and Arminians agree

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by JamesL, Aug 4, 2014.

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  1. JamesL

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    Another thread was pretty much derailed because of an assertion I made, that Calvinists and Arminians both agree as to the eternal destiny of each and every person, bar none


    I noted that I have made this assertion before, and was asked to clarify. Here is the thread:
    http://www.baptistboard.com/showthread.php?t=92505





     
  2. Reformed

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    So many formal fallacies, so many flaws in James' premise. I don't have the time to respond to them all in one post, so I'll deal with them in groups.

    The first thing I'm going to state is I'm not going to accept James' assumptions, and "seems to me" definitions. When we're dealing with soteriology we don't get to be careless or inaccurate in our exegesis, and we don't get the privilege of making pronouncements in the absence of a reasoned biblical argument. The same standard should apply to all of us equally.

    Second, I don't doubt James' sincerity in wanting to discuss this topic. I choose not to question his motives. If my response seems blunt at times it's because there is so much to discuss it's not practical to tip toe through the tulips so-to-speak. There are times when we all need to be big pants people and be willing to roll up our sleeves and make our case heard, whether it is accepted as truth or not.

    James makes the following statement:

    Donald McKim, in his Dictionary of Theological Terms, defines Legalism as, "A relationship or ethical system that is governed primarily by obedience to prescribed laws or rules."

    A Legalist subscribes to Legalism. All that has to be done is just to add the pronoun to McKim's definition.

    So, in essence, a Legalist believes that "obedience to prescribed laws or rules" justifies a person before God. The Legalist either formally, or practically, de-emphasizes grace and the work of the Holy Spirit.

    I think it will be helpful to point out the opposite of Legalism; Antinomianism. McKim defines Antinomianism as, "The view that there is no need for the law of God in the Christian life (Rom. 3:8; 6:15)."

    Antinomianism over-emphasizes grace, mercy, and forgiveness and de-emphasizes obedience and personal holiness.

    Just as a Legalist subscribes to Legalism, an Antinomian subscribes to Antinomianism.

    There is no biblical support for this statement, and considering the gravity of the subject matter, I would think such support would be a given.

    Paul goes to the bother of elucidating the deeds of the flesh in Gal. 5:19-21:

    One book later Paul has more to say about "what you do":

    It's not just Paul who instructs about "what you do":

    Brevity precludes me from taking you to 1 Peter 3, 4, and 5 with other examples of "what you do" being something that God cares about very much.

    Of course our "what you do" should be motivated by love. When we do the right things, with the right heart attitude, we are blessed in what we do. But to say God could care less about our actions is a callous disregard of the scriptural command to be "holy yourselves also in all your behavior" (1 Peter 1:15).

    As a Calvinist I will flatly reject your characterization of what determines our eternal destination. Salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). We are justified by faith, not works (Rom. 5:1). Even though we believe that good works are evidence of salvation (Eph. 2:10), they are not a criteria for determining salvation. Yes. If a professed believer is living in open, unrepentant sin, we would be greatly concerned about the veracity of his profession, but the final arbiter on his eternal destiny is God.

    Also, good works doesn't have a quantitative component. We can't ask the question, "How many good works do I have to perform to prove my salvation is real?" Good works will manifest themselves differently in each person.

    Now, there are extremes in the Arminian and Calvinist camps in which an erroneous view of good works may fit your definition of a works based criteria. Free will Baptists believe that an individual can lose their salvation. In order for a person to maintain their salvation they have to constantly show evidence of their faith. That is a works based, heretical soteriology. In the Calvinist camp there could be an equal imbalance among those who carry perseverance of the saints into Legalism.

    I am going to dismiss these as an example of your "works are a criteria" because they are extremes. The majority of believers in both camps should condemn these unbiblical works-based views.

    It's been a long day, so I am going to address the rest of your post tomorrow.
     
    #2 Reformed, Aug 4, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2014
  3. JamesL

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    My intent was not to venture into a discussion of legalism, but to quote what led up to my assertion that Calvinists and Arminians agree on the eternal destination of every person.

    Will you plainly answer the following, with a simple answer?

    Suppose a man has faith, but no works. Will that man go to heaven? A simple yes or no will suffice, as I'm sure you'll be itching to pull James 2:14 out of context

    The Arminian answer is "no"

    What's yours?
     
  4. Earth Wind and Fire

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    James.....are you not attempting to paint him into a corner?

    Let me ask you....would you consider this passage of scripture works based......or something else?

    This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down

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    his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions



    17

    and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

    children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

    This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how

    19

    we set our hearts at rest in his presence:

    condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
     
  5. Iconoclast

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    as a neutral observer.......it seems as if R has taken some time to expand the issue for the sake of clarity....James a simple yes no will not get this done. Could you respond point by point so we can be clear on the issue.?
     
  6. convicted1

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    This could not be further from the truth, imo. It's like buying an peach tree. At the time you plant it as a sapling, it's a peach tree. Whether you see peaches or not, it's still a peach tree. Over time, it grows...matures...as it gets water and fertilizer. Then in time, it produces peaches. The peaches are evidence to us it's a peach tree, but peaches dangling on a limb or not, it's still a peach tree. Some produce more than others and some die out...but rest assured, all were peach trees...
     
  7. Yeshua1

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    We both agree that apart from being found "In Christ" by God, we are destined to hell and ternal seperation from God..

    That is about all we seem to agree upon, as we agree to end result, but not on how one gets there!
     
  8. Reformed

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    I left off addressing your points on legalism. Let me move further down your comments in your OP.

    Destination? Well, that addresses where we will spend eternity, but not the how (as in how it was made possible for us to receive such a blessing).

    You are presenting salvation has some sort of retail transaction. "Saved" for the Calvinist is much more than the disposition of our eternal destiny. The last of the Five Solas of the Reformation is Soli Deo Gloria = Glory to God Alone. As Christians we're not be so heavenly minded that we become no earthly good.

    Col. 3:1, 2 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set you mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

    To the Calvinist "saved" means kingdom living now. It means letting our light shine before men, so that they may see our good works and glorify God (Mat. 5:14). It is about taking down strongholds, destroying godless speculations, and anything that rises up against the knowledge of God, by faith in God and the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 10).

    That's more than can fill a nutshell.

    You have a way of complicating the obvious and trivializing the momentous. And yes - I will say it - you are arrogant and obtuse. With one quip you push aside men who are your betters (and mine also); basically accusing them of doing what you're doing - complicating the obvious.

    I addressed your good works fallacy in my previous post:

    You haven't brought James 2:14-18 up for discussion yet, but I'm certain you will. In fact, you should. I know I would. On first glance it seems to support your claim that both Arminians and Calvinists arrive at the same place but through different arguments. Let's get into that, shall we?

    James' dynamic between faith and works raises a great question. What is saving faith? R.C. Sproul and Sam Waldron both make the point that saving faith is not a static faith; saving faith is active, or as Sproul refers to it as "visible". This brings us back to Eph. 2:10 which tells us that God created us for the purpose of good works. Since that is the purpose for which we were created, the absence of good works calls into question our profession. But as I pointed in my last post, we may not be accurate in evaluating good works. In the end the arbiter is God.

    So, back to the question at hand. Is there a difference between Arminians and Calvinists? Oh, yes. A wide swath of modern Arminians are Antinomian. Think easy-believism. Think of Charles Finney, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham. Think of the first Bible College I attended in Schroon Lake, NY. Once a person raised that hand, or prayed that prayer, they were saved. It didn't matter what they did, they were saved. Why? Because the Antinomian view these evangelists and organizations promulgated was a faith that was completed detached from any evidence-providing good works. So, no, these Arminians would not arrive at the same place as Calvinists.

    I wish that the previous paragraph represented a small cross section of Baptist churches. Alas, that is not the case. This Antinomian view is alive and well in many Baptist churches today.

    The Free-Will (or full Arminian) Baptists certainly do teach that a professed Christian must do good works in order to remain saved. But their view of good works is based on a heretical soteriology. They believe a person can fall from grace and lose their salvation. To them good works are not evidence of the Holy Spirit working in their lives. After all, if good works truly were the fruit of the Spirit, how could the Spirit ever stop doing those works and abandon the believer?

    So, I have shown you that Antinomian Arminians, of which there are many in Baptist circles, do not arrive at the same place as Calvinistic Baptists. But James, let not your heart be troubled. You are not without hope. It comes in the form of a happy inconsistency among Arminian Baptists. Many Arminian Baptists are woefully ignorant of their Arminian and Semi-Pelagian roots. So, on the one hand they deny original sin, deny that sinners are completely fallen, and affirm that salvation is a cooperative work between God and man. Yet some of them believe in Lordship Salvation and the progressive sanctification of the believer. Talk about inconsistency!

    Your egalitarian, ends-justify-the-means soteriology, is rooted in Antinomianism. You lump everyone together and infer, “We’re all making it, so who really cares about doctrine?” You totally dismiss the fact that we serve a holy God, who has expressly told us how He wants to be served and worshiped.

    I’m reminded of the closing paragraph of John Bunyan’s classic allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress:

    Ignorance arrived at the same place as Christian. He died and stood before His Judge. But unlike Christian, the premise of his faith was flawed from the beginning. It’s not that he maintained his profession until the end, which was evidenced by good works. He was never saved to begin with. He lived the life of an impostor.

    The point is that how we arrive is just as important as arriving. Our lives are not just about the end game. Paul recognized this when he wrote:

    Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
     
    #8 Reformed, Aug 5, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2014
  9. Reformed

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    I just finished my two part response to your first post before I read this.

    The comment of yours that I bolded tells me that you are smug, arrogant, and condescending. It also tells me you are not in the least bit interested in glorifying God by uncovering the truth of His word. Do you really think I am itching to pull God's word out of context? Do you really think that is my intent? If so, then I truly have nothing more to interact with you about.
     
  10. tyndale1946

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    Calvanist, Arminians of different isims and schisims dogmas and doctrines are never going to agree... Not in this world. One says according to scripture this ones going to Heaven and this one is not. But I have a question for you and I'm using scripture to prove it. Lets take a look in Heaven. Rev 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
    Now there is a great multitude which no man can number crying with a loud voice Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. These are THE REDEEMED Of CHRIST JESUS the Saints Of The most High God and the only way they got there... Any Of Them is thru the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm personally not worried about who is going to Heaven and who is not. All the Father had and gave to the SON WILL BE SAVED!... If not GOD lied!... Let God be true and every man a lier. The method that God uses to save his children by Jesus he didn't tell me but I know he saved a thief on the cross and left one. When I start to question weather that was fair or not I realize that Gods ways are not my ways and his thoughts are higher than my thoughts... He does according as he is God and doesn't ask for my opinion or help. Just to look at the great multitude that NO MAN CAN NUMBER! Are we going to agree here on everything we say here NEVER. I believe with all my heart that we are among those saints with white robes and palms in their hands praising God and his Son Jesus Christ.
     
  11. JamesL

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    I appreciate the position as a neutral observer. I really do.

    But I think Reformer is not trying to clarify anything. He's written about 5,000 words, in order to keep from giving a straight answer. And now he's upset with me, so he may never answer.

    I'd love to go through point by point, it might take some time. God willing the good Squire will keep the thread alive long enough to do so.
     
  12. Rippon

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    James, he took the time and effort to express himself as clearly and as biblically as possible. Don't attribute that to some escape mechanism.

    Please go line-by-line if you have to and respond to his two substantive posts --#2 and #8.
    Well, you came right and basically said that he was going to be dishonest. You charged him with the following:"I'm sure you'll be itching to pull James 2:14 out of context." You got off on the wrong foot with that remark. Reformed is an honest man. You should not have said that.

    But as my book holder --don't get angry with me for telling you the above.
     
  13. Earth Wind and Fire

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    When I was first saved, I realized that I had been loved all through my wayward years of sin and profound debochery (sic) --- and that I had not responded to that love favorably.
    Imagine that....spurning that love basically due to selfishness. When I realized that fact about myself I was profoundly ashamed....I had chosen hell vs the love of Christ! So yea, without that enlightenment from on High, I would have never come to that conclusion. So I ask you, what does that make me? Am I now a Christian--am I an Antonomian, an Arminian, a Calvinist whatever??

    What I am is a sinner...a most pathetic and terrible sinner struggling to understand my place with God my creator ....and we are all in that same boat. You James, me, Iconoclast, Rippon, Reformed, Winman, Rev., ...all of us here....and we need to learn from one another. So be very slow to anger and long on listening.....and we will get through this.:thumbsup:
     
  14. JamesL

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    You're probably right about my comment regarding James 2:14. I shouldn't have made it sound like that would be his intention.

    I implore you with all honesty...please don't think I might connect those books with comments made in the forums. I know things get brutal in debates sometimes. Even between friends and brothers. You can speak your mind with full thrust, and I will still love you for the brother you are.

    That goes for everyone on this board. Even a couple of people who I think actually hate me. They're my brothers, too.
     
  15. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Excellent response!!!
     
  16. Rippon

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    I will echo what EW&F said : Excellent! A mature response James. You're a good guy.
     
  17. Yeshua1

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    Think MANY Baptists are 4 point Arminians, in that hardly any that I know would teach to loss of salvation...

    And also think that at times, BOTH sides of the OSAS/Perserving of the Saints issues just need to realise that neither side, IF holding to what is really taught, would deny that a Christian has been given "freedom to sin and live lossely!"
     
  18. Reformed

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    James,

    I became upset because you accused me of using the Word of God for a less than noble purpose. I can handle direct hits. I know what it's like to roll up the sleeves and have vigorous debate. But don't think for a moment that I would intentionally plan to misrepresent God's word.

    You're seeking a simple answer to a question that is not simple at all. If someone dares to provided a reasoned response you are prepared to ignore it and accuse them of dodging the question. Think about the substance of the topic. If the issue was as simple as you present it, then why has 2000 years of church history gotten it wrong?

    Go back and look at my two responses to your OP. All I did was respond to what you wrote. Respond to those things if you wish to have a conversation with me.
     
  19. JamesL

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    Reformed...

    I do apologize for the inference I made toward you. I will answer, point by point, what you wrote.

    Right now my son has commandeered my computer, so I am using my phone. Not very conducive to making long posts. But while he sleeps....
     
  20. Reformed

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    Thank you. Consider the matter closed.

    I look forward to hearing back from you.

    You may never get that machine back!
     
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