Explain Saul of Tarsus becoming The Apostle Paul

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by The Archangel, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. The Archangel

    The Archangel
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2003
    Messages:
    2,444
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not intending to put forward my thoughts on this thread. I'm fairly certain I know how a Calvinist might explain Saul's conversion to Paul.

    What I'm interested to hear is what the Arminians might say about Saul becoming Paul.

    Of course, I'm expecting both sides of the soteriological debate to chime in and answer one another. But, I am indeed curious to see what the more Arminian-types says about this and explain it through the lens of their theology.

    What say you?

    The Archangel
     
  2. SovereignMercy

    SovereignMercy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    0
    Doesn't matter what any of us say. Here's hat the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to say.

    And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
     
  3. Inspector Javert

    Inspector Javert
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,256
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Archangel::wavey:

    Forgive me for not quite grasping the question. I don't quite see how it would be any different. Maybe you could ask specific questions.
    God appeared to him personally as a great light...spoke to him audibly...told him to see the apostles.
    He was saved.
    Scales fell from his eyes (he was blind now he could see).
    He was taught of the risen Christ (in person thus vindicating his apostleship) and thus God ordained him an Apostle.

    I'm not being snarky....I just don't see why there would be two different ways to explain it. Is yours different? I don't see how different soteriological persuasions would be particularly relevant. Hope you can be more specific.
     
  4. kyredneck

    kyredneck
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    Messages:
    10,548
    Likes Received:
    273
    Although he was separated from the womb it was only WHEN it pleased God to reveal Christ in Saul that his conversion was brought about.
     
  5. The Archangel

    The Archangel
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2003
    Messages:
    2,444
    Likes Received:
    0
    Fair enough! :)

    Saul's conversion strongly suggests an effectual call and irresistible grace. Now, by those two terms, I mean a call that actually produces something. We do not see the picture of a pleading Christ; He is commanding Saul. Also, we see that, I would argue, in an instant, Saul is different, having come face-to-face with God and has been fundamentally and radically changed, and he irresistibly desires the things of Christ.

    For those Arminian-types, what other way(s) is there to explain his conversion according to a soteriology that rejects an effectual call and irresistible grace, at least as Calvinists define it?

    The Archangel
     
  6. Winman

    Winman
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    14,768
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well of course if anyone positively answers God's call then that call was effectual, how could it not be? And the reverse is also true, if someone does not positively respond to God's call, then that call was ineffectual. What does this prove?


    And how does Paul's conversion prove irresistible grace? How do you know that Paul could not have resisted God's call at this time? The fact that he did not resist does not prove the call could not have been resisted.
     
  7. DrJamesAch

    DrJamesAch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,427
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not Arminian

    This is certainly not evidence of an "effectual call".

    Paul had several choices to be made as implied in text, and as explicit here and elsewhere.

    *In Acts 9:5, 26:15, Paul asked "Who art thou, Lord?" after the light had shown and Paul blinded, Paul still did not know it was Jesus. In Acts 9:5, Jesus identified Himself. If this were irresistible grace, Jesus would not have had to state who He was because it would have been known immediately as Paul's eyes would have been opened to understand this.

    *Jesus said it was HARD for Paul to kick against the bricks. He didn't say it was IMPOSSIBLE or IRRESISTIBLE.

    *In 9:6, Paul TREMBLED and was ASTONISHED (frightened, terrified). Had Paul been forcefully converted, he would not have been frightened. Paul then asked "Lord, what will you have me do?". If this was evidence of an irresistible conversion, Paul would have no need to ask that question. The fact that Paul was terrified and had to ask Jesus what should he do is a clear indication that Paul's will was not overcome.

    *In Acts 26:19 when Paul recounts his testimony before King Agrippa, Paul said "I was NOT DISOBEDIENT unto the heavenly vision". Obedience is a willful act.

    Now Calvinists will latch on to Acts 9:15 "He is a chosen vessel unto me" and stop there. But, a chosen vessel for what? For salvation? No. To bear Christ's name before the Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. To say that Paul was irresistibly converted here is to add context to the Scripture that is not there. It must be presupposed into the text. By that same token, it could also be presupposed that Paul wasn't actually saved until later because he did not receive the Holy Ghost until 3 days later. Yes, Paul was called "Brother" by Ananias, but that would be because he was an Israelite, not because he was a believer (notice that Paul calls Israelites his brethren from Romans 9-11 even though it is clear that not all of the audience is saved).

    It could also be argued that Paul had not yet called upon the name of the Lord even though he was told what his mission was. "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Acts 22:16

    The clearest indication that Paul COULD HAVE resisted is, again, his testimony to King Agrippa. Paul did not say "Christ overcame my will" in any sense of the term. What Paul DID say was that he was not disobedient which is perfectly harmonious with every verse in which Paul demands obedience to the gospel. Rom 2:8, Gal 3:1, Gal 5:7, 2 Thess 1:8, Heb 5:9, 1 Peter 4:17.
     
    #7 DrJamesAch, Jul 21, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2013
  8. SovereignMercy

    SovereignMercy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    0
    No ears, No hear.

    "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death."'
     
  9. Inspector Javert

    Inspector Javert
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,256
    Likes Received:
    0
    kk...good questions. Gotta go nighty-night atm but, I think you have asked a good question here. I believe I understand your thinking here, so, I'll hope you'll feel free to correct me if I don't comprehend the Calvie viewpoint. Later on, I'll try to throw in my nonsensical tupence. I'll try to gel what I think to be your view (and why you perceive an "effectuality" to the call, whereas I wouldn't) with what would be a possible Arm answer later....Nice question :thumbs:
     
  10. InTheLight

    InTheLight
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Messages:
    16,189
    Likes Received:
    611
    Paul, like John the Baptist, were selected by God for His special purposes. Their salvation experiences are special exceptions.
     
  11. preacher4truth

    preacher4truth
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yet Paul says his salvation experience is the pattern for all others, 1 Timothy 1:16 and thus denies your theory.
     
  12. DrJamesAch

    DrJamesAch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,427
    Likes Received:
    0
    1 Tim 1:16 says nothing about Paul's salvation experience being a pattern for others of unconditional election. How many other of Paul's followers were stopped by the glorified Christ Himself and blinded, literally speaking to Christ about why they've been resisting? One can not claim that any such salvation experience a posteriori to Paul's conversion would be figurative as Paul's because Paul's experience was literal.

    Paul is showing that God had mercy on him in spite of his murderous habits when he deserved to die along with the people he persecuted. It is the example that Paul sets out of gratitude for Christ being merciful, and Paul's call to the ministry that they are to follow AFTER they are saved, and that God shows mercy despite what one has done to "kick against the pricks" anyone who does not disobey Christ and believe will receive mercy regardless of their past.

    Paul says, "For THIS cause". What cause? Verse 15, "That Christ Jesus came into the world to SAVE SINNERS".
     
  13. DrJamesAch

    DrJamesAch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,427
    Likes Received:
    0
    The fact that the Scriptures shows they were "separated from their mothers womb" shows they were separated IN TIME, not from before eternity as Calvinist thought would have it. The view that election is some magic list of names that deterministically imposes salvation is totally foreign to the concept of what election really is.

    Calvinists will often punt to the story of Ruth and other Gentiles to show that they were part of a special elect group, but the fact is they were NOT elect because they were not of Israel, they BECAME elect when they joined to Israel and believed God, just as any sinner BECOMES elect when they believe on Jesus Christ.
     
  14. Fred's Wife

    Fred's Wife
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    0
    Amen Bro. James! :thumbsup:
     

Share This Page

Loading...