Many more questions

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Larry in Tennessee, May 13, 2003.

  1. Larry in Tennessee

    Larry in Tennessee
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    As I stated in another thread I started, I'm new to this discussion. The more I have looked into the dynamics of the discussions here, the more confused I've become. The Arminian will argue that Christ died in order to offer the gift of salvation to the entire human race, which I believe is fully supported by the Bible. On the other hand, the Calvinist will argue that God has predestined those to whom He will show His mercy to. I believe this is also fully supported by the Bible. I will post several Bible passages for the Calvinists to respond to which I believe support the Arminian view. I will follow this up with several passages for the Arminians which I believe support the Calvinist view. I really don't want to debate, but hopefully to learn. I'm trying to reconcile these two views, as I believe both are supported by Scripture.

    Love in Christ,
    Larry :confused: :confused: :confused:
     
  2. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
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    Continue wrestling with this! It is a worthwhile endeavor, as long as it doesn't become your focal point in your walk with Christ. I have wrestled with both sides as well, and I keep learning and growing in my docrinal belief - but hopefully not to the determent of my growth in the the grace and peace of Jesus Christ!
     
  3. Larry in Tennessee

    Larry in Tennessee
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    Questions for the Calvinists!

    And as Moses lifted up the serpant in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:14-17)

    And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:21)

    Therefore, as through one man's offense judgement cane to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. (Rom 5:18)

    For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Jesus Christ. who gave Himself for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Tim 2:3-6)

    For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the Living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. (1 Tim 4:10)

    For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. (Titus 2:11)

    If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world. 1 John 1:9-2:2)

    I will not comment on these verses, other that to highlight points of interest.

    Love in Christ,
    Larry
     
  4. KenH

    KenH
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    Larry,

    You might find the following article to be of interest -

    What Calvinism And Arminianism
    Have In Common
    Lost in a thicket of Arminian and Calvinist debate, we sometimes lose sight of the grand truths we hold in common...

    By Edward Fudge


    What does it mean that Jesus died for all? The question is beguilingly simple. You would not know from the face of it that the question has been at the center of a heated and sometimes vociferous debate. For almost two thousand years, Christians have struggled to understand the effect of Jesus' death and the scope of its saving power. With the publication in recent months of a number of books by evangelicals on the fate of the unevangelized, larger questions about the scope of the Atonement are gaining renewed currency. Does "all" refer to individual human beings, or nationalities and peoples, or just the elect?

    Within the Reformation mainstream, two contending viewpoints have emerged, which observers often label Calvinist (after John Calvin), on the one hand, and Arminian (after Jacob Arminius, an early Dutch opponent of Calvin) or Wesleyan (after John Wesley), on the other. On the Calvinist side of the debate, you have Augustine, Calvin, and their followers. They argue (with varying degrees of explicitness and forcefulness) that the "all" refers to the elect: Christ died to save only those whom the Father had predestined to eternal life.

    On the Arminian side, represented also by Wesley, believers argue that Christ in his atonement intended to make salvation available to everyone. It is faith (or, in some versions, obedience) that makes the saving work complete. The debate includes a host of related questions. What are we to make of this preposition "for"? If Jesus died "for" every human ever born, can anyone finally be lost? Does a yes to that question mean Christ's death was somehow ineffective? And just who are these "elect"? Does this scriptural term refer to an indeterminate and nameless mass of people (as Arminians would tend to argue), or does it describe specific individuals with faces (as Calvinists would suggest)? Do we speak of Jesus' death making salvation possible for all people, or, as the traditional query phrases it, does a "particular" atonement necessarily exclude those who are not saved?

    The question is also sometimes phrased in terms of those who have never heard of Jesus. Will they all be lost? If so, why? Because they never heard -- or for some other reason? Does Scripture allow (or even encourage) one to conclude that, based on Jesus' atonement, God might finally save still others who in life never knew what Jesus had done on their behalf?

    For those who take Scripture seriously, these distinctions represent more than abstract theories. These "theories" express convictions. And they may collide with the convictions of other Christians -- people as sincere and informed and committed as we are. When concern for people and for theological integrity seem to clash, the anguish only increases. Sometimes people from the different camps lose sight of their brothers or sisters in the doctrinal thicket.

    I was trained through graduate school in the Arminian viewpoint as expressed by the Churches of Christ. Later, I studied under Calvinists at Covenant Theological Seminary in Saint Louis, Missouri. These queries thus reflect the honest uncertainties of one who has been the lone Arminian in a classroom of Calvinists and a suspected Calvinist in a fellowship where that term is no compliment. Today, some 20 years downstream, I am certain that neither "side" has the whole truth in its pocket and that no human analysis can fully contain or explain what God accomplished for sinners in Jesus of Nazareth.

    Yet we can speak truthfully even when not exhaustively. Convinced that evangelicals of all stripes share more than they generally realize, I propose the following seven couplets as a modest attempt at bridge building. Of course, this is only a step. But perhaps we can at least survey the terrain, establish some boundaries, and drive a few stakes. Doing so is surely better than defending our doctrinal turf while firing volleys of proof texts at each other.

    Couplet 1:

    - Every accountable person deserves to be lost.
    - No accountable person deserves to be saved.


    On this point Scripture is transparently clear: "All ...are under the power of sin...that...the whole world may be held accountable to God" (Rom. 3:9, 19). "[A]ll have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).

    God requires absolute obedience, and not one of us has presented it. The mystery is not that some are finally lost but that any are finally saved. Every person finally lost will receive justice, whereas every person finally saved will receive mercy grounded only in its giver (Rom 1:18-20, 32; 2:5; 3:4-8).

    There are important differences between Augustine and Pelagius, between Calvin and Arminius, between Whitefield and Wesley. But this is not one of them. Every careful Calvinist insists that God deserves no blame for the fate of the lost. Every careful Arminian affirms that God deserves all glory for the salvation of the redeemed. Stressing each of the two points in the couplet can help us minimize needless misunderstanding, define genuine differences with sharper clarity, and cultivate a fraternal climate in which to study jointly the Word of God.


    Couplet 2:
    - God takes no pleasure in the final destruction of any.
    - God finds pleasure in the salvation of every person who is saved.


    God finds no joy in the death of any sinner. "Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?" he asks rhetorically in Ezekiel 18:23 (see also Eze. 18:32; 33:11). He is not vengeful or vindictive. The Creator dues not delight in the destruction of any person he has made, not even his enemies. He desires "all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4). Whoever is finally lost will not see God smiling as a result. Indeed, the Son of God says, there is celebration in heaven over every sinner who repents (Luke 15:7,10).

    Couplet 3:

    - No one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him or her.
    - Every person whom the Father has given to Jesus will come.


    These statements did not originate with Calvin, Augustine, or even the apostle Paul, but with Jesus himself (John 6:37, 44). The assurance that God is in control should stimulate courage rather than contention; it should inspire hope and not harangues. To know that God has a plan and a people emboldens us to proclaim the gospel to every person we meet (Acts 18 : 9-10) . What God initiated in eternity he will consummate in his own good time (Eph. 1:1-14; Rom. 8:28-31).
    If we recoil at the prospect of divine sovereignty, as though God's gracious choice of some requires his unilateral rejection of others (a notion sometimes described as "double predestination"), we may rejoice that Scripture here is "splendidly illogical," to borrow a phrase from biblical commentator A. M. Hunter. For, as Hunter notes, "the opposite of election is not predestination to destruction; it is unbelief a self-incurred thing." Many Calvinists urge the same point. Instead of charging them with "doublespeak," Arminians should welcome the unexpected common ground and rejoice. Until one claims to know everything personally, there is room to tolerate paradox in others. The hallmark of a Christian is not logic, but love. The proclamation of God-who-acts-to-save is as old as Exodus and as relevant as next Sunday's sermon in our day of positive-attitude platitudes and self-help schemes. It ignites holy boldness even as it smites our pride. That God is sovereign means that none can come to Jesus -- despite our clever phrases, latest methods, and polished salesmanship -- unless the Father draws him or her. At the same time, it assures us that every person the Father has given to Jesus will come -- without exception, and despite our own faulty choices and often bumbling work. If prophets are mute, donkeys can speak. If disciples remain silent, the stones can cry out. If the church should prove unfaithful or disobedient, God's plan still will see its intended end.

    Couplet 4:

    - The ultimate basis of condemnation is the lost person's own works.
    - The ultimate basis of salvation is the work of Jesus.


    Calvinists and Arminians already agree that every person finally saved will enjoy salvation only because of what God did in Jesus. "No one comes to the Father," said Jesus, "but by me" (John 14:6). "There is salvation in no one else" (Acts 4:12). All who "receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness" will do so "through the one man Jesus Christ" (Rom 5:17) . It is his "act of righteousness" alone that "leads to acquittal and life" (Rom 5: 18).
    These truths apply equally to those who lived before Jesus and to those who lived after, to Jew as well as to Gentile, to those who hear the gospel and to those who do not. None will be saved except on the basis of the atonement Jesus has made. Salvation will be conclusively "to the praise of [God's] glory (Eph 1:6, 12, 14). The mere presence of each redeemed human will attest throughout eternity to the "immeasurable riches of his grace" (Eph 2:7). On the other hand, all who ultimately perish in hell will do so despite the fact that Jesus died for sinners and despite the fact that he receives everyone who truly wishes to come.

    Couplet 5:

    - Salvation occurred objectively two thousand years ago in Jesus' work.
    - Salvation occurs subjectively as each person believes the gospel.


    Jesus himself announced that he came "to save" the lost (Luke 19:10; John 12:47; 1 Tim 1:15). He accomplished his stated assignment and triumphantly proclaimed from the cross "It is finished" (John 19:30; Heb. 1:3). God scrutinized what Jesus had done and was satisfied (as foreshadowed in Isa. 53:11). Then, to confirm the mission accomplished, God raised Jesus from the dead (Rom 4:25). After he had made purification for sins, Jesus took his place at God's right hand (Heb 1:3; 10:11-14). If we preach that Jesus' death was the payment for our sins, we may also proclaim that his resurrection was God's paid-in-full receipt.

    All this occurred in the historical experience of Jesus, our substitute and Savior. God reconciled the world to himself in Jesus' fleshly body (Col 1:19-22; 2 Cor 5:18-19). Salvation is not a theoretical possibility but a _fait accompli_. It is "the good news of [our] salvation" (Eph 1:13). We may speak of this finished aspect of Christ's work as "objective" salvation. It happened once for all, outside us but for us, in the personal life and death of Jesus of Nazareth almost two thousand years ago.

    On the other hand, every person who enjoys salvation in this life does so by a response of faith to God's gracious call. Whatever the case in the age to come, no one can enjoy salvation now apart from hearing and believing the gospel. We may speak of this present participation in Christ's work as "subjective" salvation.

    Just as President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and, by the stroke of his executive pen, freed every slave in the Confederate States effective January 1 , 1863, so Jesus, by his perfect act, effectively saved every human being who finally will enjoy eternal life. Yet just as no slave empirically enjoyed the benefits of Lincoln's act until she or he heard and believed the good news of emancipation, so no redeemed sinner experientially enjoys Christ's redemptive blessings now except through hearing and believing the gospel (1 Cor 1:18). Until women and men learn the good news of their salvation, they continue to live as if nothing has happened. They remain as they were -- without hope, not knowing God, unaware of his forgiveness and favor. The gospel ministry is for the sake of such individuals, that they may obtain salvation in every sense, subjectively as well as objectively (2 Tim. 2: 10). Like Paul at Corinth, we need to declare the good news fearlessly and without ceasing, so long as God's patience indicates that he still has others who do not know they have been reconciled in his Son (Acts 18:9-10; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; 2 Pet. 3:9).

    Couplet 6:

    - Every person finally lost will have knowingly rejected God's goodness.
    - Every person finally saved will have accepted God's goodness as it was known to him or her.


    Scripture speaks of some who perish "for lack of knowledge" or "by believing a lie" (Hos 4:6; 2 Thess. 2:8-10) This "knowledge" is relational as well as cognitive; it is not only intellectual but also moral and spiritual. Whoever rejects this "knowledge" does so by conscious choice and inevitably courts condemnation (John 3:19). Yet, because God is so just, and because Jesus' saving work is so extensive and so powerful, the apostle Paul confidently affirms that only those who consciously reject God's light will finally be lost (Rom 5:13-14, 18-21).

    Not all who are finally lost will have rejected the gospel, at least not in this life. But even those will have consciously rejected knowledge of God in some form, whether in nature (Acts 14:17; Rom 1:19-25), conscience (Rom 2:15-16), or divine revelation (John 5:45-47). God's judgment of condemnation will be manifestly just in every case (Rom. 2:5-12).

    On the other hand, Scripture indicates that all those finally saved will have welcomed in a spirit of faith the light of God they had. "God is one," Paul writes, "and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised because of their faith" (Rom 3:30). Abraham is the prime example of one who was justified by faith though neither Christian nor Jew, and with limited gospel understanding as well (Rom 4:9-22). Jesus had in mind those who hear when he said: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15-16).

    Couplet 7:

    - No person is better for not hearing the gospel. - No person is injured by hearing the gospel.


    Sometimes people mistakenly assume, upon learning that Jesus' work saved all who are finally saved whether they hear the gospel or not, that those who never hear are somehow better as a result. That inference is neither necessary nor proper.

    The ultimate rejection of God is in the rejection of the light of the gospel. For that reason, whoever willfully rejects Jesus incurs the greatest guilt (Heb 10:26-31). It does not follow, however, that those who gladly receive God's dimmer rays before they learn of Jesus will reject the brightest light when it appears. Each heart remains the same regardless of the degree of light to which it is exposed (Luke 16:30-31; Rev 22:11). We may be sure that no person who rejects the gospel and is lost would have been saved if only that one had remained ignorant of Jesus. It is inconceivable that anyone who cries "yes" to God from the hopeless darkness will suddenly shout a defiant "no" when the bright light of the cross and the empty tomb burst finally into view.

    Common ground


    These seven couplets come short, of course, of providing a third alternative to Arminianism and Calvinism, although with cultivation by brighter minds they might furnish seeds for a biblical "via media". Even so, they can serve a useful purpose. For they stake off common ground -- to the surprise, at times, of participants all around -- marking a safe and neutral area large enough for both groups to stand while growing together in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. After 450 years of constant controversy, perhaps that is no small step.

    This article was published in the April 27, 1992 issue of Christianity Today. Entered into electronic media, with permission, by Christian BBS ABBA II, San Diego (no longer online).
     
  5. William C

    William C
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    Larry,

    I just replied to you on the thread "Matt. 7" but I probably should have posted that here.

    Take heed what Scott posted earlier on this thread, his words are wise.

    God Bless,
    Bro. Bill
     
  6. Larry in Tennessee

    Larry in Tennessee
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    Questions for the Arminians!

    For whom He forknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many bretheren. Moreover whom he predestinated, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Rom 8:29-30)

    Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills, He hardens. You will say to me then, who does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will? But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to Him who formed it, why have you made me like this? Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishoner? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction. and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory. (Rom 9:18-23)

    For you see your calling brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. (1 Cor 1:26)

    Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of time He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the council of His will. (Eph 1:4-11)


    Love in Christ,
    Larry
     
  7. Larry in Tennessee

    Larry in Tennessee
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    Thanks for the words of wisdom Scott. No, my focal point is on Jesus, and Him alone. My desire is that others will see Christ through my life, and come to know Him as well. That is mainly why I'm wrestling with issue so much. If the Calvinist position is completely accurate, then my desire to see others come to Christ may not even be possible. I suppose this is what I'm trying to clear up. But I will never let doctrinal issues take the place of my focus on Jesus.

    Love in Christ,
    Larry
     
  8. Frogman

    Frogman
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    Here is the error of many who think that man does have the free-will and ability to 'choose' Jesus. C.H. Spurgeon, and even Paul, taught the Doctrines of Grace and I would dare say there has been no man since Spurgeon who plead and desired with the entirety of his inmost soul that men would believe in Christ to the saving of their souls, all one must do is to read his sermons and even his 'Lectures' to his students to see that he was a strong Calvinist, yet he did not fear to point unbelievers to the Christ of God.

    To think that Calvinism creates in men an inability to desire to see others saved is not complete. There are and have been over the years those who would say that men are better off never hearing the Gospel so that they would not have to 'reject' it and thus having not, 'not believed' (as Yelsew would argue) they cannot be condemned.

    No, there has to be more to the doctrine of Grace than to dismiss it off-hand that to accept Calvinism as Biblical is somehow declaring the preacher of Sovereign Grace alone has less concern for the souls of his hearers. The truth is that he has a balanced understanding of his abilities and the ability of man in contrast to the Purpose and Will of God.

    We propose only to preach Christ and him crucified, where ever the Spirit draws a man, then he is witnessed in due time that he is a Child of God.

    In your first example, of Christ likening himself to the serpent Moses lifted up in the wilderness, what is the similarities of those who were healed in that day and those who are healed by looking to the manifestation of the Lamb of God? What is the difference in those of Moses' day and those of our day of those who do not look to the 'serpent' of brass (which is a picture of the judgement of God on the Lamb) for his people?

    What are these differences? They are not difficult to distinguish, except where men imagine that God must be a tyrant in order to elect a number to particular redemtion. Find the similarities and the differences in these in your first question posed to 'Calvinists' and your soul shall be at rest; your questioning shall be ended and God shall be all in all.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas Eaton
     
  9. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
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    Here we go!

    For this one, I must direct you to Wesley's thoughts on the idea. Wesley's sermon on Predestination

    What is it, then, that we learn from this whole account? It is this, and no more: -- (1.) God knows all believers; (2) wills that they should be saved from sin; (3) to that end, justifies them, (4) sanctifies and (5) takes them to glory.

    This passage does say clearly that God will have mercy on who he wants to have mercy on, and wrath on who he wants to have wrath on. However, if this verse is taken out of Biblical context, it may seem that God does this indiscriminately. In a very similar Old Testament passage, God tells Jeremiah that He has the power over man, just as a potter has for the clay, but he adds something quite interesting.

    God clearly places a condition on mercy and wrath. That condition is man's obedience to His commands. Understanding that changes our idea of Romans 9-11 tremendously! There are many, many other passages in which God responds to man's actions, from Cain in the book of Genesis to John's in the book of Revelation.

    It is of note that "are called" is not in the original Greek. Thayer's Lexicon says of the word in this context that calling refers to the condition in which the calling finds one. So, it can easily be seen that a person who is "called" is the condition of someone who has accepted such a call. Not many wise or noble people accepted such a call.

    Finishing the thought in Ephesians 1:21-22, I understand that what was predestined was that people would be adopted into His Church. The Church was predestined - that He would have a people made up of mankind. The chapter is not dealing with individuals, but with a corporate body.

    I hope this helps.
     
  10. Scott J

    Scott J
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    Be careful not to confuse Calvinism with hyper-calvinism. Some of the great evangelizers have been staunch calvinists, eg. Spurgeon and Edwards. Belief that God chose those who will be saved does not negate the responsibility to spread the Gospel. It is the means by which men come to God regardless of how you believe on this issue.

    By the way, the Arminian really doesn't escape the trap they want to lay for Calvinists. Even most Arminians believe God has foreknowledge of who will be saved. So if He foreknows and has the power to do something about a person's lost state but chooses not to then the Arminian arrives at the same place as they suggest the Calvinist resides.

    Only Open Theists or other aberations find a way to escape... but at what cost to the attributes of God? They would limit God to a timeline that He created... by ostensibly denying He created it.
    You're wiser than most of us... as your focus on Jesus and the written Word will settle your doctrinal issues.
     
  11. William C

    William C
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    Because God is timeless he foreknows all of those who will be saved through faith and spend eternity with him. Our eternal future with him in heaven is completely known to him as if it has already happened. So it truly can be said that God foreknows all believers intimately and that he has predestined their being conformed to Christ.

    Now our being foreknown does not in any way negate the means by which salvation comes. God calls (or invites), men respond to that call and they are justified and then glorified.

    Calvinists will argue that it doesn't mention man's response as a defense for their view, but even they must affirm that faith must fit in here somewhere. We must understand that the response of faith is assumed by Paul since he has been speaking about "those who love God."

    Notice Larry that this passage doesn't say, "He has mercy on whom He will, and whom He wills he condemns to hell." That is what Calvinists apparently think this passage says because they use it to defend against the Arminian's objection of Calvinism's doctrine of Total Depravity and Unconditional Election.

    Paul is not anticipating an objection to these so-called doctrines, instead he is anticipating the objection to judicial hardening.

    Both Total Depravity and Hardening claim to cause mankind to be unable to see, hear, understand or believe the gospel.

    What is the difference?

    Total Depravity: No scriptural references to inablity, it is implied by misapplied texts, but is never mentioned in the text. (Original Sin is taught but that is not the same as Total Depravity so don't get the two confused. Total Depravity is about man's total inability to respond to the call of God through the gospel)

    Hardening: Many scriptural references throughout the Old and New Testaments. (ie. Acts 28, Mark 4, Matt. 13, Romans 10-11, John 12, etc.)

    Total Depravity: Man's nature from birth

    Hardening: Man's nature after they rebelled against God for generations and He sent them a spirit of stupor and hardened their hearts so that they could not believe (John 12:37-41)

    Total Depravity: Perminate unless you are elected unto salvation

    Hardening: Temporary (Rom. 11)

    Total Depravity: Imputed onto man because of Adam's sin.

    Hardening: Imputed onto man because of each man's own sinful rebellion after seeing and understanding God's ways.

    Total Depravity: Its purpose is to ....??? I guess Calvinists would agrue that it glorifies God, but I don't see how.

    Hardening: Its purpose was to ingraft the Gentiles and so God could accomplish His purpose of redemption in the world.

    Larry, if man is born Totally unable to believe the gospel as Calvinists contend, why did God harden Israel so that they wouldn't believe as recorded in John 12?

    This is a poor redering of this verse: It should read: For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; Most translations follow this pattern. Even the KJV has "the called" in brackets setting it apart. Why? Because the Greek is clear that "the called" is better interpreted in English "the calling of you".

    The scripture is clear that all are called to repentance and faith. Even Calvinist confirm this. They just add to that saying that only those who have first been irresistably called to regeration will respond in faith. They create two calls instead of the one universal call for all to be saved. I believe this undermines the call of the gospel as not being the power of God unto salvation and an ineffective and useless to accomplish anything.

    I have added some comments in parathesis to assist what I believe is Paul's meaning in this chapter. This is supported in the following verses which reads:

    God's purpose was that we (ISRAEL) who were the first to trust in Christ should praise our glorious God. And now you (THE GENTILES) also have heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God's guarantee that he will give us everything he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God.

    Larry, its important to understand that the biggest issue of that day had to do with the Gentiles being allowed to be in Covenant with God. Jews were persecuting the apostles for even preaching the Gentiles and even believing Jews wanted the Gentiles to convert to Judiasm before becoming Christians. This was the hot issue of the day and is often the focus of the apostles writings, especially Paul who is the apostle to the Gentiles.

    I hope that answers some of your questions. Please ask for any clarification if you need it. God Bless.
     
  12. William C

    William C
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    Here is the error of many who think that man does have the free-will and ability to 'choose' Jesus. C.H. Spurgeon, and even Paul, taught the Doctrines of Grace and I would dare say there has been no man since Spurgeon who plead and desired with the entirety of his inmost soul that men would believe in Christ to the saving of their souls, all one must do is to read his sermons and even his 'Lectures' to his students to see that he was a strong Calvinist, yet he did not fear to point unbelievers to the Christ of God. </font>[/QUOTE]Dallas, I'll agree that there have been some very evangelistic Calvinists, but the fact that this doctrine causes a well meaning believer like Larry to even consider this should cause great doubt. (History has shown he is not the only one, there were and still are many others who came to the same conclusions).

    Any doctrine that causes many honest believers seeking to understand truth to logically think that his desires to witness may be unnessary should cause great reproach upon that doctrine. NO, it does not prove it false! I have only said that it should bring great reproach. And it sure seems that scripture would address such reactions since they are so common among believers.
     
  13. Frogman

    Frogman
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    Paul had no problem witnessing; neither did Stephen; it seems to me that any doctrine such as Arminianism which causes doubt to be cast on Scripture should be the one we reproach. Is it the doctrines of Grace that cause men to fear they can ultimately fall away from the love of God in Christ Jesus, does the Scripture not address these concerns?

    Just see no reason to doubt nor question the peace of God found in Christ Jesus.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas Eaton [​IMG]
     
  14. William C

    William C
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    This is simply not true. Larry, Scott makes a false assumption here which lead to a fallacy of his argument. He assumes that God hasn't done everything within His will to save the lost. He is not willing to admit that God might just not want to force people to go against their wills. God doesn't want rocks to worship him as John points out. He wants people to worship him. He wants people to love him. He doesn't want to force them to do these things just as you and I don't want to force our spouses or children to love us. We want them to do it because they come to know us and value us and love us for who we are. I believe God desires the same from us. Calvinism assumes that God couldn't have made a plan where He remained sovereign while allowing people to have the ability to choose, but He did and that may be difficult for us to wrap our minds around but there is no dening that both man's choice and God's sovereignty are clearly taught in scripture. Man's free will in no way violates that Sovereignty other wise Adam would never have been created with a free will in the first place. Calvinists claim that free will does violate God's sovereignty but that is not biblical, its just rhetoric.
     
  15. William C

    William C
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    No, its verses like this that bring fear:

    Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either. Therefore, consider God's kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness toward you--if you remain in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off (Romans 11)

    It seems to me that Calvinists make the same false assumption that Israel made. They assumed, "We are chosen, God has to save us now." Be careful that you don't become arrogant in that knowledge for you too might be cut off. Be afraid! Fear the Lord for that is the beginning of wisdom!
     
  16. Scott J

    Scott J
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    This is simply not true. Larry, Scott makes a false assumption here which lead to a fallacy of his argument.</font>[/QUOTE] Larry, Please be the judge yourself as to whether I have made "false assumptions" or not. Note how Bill argues here. He says I make a false assumption then goes on to assign to me arguments that I did not make.
    No Bill. You have interacted with me enough to know that I do not believe this at all.
    Another false assertion. I have never argued that God wants to force people to go against their will. He does change the will of the elect but this is an act of grace, not coercion.
    Who said He did? You know this is a mischaracterization of what Calvinists believe.
    I agree.
    The difference is that it is within the nature of a wife or child to express this love toward a husband/father. It is not within the natural will of fallen man to love God.
    Arminians assume that God couldn't have made a plan where man possessed genuine free will while allowing God to remain sovereign with respect to His divine election from before the foundation of the world those who would be saved. Indeed it is difficult to wrap our minds around but man does have free will and left strictly to his own ability to do good will exercise that free will to his own condemnation.
    God's sovereignty in no way violates man's free will to act within his nature. Even God cannot act outside of His "nature", ie. He cannot deny Himself, He cannot lie, etc. Why would we think that man has an ability to act outside of his sin nature without divine intervention.

    We wouldn't deny that Christ performed all of the healings in the gospel. Yet, He told some that their faith had made them whole. At the very same time, Christ accomplished all that He be ordained for Him to do. Every act was a fulfillment of a pre-ordained purpose.
    Again Larry, I would encourage you to make the choice. As far as I know, Calvinists do not claim that man has absolute free will but neither does God per the examples given above. We, like God, act with free will in accordance to our nature.

    I reject the argument that sinners lack the ability to be saved but rather that, until the Holy Spirit moves them, they are completely devoid of the will to accept God on God's terms.
     
  17. William C

    William C
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    Calvinists don't believe that God has done everything within his power to save all the lost, just the elect. Arminians do believe God has done all within his power short of violating his own plan. The reason some are not saved is because it was not apart of God's plan to force love or worship from his creatures. If this were His will why go to all the trouble of creation/sin/resurrection etc? Why not just make himself a line of rocks to love him and worship him?

     
  18. Frogman

    Frogman
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    With all the doubting men do, He may do this yet. :D

    God Bless.
    Bro. dallas Eaton [​IMG]
     
  19. Frogman

    Frogman
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    Both.

    Bro. Dallas Eaton [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  20. Larry in Tennessee

    Larry in Tennessee
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    Thanks to everyone for your kind responses, as well as the links you have posted. The opinions on these issues are quite varied, and apparently quite intense.

    Ken,
    Thanks for your post. I suppose both sides agree on much more than they disagree on. Both sides agree on salvation through Christ alone, and on the fact that nobody can come to Christ apart from the calling of the Holy Spirit. The main disagreement seems to be the nature of that call. It is either an irresistable call meant for the elect only, or a call whereby He gives us a decision to make.

    I will take it prayerfully before the Lord. At the same time, I will continue to share Christ whenever the chance presents itself. Hopefully the Lord will let me plant the seeds which He will grow.

    Maybe this is somewhat of a paradox that I will not fully understand until I reach my permanent home. Anyway, thank you all for your responses. You have all been helpful.

    Love in Christ,
    Larry
     

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