Newbie Questions

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Handmaid, Nov 28, 2002.

  1. Handmaid

    Handmaid
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    I was raised in a Wonderful, Godly family who only got their doctrine from the Bible (our churches were/are the same way) and therefore are ignorant of all the jargon and theories of mainstream Christianity.
    Personally, I am very puzzled by what I have seen on these boards and especially by all the labels and people claiming God HAS to be on their side. I am kindly requesting people to explain to me just what 'Calvinism', 'Armenianism', and election mean to you, what you believe the other side means and *especially* what you see is the logical outflow in your life of believing the way you do.

    PS I tend to turn off even people I agree with when they aren't polite, but I rather expect you are all mature Christians who are actively seeking Christlike character. :)

    PPS (for the moderator: I tried to open an older topic, but the board said they no longer exsisted)
     
  2. rsr

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    Thought better of it.

    [ November 28, 2002, 10:25 AM: Message edited by: rsr ]
     
  3. Helen

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    Welcome to the board, Handmaid. The essence of the difference between Calvists and non-Calvinists is that the former believe God chose those He would save before creation and that was that. Those people and only those people would be saved. Non-calvinists believe, to one degree or another, that although God, being outside time (having invented it!) KNEW who would end up being saved, nevertheless allowed man to choose to accept or reject Christ (or the Promise of God) themselves, even though His perfect will was that no one perish.

    Everything else is connected in one way or another to that difference.

    For me, as a non-Calvinist, although they like to classify us as all Arminians -- I am not. And I have to admit that I, like you, don't know all the distinctions between this 'class' of believers and others. Like you, I just try to go Bible first.

    The way my own faith works out in my life is that, knowing I can never lose my salvation and that my life is hid with Christ in God (which Calvinists also believe, but some other groups don't, believing salvation can be lost), it keeps my mind off of my own position in Christ and allows me to focus on those two Great Commandments: love God and love your neighbor. For me, a rejection of the Calvinist idea that all were chosen ahead of time is exactly what does allow me to really care for my neighbor, for I am convinced that Christ died for everyone and that anyone might be saved by Him if they want the truth out of life and are humble enough to accept it. But denying oneself is a very hard thing, especially when you don't know that God really does care for you enough to not only cover that denial but supply so much more for you, in your life -- including a new life.

    So easy to see from this side; so difficult to imagine from the other! So, for me, my life is a matter of getting myself out of the way and allowing Christ to live through me through the Precious Holy Spirit, so that others will see and be attracted to Christ Himself. I can't change anyone, but I can make the One who does the changing more evident to them through my life and words and demeanor.

    So, for me, to be able to fully reach out and get myself out of the way, it is a matter of knowing that there is not a single soul on earth beyond the reach of God and, perhaps something I say or do will help them come to Him sooner and not later...

    I know it is only a privilege and not a necessity for God to work through us, touching others, but it is a great and wonderful privilege and I never want to ignore it or treat it lightly. I don't think, though, that I could care for everyone alive, or at least so many (who knows everyone but God?) if it were not God loving them through me.
     
  4. KenH

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    To me, Calvinism means that God the Father is sovereign, that He is in control of my election, calling, justification, sanctification, and glorification. It means that God the Son purchased my salvation by living a perfect life on my behalf and by suffering a perfect death on my behalf – suffering the full penalty for every single one of my sins so that God will remember them no more. It means that, in time, God the Holy Spirit regenerated me, gave me new life as I was born again, or born from above, due to God’s great and amazing mercy and grace toward me. Upon this sovereign action of God, I came to the Lord Jesus in repentance and faith and now do the works that God prepared for me to do.

    Now I am free to love my neighbor as myself and to point him toward Jesus and not toward the man-made doctrines I used to believe and trusted in before I was saved and trusted in the finished work of Christ. Now I can tell my neighbor that anyone who trusts in God’s grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone will be saved to the glory of God alone, as we learn in the Scriptures alone. [​IMG]

    The non-Calvinists(some of whom are Arminians) believe, as I understand their arguments, that man has the capacity to cooperate with God’s grace before regeneration while he is still dead in sin. And numerous non-Calvinists believe that if one does not continue to some undefined degree cooperate with God’s grace, that he can still be lost – in essence, that Jesus’ perfect life and death were not sufficient for salvation but man must finish what is lacking in his salvation.

    Welcome to the Calvinism/Arminianism Debate Forum, Handmaid. I wasn’t planning on posting on Thanksgiving Day but after reading of your sincere desire to understand what is going on in this forum, I decided to go ahead and post this reply to you. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving Day. [​IMG]

    Ken
     
  5. massdak

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    scripture supports that God does the choosing, that God shapes the will of man in order that he will believe on Christ. scripture supports that man will not seek God unless God does a work in man. it is a hard saying for those who want to believe that man can make a choice to believe or not to believe, yet many are never given the gospel which is what one has to hear. it is truly a mystery that man is responsible to love God with all his heart and mind, yet he is unable to do that without God saving him. salvation is God saving man not man using his own will more intelligently for the most important decision of all time. how can someone explain why some are able to believe and some are not?
    the word calvanism becomes a stumbling block election is election God is soverign predestination is scripture why do some want to eliminate it from the word of God or change the meaning? :confused:
     
  6. Handmaid

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    Thanks for replying on Thanksgiving, Mr. Hamilton. [​IMG]

    Actually, I Was taught that being Armenian meant having to be good to keep one's salvation and therefore Calvinism was eternal security. Since the Bible is quite clear on that issue, I assumed I must be a Calvinist. This other stuff is new to me so now I'm not sure.

    I definately agree that God is the one doing the saving. We are inherently unable to do anything worthy of salvation. What doesn't make sense to me is how free will can be entirely taking out of the issue.

    My background is in counseling where the emphasis has to be on helping people make something of their lives dispite the terrible things that were forced on them in childhood. The constant balance of 'sovereinty' vs. 'freewill' is a very real, practical one that needs to be addressed.

    My question to you, massdak, is are you saying that people whom God calls to Himself are unable to resist His grace? MUST they choose Christ?

    The Bible is very clear that we have choices. Human nature and involvement in people's lives show the power and reality of our choices. Is this the difference between the two camps?

    [ November 28, 2002, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: Handmaid ]
     
  7. massdak

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    do you believe man can choose Christ without God enabling him?
     
  8. KenH

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    Handmaid,

    You asked such a great question, that I feel moved to post again on Thanksgiving Day. I have some time here at the end of the day, so why not? [​IMG]

    Man took "free will" out of the issue when he sinned in the Garden of Eden. Man's nature was corrupted by his sin. We, unlike Adam when he was created, are born with a corrupt, sin nature - we are natural born sinners. We are not sinners merely because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. Actually, this is the major area of disagreement between those who believe that salvation is all of God's grace alone and those who believe that salvation is by man cooperating with God's grace. All of our other disagreements stem from this one subject of what is man's nature after the Fall in the Garden of Eden. Perhaps this illustration will help explain what I am saying:

    If you take a buzzard and put him right in the middle of a wheatfield, the buzzard will starve even though he is in the middle of a bounteous amount of food. Why? Because a buzzard eats meat, he doesn't eat wheat. It is his nature to eat meat, it is against his nature to eat wheat. His "free will" is useless to him as his nature will not exercise his free will in such a way as to eat wheat.

    In the same way, an unregenerated sinner, surrounded by the gospel, will not repent and believe. Why? Because it is his nature to rebel against God, it is not his nature to serve God, even though he may perform "good" acts relative to other human beings. After he is regenerated, or born again, by the Holy Spirit, he has spiritual life and a new heart so that he will come to Jesus in repentance and faith.

    I hope this helps. [​IMG]

    Ken
     
  9. BobRyan

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    The Arminian view.

    God so loved the World that He Gave His only begotten Son. John 3:16

    God is not willing for any to perish but for ALL to come to repentance 2 Peter 3:7

    Christ is the atoning sacrifice for Our sins and not for Our sins only but for those of the Whole World 1John 2:2

    Christ chooses to "Draw ALL mankind to Himself" John 12:32

    And then we do not water down "all" or "world" in those cases.


    The 5 point Calvinist view of the SAME texts:


    "All" and "World" are not as unlimited in scope as the Arminians have left them.

    The 5-point Calvinist view is that God in fact only died for the few of Matt 7 - not the Many.

    Christ is not the "Savior of the World" but of the "few".

    He only loves the "few" and only draws the "Few". God is not "obligated" to do more than this - or even to do what he does.

    He simply enjoys wording the promises in ways that use the "All" and "World" expansive scope even though He really means by that "the arbitrarily selected Few of Matt 7".

    We should be thankful for what we can get. IN the case of the lucky "few" Man merely chooses what God "causes" him to choose.

    They have some very noble reasons for coming to that conclusion and I am sure they will be happy to share more on that as has been the case so far.

    IN Christ,

    Bob
     
  10. Missionary to Germany

    Missionary to Germany
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    Here is my question about this quote.

    Do I read that God has to give us a new heart, in replacement of our old sinful heart, so that we will come to trust Jesus Christ as Saviour?

    If I am wrong, please inform me. Thank you
     
  11. Handmaid

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    Sure is easy to tell which side of the line each of you are on. :D [​IMG]

    No, I don't. It is the 'faith of Christ' -- Gal. 2:16, Phil. 3:9-- that saves us.

    However, this does not negate our choice in the matter. Looking at Acts 26 objectively it sure seems that God was drawing Agippa through Paul.

    Mr. Hamilton, thanks again [​IMG] . I'm sorry, but I cannot see that people lost their freewill by eating the fruit. If you can show me from the Scriptures I will be happy to agree with you, but nothing I have seen in my years of study predisposes me to believe that this is the case....

    BTW: a buzzard not eating wheat has nothing to do with his freewill, but with his digestion system :confused: :confused:

    I think the answer to that reality may be very important.

    [ November 28, 2002, 09:27 PM: Message edited by: Handmaid ]
     
  12. russell55

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    Well, Calvinists believe that people do have choice. We just believe that they choose according to their nature. And since the fall we are all by nature opposed to the things of God:

    But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. (1 Cor 2:14)

    So, while we do indeed have choice, by nature we choose to fulfill the desires of the flesh rather than submitting to Christ:

    And you were dead in trespasses and sins....indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath... (Ephesians 2:1,3)

    For those who are according the the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh...the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8)

    Understanding the logical arguments someone makes and being willing to submit to Christ are two different things. It is only the inner work of the Holy Spirit that makes one willing.

    Well, the scriptures most convincing to me are the ones that say we were in bondage (or slaves) to sin. We may have been willing slaves (meaning we were doing what we wanted) but nevertheless, someone who is in bondage is not free to serve anyone but the master he is in bondage to.

    [ November 29, 2002, 01:14 AM: Message edited by: russell55 ]
     
  13. npetreley

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    My turn.

    Calvinist view

    Matthew 22:14
    "For many are called, but few are chosen."

    Romans 9:16-18
    16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

    Ephesians 1:11-12
    11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

    Ephesians 2:8-9
    8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

    Arminian view of the same verses

    "For ALL are called, but only the few smart ones choose right."

    So then it is of the man or woman who uses his or her free will, not strictly of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I gave you a free will choice between letting my people go and keeping them, that I may show everyone how I don't interfere with anyone's free will choices, so that man's name may be declared in all the earth." Therefore He has mercy on whomever chooses to receive it, and doesn't harden anyone because a loving God wouldn't do that.

    In ourselves we also chose him, having been predestined to have free will according to the plan of him who works out everything except what we choose in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to pick Christ of our own free will, might be for the praise of the glory of our common sense.

    For it is by free will you have been saved, through your choice to have faith -- and this not from God, it is a choice you made due to the gift of free will given you by God, so that we can boast.

    See? Anyone can have fun with charicatures with just a little effort.
     
  14. KenH

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    Amen, you are absolutely correct, brother. [​IMG]

    Ken
     
  15. KenH

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    I am sorry that you don't understand my buzzard illustration. I am afraid I can't make it any plainer using a different illustration. As I said this is the real source of soteriological disagreements. Is man truly dead in sin(the Bible says he is) or does he come into the world with spiritual life(the Bible says he doesn't). An incorrect diagnosis of the problem leads to a wrong understanding of the remedy.

    As for some Scriptures [​IMG] -

    Isaiah 64:6(NASB)
    6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
    And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
    And all of us wither like a leaf,
    And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

    John 6:44(NASB)
    44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

    John 6:65(NASB)
    65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

    Romans 5:12,19(NASB)
    12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—
    19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

    Ephesians 2:1,5(NASB)
    1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
    5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),


    I appreciate you being an honest inquirer, Handmaid. [​IMG]

    Ken

    [ November 28, 2002, 11:39 PM: Message edited by: Ken Hamilton ]
     
  16. Missionary to Germany

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    I was wanting to know if God has to give us a new heart before we will accept Jesus as our Saviour?

    If this is true, do we go back to the pre-fallen stage in life? I mean that Jeremiah 17:9 says - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

    It is just a shock to me that God has to give us something in order to get us prepared to accept Jesus as our Saviour. Please give me one verse of Scripture that proves this. I am honestly seeking to know this. Thank you.
     
  17. Handmaid

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    Then no one is able to really choose? It is hopeless for everyone? How did you and I get saved then?

    Rom. 9 definately points toward God calling some people and hardening others. This is what I was looking to find. BTW: could an Arminian please explain what they do with Rom. 9 and Acts 13:48.

    What I really want to know is what your beliefs cause you to do in your everyday life. There are natural consequences to everything we believe *especially* about how people get saved. Please answer me on this one, it is the fear I have about what the Calvinists are saying.
     
  18. KenH

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    Handmaid,

    There is no difference in how Calvinistic and non-Calvinistic Christians "do" Christianity. We love God and we love our neighbor. We worship, evangelize, teach, preach, admonish, correct, love our spouse, love our children, love our pets, pay taxes, vote, etc., etc., etc.

    The argument is over how God saves, not how we should live after we are saved. Is it 100% free grace or is it something less than 100% free grace with man having to supply the difference by his corrupted will?

    I hope that you are not confusing Biblical Calvinism with unBiblical hyper-Calvinism. Hyper-Calvinists do not see the same need to evangelize that we Calvinists do. If you need to know more about hyper-Calvinism, go to www.gty.org/~phil/articles/hypercal.htm.

    I hope this helps. [​IMG]

    Ken
     
  19. KenH

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    Absolutely. [​IMG] This must happen before we will come to Jesus in repentance and faith and become accepted in Him.

    Ezekiel 36:26
    26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

    Acts 16:14
    14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

    I hope this helps. [​IMG]

    Ken
     
  20. rlvaughn

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    Handmaid, I searched for one topic that gives defintions of many of the terms used in the Calvinism/Armimianism Debate. It was supposed to be in this forum, but one of our Administrators, Clint Kritzer, found that it had been moved to the Archives. Thanks to Clint for his work. Here is the link to:

    Attempting Definitions

    Hope this helps. rlvaughn, moderator
     

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