[POLL] Can Calvinism & Arminianism Co-Exist?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by jmbertrand, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. jmbertrand

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    Should a single, fundamentalist congregation be able to include both Calvinists and Arminians within its ranks? It's pretty clear when you study the history of fundamentalism that both Calvinists and Arminians have made significant contributions, but the impression I often get from the Arminian majority is that Calvinists do not belong in a fundamentalist congregation -- or at least, they should not be able to admit to their Calvinism and talk to others in the congregation about it. What do you think?
     
  2. swaimj

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    I don't want to nit-pick the question because it is a legitimate question, but I want to point out a concept in the question which may require a nuanced answer.

    In the first part of the question, the issue concerns a single congregation
    In the second part, this statement
    describes not a single congregation, but describes the fundamentalist movement as a whole.

    To the first issue, I think that a local congregation is wise to be of one mind on an issue like calvinism and arminianism. Whether both extremes can dwell alike in a single congregation is questionable. I have not seen it. However, it is my observation that those who claim either position on this board often make modifications (or moderations) of their respective view and do not hold it in its purist form. Often people like this can have differing opinions and still work together within a local church.

    As to the second and fundamentalism as a movement, I think the movement was diverse in the beginning because the specific issues at stake were rather narrow in their scope (which is not to say that the ramifications of those issues were not far-reaching). Consider the five fundamentals: Virgin Birth, Bodily resurrection, Substitutionary atonement, 2nd Coming of Christ, and Inerrancy of the Scriptures. All of these deal with the central question of whether Christianity is supernatural in its essence or, as the modernists would have argued, is it possible to shed the supernatural and still retain the essence of Christianity?

    My point is that, in the movement as a whole, the crucial question of supernaturalism addressed in the beginning did not directly involve the issue of calvinism and arminianism, and so both C's & A's were involved in the defense of supernaturalism.

    Given this, I think it is in the true spirit of historic fundamentalism, whether in the local church or on a broader level, to work with other believers when it is possible, but to refrain from working with them when it is necessary.

    [ November 14, 2002, 08:08 PM: Message edited by: swaimj ]
     
  3. jmbertrand

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    You've made a useful distinction -- I should have phrased the question more carefully. Picking up on what you've said, I would add that the question isn't so much one of modifying or moderating soteriology as embracing a biblical view of fellowship. You can hold as strongly as you like to your theological convictions, provided you keep the need to love your brothers in spite of your differences at the forefront. In fact, I would say that the experience of loving in spite of difference would be of great benefit to those who hold strongly to any position.

    Personally, I think co-existence between Calvinists and Arminians not only can but should be the norm in fundamentalist congregations. The church that makes it work will exemplify Christ's words: "By this shall all men know you are my disciples, that you love one another." By co-existence, I mean that Calvinists and Arminians should be able to openly discuss their beliefs, while at the same time forming accurate views of the beliefs of those who disagree. Everyone should take pains to rightly understand the actual views of their brothers in Christ.

    We've probably all heard the comparison between the American and European legal systems: that the former is adversarial while the other seeks truth. I've never been in a European court, so I have no idea how true the truth-seeking characterization is, but I've been in American courts and can vouch for that half of the analogy. Anyway, we tend to conduct our disagreements like American legal procedings, seeking a way to destroy the opposition and, if possible, make them pay the bill! As Christians, we ought to join together when we disagree, seeking to know God's thoughts rather than our own.

    In that sense, I think Arminians do Calvinists a great service, and vice versa. In the simplest terms, Arminians prevent Calvinists from becoming Hyper-Calvinists, while Calvinists prevent Arminians from becoming Open Theists. We also help one another achieve greater consistency and humility. I have profited a great deal from arguing these points of doctrine with my brothers, and I hope that they have benefited greatly from it, too.

    Since none of us are saved by our grasp of doctrine and both Calvinists and Arminians are agreed on God's sovereignty and the free offer of the Gospel to all sinners, we have a basis to work together in a single congregation. I would argue that when we fail, the reason is not our soteriology but our sin.

    Mark
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    The amazing growth of reformed Baptist churches (independent and within the SBC) seems to indicate a sincere desire for folks who are calvinistic to worship together.

    This would eliminate the "compromise" of belief or continual "hassle" of going over (and over and over and over) the same doctrinal issues.

    Think that this is just another indication of the natural tendancy of a "flock" to, well, er "flock". :rolleyes:
     
  5. Brutus

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    To answer the question,definately not in our church! Just this past Sunday in the evening service our pastor started his message with a scathing attack on Calvinism.Now on numerous occassions I have heard him say from the pulpit that at the very least he was a 3 point Calvinist.But as of Sunday Calvinists within the church can no longer teach Bible in our school nor can we teach A S.S.class and we cannot hold the office of deacon.He stated that Calvinism is the damnation of fundamentalism and it must be beheaded before it destroys fundamentalism.I'm almost certain that this is going to cause a split in the church.By the way,even though we are not allowed to teach Bible in our school we can still remain on staff and teach other subjects.Since those who taught Bible are all Calvinists there is no one else to quallified to teach the classes so our pastor suggested eliminating Bible altogether and putting something like Pro-Teens in its place. :eek: :confused: [​IMG]
     
  6. Johnv

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    What about those of us who are Cal-Minians, or is it Ar-Vinists?
     
  7. Daniel David

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    Brutus, that is so typical of arminians. They lash out in "righteous indignation" that someone would turn God into a fascist. Oh brother, if they only understood what they are teaching...

    As to the original question, they should be able to work together. I am a calvinist. I have no problem working with men like Adrian Rogers or Jerry Vines or Paige Patterson. Although I disagree with them, I still have so much in common with them. I will never work with the R.C. Sproul's and such just because we are both calvinists.

    The mature are to show defference to the weak. Therefore, we shouldn't kick the arminians out... [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [ November 21, 2002, 11:05 AM: Message edited by: Preach the Word ]
     
  8. Brutus

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    Preach the Word;Thanks for your comments,in prayer meeting last night our pastor told us that we need to get rid of all our books in our libraries and only read the Bible,it's the only book we need.We were also told that we have to teach our S.S.classes using only Regular Baptist Press quarterlies and nothing else.Idon't know about you but I think that the Regular Baptist material leaves a lot to be desired.Oh,by the way,he does not consider himself an Arminian either! Brutus
     
  9. Daniel David

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    Rarely do arminians ever admit to it. It has a negative connotation (and rightfully so). There are many even on this board that are always screaming they are not arminian. When you examine their theology though, they couldn't be anything but arminian.

    It sould as if your pastor has gotten ahold of some anti-calvinist material that is full of mindless objections and misrepresentations. What is so sad is that they treat us like a cult. Our theology has never been damned by other councils throughout church history (not that in and of itself that carries any weight).
     
  10. Brutus

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    Preach;you're absolutely right in your assumption!! The former state director of the Illinois association of IFB,Gordon Edgington wrote a book way back in the 70's attacking Calvinism,as well as Hunt's book titled "what love is this",which by the way,he wants taught in Bible class at our school.This book is chock full of outright lies and no one wants to teach it so he'll probably take it upon himself to teach.Our sr.high students are all up in arms over the direction he is taking.What I see here is the fact that he does not like it because we encourage the students to think for themselves and not blindly follow any man,our kid's are smart and they will challenge you if they feel that the things you say and teach don't line up with the Bible and I praise God for that!Brutus
     
  11. go2church

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    The Apostle Paul didn't seem have a problem with both "kinds" of people in a congregation, why should we?!?!
     
  12. Dr. Bob

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    The GARBC (printers of Regular Baptist Press SS material) have taken a pretty strong stand FOR calvinistic position. I've used their material in the past and seen the Arminian/Pentecostal position downplayed.

    And, yes, there WERE both calvinists and arminian believers in the early church. Paul spent a LOT OF TIME trying to straighten out the non-calvinists (have you READ Romans?) to try to purify the church.

    Still have the mixed multitude today, but I would certainly hope and pray that someday our church will be one in doctrine . . .
     
  13. Rev. G

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    Yeah, but can you hold on to the whole Bible? You'll have to start cutting out verses / passages that deal with election, predestination, etc. Cut out Romans 8-9. Leave out Ephesians 1-2. Forget John 6, 8, 10. Etc., etc., etc. Of course, rather than cutting those passages out, you'll just be told that you're "twisting" the Scriptures. :rolleyes:

    From my own person point of view, I have "Arminian" friends and I try to do all I can to work with "Arminians" for the cause of Christ. The problem seems to be, not with the "Calvinists" I know, but with "Arminians" who keep pushing for the exclusion of "Calvinists." In my own denomination, the SBC, this is evident in the leadership (Adrian Rogers, Charles Stanley, Freddie Gage, Paige Patterson, etc.). The Fundamentalists were glad to have Reformed folk working in the "trenches" to "fight" for inerrancy, but once that war was won they began firing into those same trenches. It's shameful. It is for this reason that I have long contemplated leaving SBC life.

    I am not one who believes that only "Calvininsts" are the elect, nor do I know ANY Reformed folk who believe that way. I, and every "Calvinist" I know, is willing to work with "Arminians" for the cause of Christ. The question is, "Will they work with us?" When you view some of the posts on the BB, I think there are some who will and some who won't. It is sad that "Calvinists" are falsely portrayed by many as fatalists who do not evangelize, pray, etc., etc., and that they are "false prophets" working for the evil one. Ironic that while there is a lot of "boasting" that "they" are the ones with the loving and gracious God, their attitudes and words often lack love and grace.

    I am aware that there are also some intellectual "Calvinists" who display a haughty attitude and no concern for others - this is sinful as well, and certainly reflects a real MIS-understanding of the doctrines of grace.

    Rev. G

    Rev. G
     
  14. Siegfried

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    If it would help, I would be willing to furnish an address where the pastor could send all his perverse Calvinistic books for proper disposal. :D
     
  15. Rev. G

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    Please give him my address, Siegfried. :D
     
  16. Brutus

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    sorry fellas but I've got first dibs on those books! The problem is that he's going to say that he can keep his because he's the only one here who can discern the truth. :D :D Brutus
     
  17. Brutus

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    Dr.Bob; I'm sure that he must be aware of the fact that RBP is decidedly Calvinistic,if not then maybe someone will say something to his S.S.Super. Brutus [​IMG]
     
  18. Aaron

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    How can the truth co-exist with a lie?
     
  19. Brutus

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    Aaron;which is truth and which is a lie?
     

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