Premillennial Calminianism - Where do I stand (?)

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by cyberjosh, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. cyberjosh

    cyberjosh
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello all,

    I hope this does not come as a shock to anyone, but I (being raised Baptist) have a rather diverse variety of views on doctrine and eschatology which I have found do not fit neatly into a strictly A) "Reformed" -or- "Dispensational" view of biblical history and eschatology, or a B) Calvinistic -or- Arminian (a hybrid of which is something I, partly tongue-in-cheek, call a "Calminian") view of soteriology (salvation). Not until I did some research on Baptist and Church history did I learn that there are both Reformed (Calvinist) Baptists and Dispensational Baptists alike. I grew up in, and still attend on occasion, Baptist churches that have a strong Dispensational view of Scripture and eschatology, and I had never known that there was such a thing as a "Reformed Baptist" (although even the Dispensational baptists hold to eternal security, which is a Calvinist contribution - but I never knew "Reformed" was the associated label to describe or categorize that doctrine under).

    Having only learned this stuff after researching it from a historical/doctrinal standpoint, I became quite confused when I found my beliefs split between both the Dispensational and Reformed views of history/eschatology and between Calvinist and Arminian views of salvation. Perhaps the biggest distinguishing factor for me now, from the particular Baptist background that I grew up in, is that I no longer hold the doctrine of eternal security. Although most Baptists (in my experience) believe eternal security is a required Baptist belief, can anyone tell me if there are Baptist denominations that do not avow eternal security? Is that what the Free Will Baptists are? That however is beside my immediate inquiry/purpose for writing this.

    In any case, I have listed my views below according to categories, as best I can think to fit them, and I'm wondering where on earth I fall in terms of historical views? Do I still fall within the (traditional) Baptist beliefs (allowing for the variety of Dispensational and Reformed Baptists)? The best label that I can think of is to call myself a Premillenial (although I have learned you can be Premil. without being Dispensational - like C.H. Spurgeon) Calminian. Can anyone tell me if my views are totally odd for someone brought up in a (particular) Baptist background from what I list below, and what view might describe it best? I imagine people will find some points to ask me for clarification, or point out some seeming inconsistency or contradiction in my doctrine (in so far as I can explain my stance accurately/according to 'neat' categories), but here goes:

    Dispensational Theology
    • I believe in a literal future for Israel according to OT prophecy (not unique to Dispensationalism I'm told though)
    • I hold to Premillenialism (Maybe Historic Premillenialism? [Pre & Post Trib. are possibilities in my book] Therefore maybe not Dispensational Premillenialism?)
    • I affirm that there are literal dispensations and ages of God's working that are mentioned in Scripture (I've heard that Reformed Theologians/Calvinists do not necessarily deny this - as a matter of terminology)

    Reformed Theology
    • I affirm that God deals in covenants with His people (in addition to times, seasons, & ages)
    • I believe that the substance of faith is in Christ in all ages (Jesus was the rock in the Wilderness which the Israelites drank from - regardless of their particular knowledge of it)

    Calvinist Beliefs
    • I affirm Total Depravity (man cannot possibly save himself - only by the grace of God can we be saved)
    • I affirm Unconditional Election (With the caveat: God's 'election' may be based on groups/congregations/peoples rather than strictly the individual: "we" who believe in Him are predestined - Jacob (Nation of Israel) I loved, Esau (Edom) I hated)
    (Not Necessarily Calvinist or Arminian?)
    • I believe in Unlimited Atonement (Offered for all, yet accepted by 'few' [narrow is the gate and few that find it - Matthew 7:14])

    Arminian Beliefs
    • I believe in Resistable Grace (Blasphemy/resistance to the Holy Spirit is possible [hardening of the heart], Grace may be received in vain - 2 Cor. 6:1)
    • I do not believe in eternal security (though I believe God is able to [though not necessarily will, or must] keep us from stumbling, and we can indeed make our calling and election sure - perseverance is key but not guaranteed)

    Are such middle-of-the-isle views totally foreign here or does this make sense to anyone?

    God Bless,
    Josh
     
    #1 cyberjosh, Apr 3, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2012
  2. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    Welcome to the forum brother! :)

    I'm not sure I see anything uniquely 'reformed' or 'calvinistic' about what you have presented. Your 'caveat' for Unconditional Election makes it distinctly non-Calvinistic and based on the parenthetical definition of Total Depravity it doesn't appear you affirm the part of that doctrine that makes it uniquely Calvinistic either. (the part that teaches men are so depraved that even God's gracious means [the resistible ones you speak of later] are insufficient to enable a willing response)
     
  3. StefanM

    StefanM
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Messages:
    6,427
    Likes Received:
    72
    You aren't middle-of-the-road. You are an Arminian. No even remotely Calvinistic person would deny perseverance/eternal security.

    You also are a premillennialist, but you aren't fully dispensational or covenantal. You may want to look into New Covenant Theology.
     
  4. cyberjosh

    cyberjosh
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Skandelon! Thanks!

    Okay. I never really thought I was Calvinist, and I suppose this confirms it. I guess you could say I've always been sensitive to whom I've told about my more Arminian beliefs (though I completely eschew any kind of works-based salvation) as regards security, because I remember being scolded once while I was in high school at our Baptist Church one night (admittedly, done in love) by the Youth Pastor because of a Bible Trivia question I had asked about salvation based on Hebrews 6, in which I plainly spoke my mind as to the interpretation of the Scripture.

    On the other hand in more recent years, when attending a local Baptist Church during college I became great friends with the Pastor who does believe in eternal security and we had a very friendly discussion about it, and he even told me that in the end I don't really even have to decide (or 'know') one way or another - that simply knowing that by Jesus' blood we are saved through faith is sufficient. We do not have to have God's sovereignty all figured out in order to be saved.

    But I have wondered ever since I was scolded that one time if I was a "weird" Baptist, or if they just don't have more people like me in my neck of the Alabama woods. :) I have no background other than Baptist, and I think very highly of Baptists' reliance on Scripture, although I admittedly attend a non-denominational Church right now after moving to a new city (it has a few more freedoms in style of worship and belief in the gifts of the Spirit - which I have in fact also seen some modified Baptist churches [like the one my grandparents go to] do - which are part of the SBC no less). I was actually surprised at the poll in the Calvinism/Non-Cal thread that most selected non-Calvinist. Maybe I'm not so strange after all? :p

    God Bless,
    ~Josh
     
    #4 cyberjosh, Apr 3, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2012
  5. cyberjosh

    cyberjosh
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ah, thanks. I've heard of NCT before but I haven't looked much into it.

    If it clears (or muddies) anything up, I was heavily influenced in my teenage years (and still very much admire him) by John MacArthur and his NKJV Study Bible, which is my favorite and most-read bible still. And I have to say, I am still a great fan of his Perseverance of the Saints and Lordship Salvation teaching, even if I can't agree anymore on eternal security. He discourages spiritual laxity with his teaching and for that I admire his teaching. In recent years I have also become a John Piper fan. He claims himself to be part Reformed (more so I think) and part Dispensational in his tradition (he is Premillenial - belief in the literal earthly reign of Christ).

    God Bless,
    ~Josh
     
    #5 cyberjosh, Apr 3, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2012
  6. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    Reformed Baptist (sometimes referred to as Founders) tend to be 5-pointers but most Baptists are not Calvinistic. I'd say most are 'nothing' in that they know nothing about the issue because they are biblically illiterate. (not trying to be mean, but that is just the way it is these days)

    I think that is the fertile ground on which the seed of Calvinism has taken root in recent times. Calvinists, especially young ones, seem to think the only alternative to the interpretations provided to them by men like Piper, MacArthur, Sproul, Chandler, Driscol and the like is that God is like a madam who looks into a crystal ball to see who will have faith and then he elect them. I'd be a Calvinists too if that was my only alternative. :)

    Few Calvinists can correctly articulate the non-Calvinistic scholarly view of corporate election. They seem only able to even understand the passages regarding election/predestination from a individualistic view point.

    Anyway, no, you are not alone. BTW, you don't have to believe you can lose your salvation to be a non-Calvinist. :)
     
  7. cyberjosh

    cyberjosh
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can second that from experience. It took me forever to get doctrinally educated, and the repercussions of it are still challenging things I long held doctrinally dear when I was younger (not that I'm that old, mid-twenties...).

    I'm trying to educate myself further on the views of the theologians, pastors, and scholars of the 19th century right now like Charles Hodge and Charles Spurgeon so that I can better understand the heritage of faith passed down to us.

    Thanks for your thoughts. Some of this is starting to come into perspective now.

    Where does your current Church stand doctrinally in comparison, if you don't mind me asking? Although, of course, I've learned from experience that just because you attend a Church doesn't mean you always agree with their doctrine 100%. I am a case in point...
     
    #7 cyberjosh, Apr 3, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2012
  8. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    We affirm the Baptist Faith and Message, same as this forum. Granted, it is not specific enough to really place it as either supporting Calvinistic doctrine or not.
     
  9. cyberjosh

    cyberjosh
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    That makes sense. I can't say it has been much different with the Churches I have gone to. I just have noticed that as to eschatology they tend to be Dispensational.

    Anyway, denominationalism/differences in belief is probably my least favorite thing to talk about. I would rather delight in our unity in Christ and work toward the edification of the body of believers. And I especially like how George Whitefield put it one time when animatedly enacting a dialogue between Abraham in Heaven with a Christian on earth inquiring of him:

    -"Father Abraham, who have you got in heaven; any Episcopalians?"
    "No!"
    -"Any Presbyterians?"
    "No!"
    -"Any Baptists?"
    "No!
    -"Have you any Methodists there?"
    "No!"
    -"Have you any Independents or Seceders?"
    "No! No!"
    -"Why, who have you, then?"
    "We don't know those names here; all that are here are Christians—believers in Christ—men who have overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of his testimony!"
    -"O, is this the case? then God help me—God help us all—to forget party names, and to become Christians in deed and in truth.""

    http://christianbookshelf.org/hayward/the_book_of_religions/george_whitefield.htm

    God Bless,
    ~Josh
     
    #9 cyberjosh, Apr 3, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2012
  10. convicted1

    convicted1
    Expand Collapse
    Retired Staff

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Messages:
    9,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    Brother Josh,


    Others want people to be lumped into one system or the other so that they can have them "pegged" or "pigeon holed". Do not worry about anyother title than that of Christian. William Shakespeare penned it best when he penned this, "A rose by anyother name, would smell so sweet."
     
  11. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,080
    Likes Received:
    49
    Welcome to the Baptist Board!

    You might want to check into what is called "progressive Dispensationalism" to see some modern views on relationship between God and the Covenants!

    And realise that one is saved by grace same way by the Lord, even if we disagree on the actual way He does it, either calvinism/Arminianism!
     
    #11 Yeshua1, Apr 4, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 4, 2012
  12. thomas15

    thomas15
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,456
    Likes Received:
    0
    Josh,

    Your are doing a good thing and I encourage you in this study. In my opinion, the biggest contribution the reformers made to the Body of Christ was that they began to systematize theology from a Biblical perspective. Further in my opinion, growth happens when we ask "why" and then proceed to discover the answer from the Scriptures and not just rely on what a famous theologian from the past said about it. Not to disparage those who labored under difficult situations but everyone, myself included, have their pre-suppositions that color their theology.

    If you continue to approach your personal theology with the attitude that you have already mentioned, that is to say I "tend to believe such and such" because of ( blank ) you will not find yourself in the situation many here are in and that is they have so much invested in their theological views that they cannot make major adjustments because it will result in a loss they cannot bear. Be solid on the fundamentals and a student of the extras.
     
  13. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    :thumbsup: Very good advice.
     
  14. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,080
    Likes Received:
    49
    that is very good advice, as sometimes biggest problem area is that one gets "married' to his/her particular theological system, such as reformed/pentacostal/Dispy etc that we view the Bible thru those systems!

    need to view oyr systems against the bible, and change beliefs IF there is a difference between what bible states and my system says!
     

Share This Page

Loading...