Questions for Calvinists

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by thjplgvp, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    23
    Questions for Calvinists

    How do you know you are elect? Since you did not chose to come to Christ but were predestined to do so how do you know you are saved? Maybe you just think you are the elect.
    How do I know that God chose you and you did not come of your own free will?

    Can you empirically prove you are elect in another word can you show me where you physically, mentally, and socially refused to come to Christ but found yourself roped and tied and forced to succumb to grace? What was changed first your mind, your heart or your spirit?

    I am interested in reading your personal testimony not a commentary.

    thjplgvp
    :type:
     
  2. Brandon C. Jones

    Brandon C. Jones
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    0
    th...I've found you to be a pretty fair guy in other threads, but the premise of your post is simply false. Those who believe in unconditional election do not believe that God saves people against their will; the corollary to this is also false: that there are those who want to be saved but are not elect so never receive salvation. These are just straw men of what Calvinists believe.

    Now to address what I think the actual question in your post is. How does one know that she is elect? The fifth point of the classic TULIP covers this and it is the doctrine of the perserverance of the saints. A good, recent book on this subject is by Schreiner and Caneday called "the race set before us." Of course calvinists are not monolithic on this doctrine and others prefer preservation of the saints, eternal security, etc.

    Perhaps your post is getting to the heart of the C/A debate. What is it that separates those who believe and those who do not? Is it something from man or God (synergism or monergism)? Either way people aren't saved kicking and screaming. Either their wills are changed first by God (monergism) or it's a co-operative process where God neutralizes one's sin nature to let the "unfettered will" (if you will) make its choice either for or against the gospel (prevenient grace).

    I hope some of this will help clear up your misconceptions on calvinism.
    BJ

    P.S. I must admit I've always viewed mind, heart, and spirit as synonymous being the dichotomist that I am.
     
    #2 Brandon C. Jones, Aug 21, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2006
  3. Dale-c

    Dale-c
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    Messages:
    4,145
    Likes Received:
    0
    people who have not studied this doctrine have a misunderstanding as you do.

    What does the Bible say?
    Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou SHALL be saved.

    THat is how I know I am the elect, because I believed.
    Quite simple actually.

    Also,
    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    (I Corinthians 2:14)

    See, since we know that man on his own cannot understand God, and since if we truly believe we are saved, our belief is proof that we are the elect.

    Make sense ?
    I hope so.
    As for me, when I finally learned this, it was the most comforting truth that I ever learned.

    I no longer had to wonder, I could KNOW for sure!
     
  4. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,723
    Likes Received:
    0
    So, are you saying that outwardly or naturally so, you do not know you are the elect? I mean you still are living in a natural body with a natural mind so does this natural body with this natural mind not know he is the elect?
     
  5. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    Answer me this. It has been said that man chooses based on their nature, i.e., an unregenerate man will never choose salvation because he is not inclined to do so because of his natural will. When one is "regenerated" using a calvinist's phrase in changing a man's will from enmity to God, to where the "new" will makes coming to Christ "irresistable"...who's to say that the "natural man" that we are born with (and keep throughout life) cannot overrule the "regenerate" nature given to man? We see it every day where a believer sins...giving in to the "natural man"...so what makes salvation and coming to Christ "irresistable"?
     
  6. Andy T.

    Andy T.
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2005
    Messages:
    3,147
    Likes Received:
    0
    th,

    Brandon's reply was great. To add to that, your question is really a question that we all must answer, Calvinist or not. How does anyone know he is saved? Becauses he believes on Christ, right? Being elect is never separated from faith. If one has faith in Christ, then he is saved (and is one of the elect). If one is elected to salvation, then he will have faith in Christ and be saved. BTW, everyone believes in election, because it's taught in Scripture. The different interpretations hinge on who does the electing - God or man. So how does anyone know they are elect? If they have faith in Christ alone for salvation.
     
  7. reformedbeliever

    reformedbeliever
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    Messages:
    2,306
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd have to say that salvation is irrestible because its more of a rescue. How many people have you seen that once they realize they are in immediate peril, reject rescue? I've been a medic for many years... and I've not seen one person reject being rescued. When the Holy Spirit changes a person's nature to understand what Jesus did for us, that person will cling to that rescue from immediate peril. They will embrace Jesus. They will understand what Jesus did... while they were still His enemy, He died for them. It is then that they receive Him. Not because of any selfish motive such as fear of hell. They receive Him because they realize the great love He had for them while they were still spitting in His face. That love becomes so real....... it can be felt. It can be tasted. That love can not be resisted. One other thing is that they realize that this was nothing they did or accomplished... but all what Jesus did for them. All of it was God's work, not mans. That is God centered theology, not man centered.
     
  8. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know many people saved this way, myself included...and it was not selfish motivation, but the realization that I was headed there without Christ. What you posted may be true for a small number (coming to Christ based on realization of His love), but I would venture to say that the majority of people are saved because of the realization they are headed to hell.
     
  9. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know that this makes a difference. I'm talking about natures. The natural man doesn't know the things of God, even with a new nature, the old remains. There is a choice, then, between the old and new making the new as resistable to salvation as it is in our daily walk with Christ.
     
  10. Blammo

    Blammo
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,277
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jude 1:22-23 And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
     
  11. reformedbeliever

    reformedbeliever
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    Messages:
    2,306
    Likes Received:
    0
    I understand what you are saying webdog. By selfish, I mean that it benefits you. By saying that salvation is realized by what Christ did for the undeserving sinner... that is unselfish. It is when we realize what He did for us, and it breaks our hearts to come to that realization of such love, and we reciprocate that love. We fall in love with Jesus. There is certainly repentence and we certainly do choose Him, after He chooses us. We can't but help to choose Him... out of such love. This certainly benefits the calvinist also..... but benefit was not the motivation.
     
  12. 2BHizown

    2BHizown
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    Messages:
    763
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was in the slave market, owned by Satan and a captive to His will.
    Christ came there and purchased my redemption and now I have a new master who is full of mercy and grace! It was nothing I did! I was owned by Satan and operated my life according to the world system.
    Now that I have a new owner I exist only to please Him!

    Actually the term 'preservation' is more accurate than perseverance as it is God who does the keeping and not I that am able to cling to Him in my own strength!

    Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servant ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

    Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost! Titus 3:5

    When once the Holy Spirit touches a heart and regenerates it, then it is overwhelmed with the abundant grace of God and comes to Him, pleading for forgiveness of the sinful state they now see themself to be in! They flee from the wrath to come and God gives them shelter, His great saving grace! Their life then does an abrupt change with totally different interest and practice!
     
  13. npetreley

    npetreley
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    Excellent point, IMO.
     
  14. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    Then why do you still sin?
     
  15. 2BHizown

    2BHizown
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    Messages:
    763
    Likes Received:
    0

    Because though I belong to Christ and live to serve Him I retained my initial sin nature that I inherited from Adam. I sin, but I thank God for His forgiveness and grace.

    Like Paul, the good that I would do I dont but the bad that I abhor, that I do! OH who will deliver me from the body of this death!

    Well, in glory I will never sin again! Christ died to ransom me and I have a new master. However Christ is the only perfect man who never sinned. Though I sin, I donot live a lifestyle of sin.
     
  16. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    23
    RE:misconceptions

    Hello Brandon it is good to hear from you again

    Brandon said, “but the premise of your post is simply false. Those who believe in unconditional election do not believe that God saves people against their will; the corollary to this is also false: that there are those who want to be saved but are not elect so never receive salvation”

    My response is this, if unconditional does not mean that I have no choice then it means that I have choice. An unconditional surrender means two things that I lay down or set aside my will to resist (a decision that I make) and that I accept all post action to this surrender known or unknown as acceptable (once again my choice).

    Brandon said, “Now to address what I think the actual question in your post is. How does one know that she is elect? The fifth point of the classic TULIP covers this and it is the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. A good, recent book on this subject is by Schreiner and Caneday called "the race set before us." Of course Calvinists are not monolithic on this doctrine and others prefer preservation of the saints, eternal security, etc.”

    If Calvinists are not rigid and unified (monolithic) in their adherence to their doctrine of perseverance of the saint then they have no way of proving they are saved other than embracing free will. From my perspective the doctrine of perseverance is nothing more than a works based salvation clothed in seemingly acceptable verbiage in that holding on is a matter of exerting my will over my circumstance. If one says he is unconditionally elect then ‘holding on” or “persevering” is either an action my part or an action on God’s part that could hold me in place against my will or temptation to do otherwise.

    Brandon said, “Perhaps your post is getting to the heart of the C/A debate. What is it that separates those who believe and those who do not? Is it something from man or God (synergism or monergism)? Either way people aren't saved kicking and screaming. Either their wills are changed first by God (monergism) or it's a co-operative process where God neutralizes one's sin nature to let the "unfettered will" (if you will) make its choice either for or against the gospel (prevenient grace)”.


    Well I had to look up prevenient and smiled in anticipation of its meaning.:smilewinkgrin: In monergism (I love these new words that are thrown into the mix IMO for confusion purposes and wonder how Augustine, Calvin, Hodge and Alexander expressed their theology before synergism, monergism and paradigm etc.) if God changed my will then his grace (God’s divine influence on the heart) cannot be irresistible. If my sin nature is altered how then does this differ from forcing me to be saved?

    Brandon said, “I hope some of this will help clear up your misconceptions on calvinism.”

    My Brother, thank you for your response and the responses of others as well. I do not accept Reformed theology especially TULIP but neither do I accept Armenian Theology though I truly want to understand. The only way I can understand is to weigh the various responses against my personal study and understanding. What I clearly see is that Calvinists still hold to salvation by grace through faith though the perseverance part does seem a bit skeptical. None-the-less bear with me and suffer my questions as not being argumentative but inquiring.

    Brandon said, “I must admit I've always viewed mind, heart, and spirit as synonymous being the dichotomist that I am.”

    Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.


    thjplgvp

    :type:
     
  17. Brandon C. Jones

    Brandon C. Jones
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    0
    th...I understand that you disagree with TULIP but your last post once again shows that you don't really know what you are disagreeing with. I encourage you to study these things and at least know your "opponent" before demanding answers from them based on misconceptions. There are many works out there that will at least help you understand the basics of Calvinism instead of caricatures that tend to show up in the pulpit, classroom, or pages of a Dave Hunt book.

    Unconditional election is not put in the context of surrender or anything like that. It is unconditional regarding the basis for which God chooses one and not another. Whereas conditional election says that God chooses people based on foreseen faith on their part.

    Remember that election does not equal salvation in a calvinistic understanding of salvation because people are saved by grace through faith in Christ (justification). Thus, there is a condition to salvation (believing on Jesus Christ), but not election. See the difference? Furthermore, there is another condition in classic calvinism to salvation and that is persevering to the end. But not all Calvinists, including me, agree with this point.

    Your critique of perseverance can be discussed later, but first I will ask for your own doctrine of sanctification to see where we agree and/or disagree. How does God conform you to the image of His Son in your theological understanding? Does he force you against your will to become more holy like Him or change your will? Once again, I think you are misunderstanding the classic doctrine of the perseverance of the saints based on the very unsavory things you said about it. It teaches that those who fall away were never saved to begin with. It does not give credit to those who persevere to man, but to God.

    I happen to reject the classical understanding of the perseverance of the saints (in fact I wrote my M.Div. thesis on the 5 warning passages of Hebrews in light of their OT context where I argued that the warnings do not cover salvation and damnation, but the loss of future rewards--Moses didn't enter the Promised Land because of God's punishment but he was surely still saved--anyways, that's another thread for another day).

    However, those who reject the classic doctrine of perseverance like me do not have to face your false either/or of believing in perseverance or embracing free will. Frankly, I don't know what you mean by that and guess that it's a non sequiter. I believe that God preserves those who believe in Christ, even those who may not persevere to the end. My Calvinist brothers disagree and say those who do not persevere to the end were never really saved. The issue has nothing to do with free will vs. God's sovereignty. They have more to do with the warning passages in the NT regarding those who fall away from the faith--what is their status or punishment?

    There's nothing new with the words I used, and what's the use reading stuff that doesn't make you have a dictionary nearby? :) The irresistable grace part of TULIP covers the fact that there are two calls of the gospel: the general and effectual. The general call is where people hear the good news of Christ (some accept it while others reject--perhaps some of them will accept it later). The effectual call, which is irresistable, covers those whom God elects and thus they accept the gospel. The ordo salutis in Romans 8:29-30 shows that the same number of people that were foreknown were also predestined, called, justified, and glorified--thus if God elected x number of people than that some number of people are also called, etc., etc.

    In other words God doesn't try to save people only to be thwarted by them. The tricky part and the difference between coercion (or "forcing" if you like) and compatibilism is that God calls people to accept the gospel by using their wills (that is they act on their desires with no external constraints--the compatibilistic definition of free will). God changes one's desire from enmity with Him to desiring His free gift. Now you may disagree that God can do this and still maintain human free will (you could even label it coercion), which is fine it just means that you believe in libertarian free will--an agent is free if and only if she could have done otherwise. That is also another thread for another time. However, I hope now you see that Calvinists really do believe in "whosoever will," they just have a different explanation for why whosoever will does indeed will.

    I suppose I never offered my own testimony as you requested in the OP. I grew up in a Christian home and my parents brought me to church every week. At the young age of 4, I really believed in heaven, hell, and Christ. I wanted so badly to be saved and my parents were at first hesitant because of my age, but I wouldn't stop bugging them. So one afternoon in the family car my mother showed me how to be saved. I have, like most Christians, doubted my own salvation because of sin, but I am sure that I am His because I believe in the promises of Scripture. When I realized that salvation was wholly of God, the burden of worrying whether or not I really "did it" waned and now I know for sure that I am God's child. I strive to grow up to Christ's full stature and tell others about His kingdom. That's my testimony. I think you may find out that the basis of assurance for one's salvation has more to do with one's faith in Christ and less to do with soteriological paradigms.

    Let me know what you think and have your dictionary handy. If you're a MAC snob like me you should have one on your dashboard for quick reference. BTW you can blame John Wesley for "prevenient."

    I'm not sure why you quoted that passage from Mark, but are you claiming to be a "quadchotomist" (don't look that one up, I made it up)? How do mind, heart, soul, and strength all substantively differ from one another?

    BJ
     
    #17 Brandon C. Jones, Aug 22, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2006
  18. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    23
    Brandon,

    A quick question in formulating a response. Is it not true that if I am elect then I am predestined to salvation ie eternal life in Christ with Christ?
     
  19. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    23
    Re: systematic order of election

    Brandon, thank you for helping me work through my ignorance on this topic. I am putting my understandings in a systematic order so I can see the flow.

    Point 1, at some point in eternity past God without consideration of or respect to his foreknowledge elected some humans to be saved and some to go to hell.

    Point 2, This would mean that all humans are elect, some are elect to believe and some are elect not to believe.

    Point 3, though I am elect my salvation is conditional if I don’t believe on Jesus Christ I cannot be saved which would mean I am elected to hell and if I believe then I was elected to heaven.

    Point 4, If I am elect to believe God changes my will to the point that I believe and am saved by grace through faith constituting the doctrine of irresistible grace.

    Point 5, based on the above all of salvation is based on God’s sovereignty apart from man.

    Point 6, the proof of my election to believe is found in my staying connected to the vine or persevering to the end.

    thjplgvp
     
  20. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    23
    re:sanctification

    Brandon you asked for my doctrine of sanctification,

    Point 1, I believe we are set apart at salvation 1 Cor 1:2, 6:11

    Point 2, the work of refining is an ongoing work He that has begun a work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ Phil 1:6, Jms 1:4, Heb 13:21

    Point 3, the final conforming to Christ’s image will be done in heaven or in the air on the way there. Rom 8:29

    The sanctification process takes place on all levels of our humanity particularly on the soul which is our will, intellect and emotions. Gal 5:17 and Jms 4:5

    thjplgvp
     

Share This Page

Loading...