The Importance of Calvinism vs Arminianism

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Gershom, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. Gershom

    Gershom
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    Why is this argument, or why is the doctrine you hold to, whether Calvinistic or Arminian, important to you? Is it because it speaks of God's character? Is it because it effects your ministry in a particular way? Is it your quest for truth?

    In the end, will it really matter that one held to Calvinistic beliefs? Will it matter that one held to an Arminian belief? And if so, how?

    Can both sides discuss the importance of their doctrine, e.g. how does it make a difference in the life of a believer?
     
  2. billwald

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    Is not important except to people like me who like to argue.
     
  3. Nomad

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    Believing in the full sovereignty of God has certainly been an inspiration and an assurance to me over the years, although I would not necessarily identify myself as a Calvinist. As for debating the issue, it can be edifying if done in the right spirit, and if both sides are well-informed and fair-minded in their presentations. Sadly, too often Arminian-Calvinist debates become very emotional, and anything but uplifting.
     
  4. Ray Berrian

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    Nomad,

    How does your belief in sovereignty give you Christian assurance? To me this could never have any cintilla of assurance as to my final salvation. My confidence as to my assurance of everlasting life are secured in the promises of our Lord.

    Without a half of a throught I know that your theology will be or is stilted because of your emphasis on merely one attribute of God. In reality not all Christian theology even considers sovereignty as an attribute of God. It is not wrong to include your favored sovereignty but this must also be integrated into the love and justice of God, which are also aspects of His Divine and holy Being.

    Let's keep it fair and balanced. [​IMG]

    Berrian, Th.D.
     
  5. Marcia

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    The Calvinist-Armenian debate seems fruitless to me, especially here on the BB. It seems to be mainly Calvinists who want to bait and prove non-Calvinists wrong. That is why I rarely post here anymore.
     
  6. Paul33

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    If Arminians are right (Wesley), that a person can lose his salvation by falling away, then salvation doesn't seem to be by grace after all.

    Most Westminster divines have the same problem. Faith isn't genuine unless followed by works.

    But if God before time elects some according to foreknowledge and predestines that they in fact will be adopted, called, justified, glorified; then salvation is by grace and is certain.

    Therefore, if one recieves faith from God so that his eyes are opened leading him to believe and confess in the Lord Jesus Christ, assurance of salvtion is certain and sure!

    The problem with most Calvinists is that they arrange the decrees of God is such a way that God is either cruel and abitrary, or partial and unloving to some.

    My position is that God loves everyone as seen in the lifting up of Jesus on the cross, but he passes over those who freely resist the drawing of Christ, electing the rest. God's grace is given only to the elect, a grace that is efficacious in securing salvation to those whom he foreknew in Christ.

    To those who by faith look to Jesus, assurance is theirs because God is faithful to his promises.
     
  7. Ray Berrian

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    Don Sailer,

    Many Wesleyan Arminians, from the Wesleyan Church and the Church of the Nazarene believe in salvation by faith, but unless you produce 'good works' they believe that you can fall out of grace. They say they believe in salvation by faith, but in fact believe in salvation plus works in order to inherit Heaven.

    I believe this is called Perseverence of the saints. If they do not continue in faith then they were never saved. This, of course, does not account for Christians who backslide and seem to give up on their faith.

    Arminians also believe in this statement as you have stated above. [Romans 8:29-30]

    The sinner trusts in the Lord God and then immediately his eyes are opened to more and more spiritual light/truth. Assurance is a surety because of the promises of God, [Romans 8:16] as long as they continue to follow the Lord. A return to favorite old sin will bring with it the loss of assurance of everlasting life. This is a safeguard which hopefully will lead that person back to the fellowship with the Lord.

    Any view of Calvinism leads to God being Autocratic, brutal, limited and passionless.

    Basically, your statement above is correct except your order of events. Those who freely resist Christ place themselves in the group of the non-elect. God does not pass over any soul (I Timothy 2:4) as being unimportant for His Kingdom and everlasting life. Jesus wishes all men to be saved. Check the Greek rendering of the word, in place of 'will have'. It means wishes . . .

    You are exactly right!

    Regards . . .
     
  8. koreahog2005

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    I think the Calvinism-Arminianism debate is important for a couple of reasons. First, our viewpoint affects how we pray for the lost. Second, it affects how we present the gospel to lost people. Our theological beliefs affect our practical actions.
     
  9. Ray Berrian

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    Without calling men and women to repentance and faith, there is no pure presentation of Christ and His Gospel.

    Most Calvinists believe in preaching the Gospel and then hopefully God will somehow enter the sinner by way of spiritual osmosis.

    If salvation is by Divine decree as most Calvinists speculate, then neither repentance, faith in Christ or osmosis are really needed. If God is total Divine Autocrat then it is thoroughly in His management and regulation. This then, become salvation by decree!
     
  10. GeneMBridges

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    Any view of Calvinism leads to God being Autocratic, brutal, limited and passionless.

    Actually, it is the Arminian that limits God, because His actions become subject to the will of man. It is the Arminian whose God is partial. Partiality is to look into the future to see who's good enough to pick God and then God chooses them. That is God showing partiality because it has God picking someone because of something in them.

    What you label brutal, Calvinists label just. What you label autocratic, we label sovereign. The human "freewill" cannot exist outside the knowledge, control, and purpose of God, lest God not be omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.
    Each person is created by God with tendencies, preferences, and abilities. This includes the "tendency" to believe or not as some maintain. Each person is put, by God, in an environment that is helpful or not helpful to receiving the gospel.God is aware of all these variables, knows the outcome, and places the person there. Therefore, salvation is ultimately dependent solely upon God because God is in control of all variables of all situations including the wills of His creation. Since God does not owe salvation to a single person, they very act of election, not to mention the work He secured via the work of Christ for ANYBODY AT ALL shows His passion. A passionless God would not have done anything. A brutal God would deliver none and probably would not have created at all. Yet He did, knowing what would happen and still being in complete control of it. Free will is not absolute. By making salvation contingent on man's choice and not God's regenerating work, Arminianism limits God. The Calvinist view of God may be autocratic, but the alternative is a partial God who's actions are subordinate to His creation.


    This, of course, does not account for Christians who backslide and seem to give up on their faith.

    False, Calvinists do account for it, by distinguishing between apostasy and backsliding.

    "It is, secondly, necessary that you discriminate carefully, between backsliding, and apostasy. The former is the act of turning back from God; the latter is the forsaking, or the renouncing of the religion of Christ. Backsliding consists either in the relinquishment of evangelical doctrine; or in the loss of spirituality of mind; or in the gradual departure from correct morals. All these evils are embraced in apostasy. The backslider commits transgressions, but returns to his allegiance, and obtains forgiveness, and acceptance. The apostate continues; dies in his sins; and "so eternally perishes." We teach that none of the true children of God--he believing, the pardoned, the regenerated, the sanctified--become apostate, but to backsliding, of every character and degree, all, it is but too evident, even the best, and most devoted, are constantly, and painfully liable." Howell, using Boyce as source material.



    Without calling men and women to repentance and faith, there is no pure presentation of Christ and His Gospel.

    Most Calvinists believe in preaching the Gospel and then hopefully God will somehow enter the sinner by way of spiritual osmosis.

    False, Calvinists preach the gospel of repentance and faith all the time. The difference is largely in the perspective we place on it. Arminians tend to make repentance a request or a plead; for Calvinists it is a command that we are to obey. As such we preach it. The same is true with the exercise of faith in Christ for both the justification of the indivdual and the Christian life itself. The unbeliever CAN respond to God. His response will be in accordance to Scripture that says he cannot do good, is a hater of God, is full of evil, etc., Therefore, we conclude that his free will response will be to reject God, according to the limits described by scripture itself.

    Many of Spurgeon's sermons were fiery sermons about repentance. Many of James Montgomery Boice's sermons were the same way. Jonathan Edwards preached it as well. History is littered with fiery sermons of repentance and faith preached from the pulpits of Calvinists. We preach the gospel because we were commanded to preach the gospel. We rely on the Holy Spirit, not "the rightly consistuted means" of Charles Finney. Jesus saves, the rightly constituted means does not save. We preach out of obedience to preach. We recognize, however, that no amount of pleading will transform a dead man into a living man. Only God can do that. Likewise, it is insulting to carcicature what Calvinists believe in some form of "spiritual osmosis." We believe that the preaching of the gospel is the instrument of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in the exact same manner as words were the creative instrument God used in the creation of the universe itself. We do not believe, as you would misrepresent what we believe, in a spiritual osmosis; we affirm the unlimited, passionate, compassionate, sovereign creative power of the Creator of the universe.
     
  11. Paul33

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    GeneMBridges,

    Since I am attempting to lay out what I think Calvin taught, how would you critique what I have written?

    Calvin's commentaries reveal that he believed that Jesus died for every one but only makes interecession for the elect. In ordering the decrees, this would require a sublapsarian position.

    Calvin also taught that faith is passive. That God grants faith to the elect and that it fully persuades the understanding.

    He also taught that repentance follows faith.

    And he taught that man resists the light and remains in unbelief, although he doesn't say if this happens because of reprobation or causes it.

    The question I'm getting at is Calvin believed that God elects some and passes over others. So do I. But Calvin wouldn't discuss it any further than that. He claimed anything beyond that was a mystery. So what I propose may not be wrong, he just didn't discuss it.

    I want to know if it is acceptable to go further than that. I want the distinction between the elect and the reprobate to be "resistance." Those who were passed over are passed over because they resisted. The rest, though they could not respond in faith (that would be a work), did nothing. So God continued to draw them. Therefore, before time, the elect are those who were in Christ because they did not resist (through no merit of their own).

    This should remove the claim that God is abitrary and unloving to those who are passed over because he did lift up Christ for their benefit and they resisted, to their own blame. God desires that none perish. They resisted God's plan of drawing them to himself and therefore are lost.

    Once God creates, everything happens as he has foreknown it and foreordained it to be. Therefore, the elect will come, and the reprobate will rebel.

    Thanks.
     
  12. GeneMBridges

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    I want the distinction between the elect and the reprobate to be "resistance." Those who were passed over are passed over because they resisted. The rest, though they could not respond in faith (that would be a work), did nothing. So God continued to draw them. Therefore, before time, the elect are those who were in Christ because they did not resist (through no merit of their own).

    This should remove the claim that God is abitrary and unloving to those who are passed over because he did lift up Christ for their benefit and they resisted, to their own blame. God desires that none perish. They resisted God's plan of drawing them to himself and therefore are lost.

    Once God creates, everything happens as he has foreknown it and foreordained it to be. Therefore, the elect will come, and the reprobate will rebel.

    Thanks.

    Well, if the distinction is "resistance," then the nature of man is such that He will always resist, because man, on his own, by his own nature can not obey God. Total depravity goes to the root. Not only WILL man resist, he can not obey. The will is not neutral. Belief is a command; therefore inaction manifests unbelief. Those who do not resist do so because regeneration precedes faith. I refer you to Jonathan Edwards on the matter. Look beyond Calvin to Edwards. Edwards explored the very question you are asking. My point is simply that, even if the answer is that the elect simply do not resist, then you still have God doing something contingent on something in man. Even if it is this kind of "neutrality" of will, that is still favoritism because of the simple fact of looking into man's heart and making a choice based on something that man does or rather does not do (namely not resist).

    Each and every person is entirely worthy of wrath and incapable of saving himself. That is why God has chosen a people to Himself out of the good pleasure of His heart. Because without His choosing, none would ever come to Him. Therefore, predestination is a loving doctrine: "...In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ..." (Eph. 1:4,5). He chooses some and ignores others not because of what the person has done, or what is foreknown that he would do, but simply because of God's sovereign choice: "[God] who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity" (2 Tim. 1:9) (Matt Slick).

    The claim that God is arbitrary and unloving to those who are passed over because he lifted up Christ and they resisted places something within the heart of man as merit, because, logically, every positive presupposes a negative. Resistance is innate to man's heart. He never "does nothing." The will is NEVER neutral. It always chooses the strongest desire.
    (Edwards).

    Man has no internal desire for the Person of God, though he might have a desire to have the benefits of God. Think of gay marriage. Gays want to marry, e.g. the benefits of marriage, but they don't want to do so under the divine definition of marriage. The only way to achieve gay marriage is to literally redefine the meaning of marriage. So it is with man and acts of civil virute and actual faith in Christ that saves, transforms in sanctification, and perseveres. Man may "obey" via good works, but he will not do so with the Person of God as well, in other words, he seek the benefits of salvation without being saved, he will seek the benefits of Christ but not Christ; moreover, in doing so, he will always seek to redefine salvation and even redefine God. Man is not as bad as he could be, but he is not good enough to believe on his own ability and will not only not believe, but will always resist faith in Christ. Man's will is never neutral.

    Would God ask people that can not repent or believe to believe and repent? Certainly? Why? Because it is the right thing to do.

    God commands people to repent and believe in Him because it is the right thing to do. Remember, God requires that we do what is right. Whether or not an unbeliever can or cannot repent and believe God doesn't negate the moral truth that they should. That is why God commands that we repent and believe.

    It is man who is deceitful (Jer. 17:9), full of evil (Mark 7:21-23), loves darkness (John 3:19), does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12), is ungodly (Rom. 5:6), dead in his sins (Eph. 2:1), by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3), cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14), and a slave of sin (Rom. 6:16-20). Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before Me." Acts 17:30, "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent." Would God ask us to something we cannot do like believe in Him when we can't? Yes, God would ask us to do something we cannot, doesn't God say, "Be holy, for I am holy," (1 Pet. 1:16)? It is right for God to command us to believe in Him (Ex. 20:1-3) because that is what all should do. We cannot be holy ourselves, yet God grants it to us in Christ. Likewise God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29) not of our own wills (John 1:13).

    Does this violate the will? No, because the will is not neutral in that it always makes choices. There are no neutral choices. "Not resisting" is simply not believing. Moreover, man's heart can not, in its unregenerate state, not sin. It will always resist God. There is no "not resisting," in a morally neutral sense. There is either exercising faith or exercising faith. God does not take away the desire to resist. He does however regenerate the heart, which in turn adds the desire to exercise faith. Because of this act, man can now believe and he can not help but believe because now he wants to believe and this desire outweighs the desire to resist, because it comes as a creative act from God Himself. The will itself is not violated. The desires of man are simply changed, and the will responds to the new desire created, which, because of its nature and origin is the stronger desire at that moment. The will is not neutral because it is simply "the mind choosing." There is no such thing as not choosing at all. Even the choice not to resist has an antecedent cause. There is nothing in man that would cause him not to resist as an antecedent cause, because of the nature of man, which is to to resist. If man does not resist, it is because he lacks the desire to resist or because the desire to not resist outweighs the desire to resist. If God removed the desire to resist altogether, then that would be a violation of the desires (and, with regard to sanctification, it would lead to sinless perfection, which is unbiblical). Therefore, it can only be that God adds the desire to not resist and the desire to believe. Moral neutrality can only be a result of two equal desires, and, since man can not help but choose the strongest desire of the moment, even if that is not to resist, then we must conclude the desire to not resist and the consequent desire to believe are stronger desires than the one to resist and disbelieve. Since man's heart is morally unable to believe and morally inclined to resist, we must conclude that these desires come from God. Desires influence the will, but the will itself is not violated.

    God is not arbitrary either. God has a purpose. Why does God elect some and not others? The ground of that is simply the good pleasure of His will. Notice what Paul says, "his good pleasure." That says the choice is not arbitrary. That alone removes any claim Arminianism has that Reformed theology's God is an arbitrary God. An arbitrary God would make a random, purposeless choice. Scripture is clear. God's choices are always purposeful. Thus, when I see others call that arbitrary, I simply see that as an attack on God. It suggests that God must reveal more than that. God owes us no explanation of His motives. He does however tell us that the ultimate end is to bring everything under Christ and to ultimately glorify Himself with the maximum amount of glory. This is not unjust. It would be unjust to look into the future and see who would believe and who would not believe and then choose accordingly. Why? Because that would make God partial, and, as I said above, it is partial to choose persons through something in them, even if that thing is "resistance" or "non-resistance." There is no such thing as "doing nothing," because man's will is not neutral in the sense that, because belief is a command, doing nothing is still resistance. One either believes or does not believe. "Doing nothing" is the same as resistance. Likewise, to suggest that Reformed theology's position is "unloving" is false, because, if it was "unloving," God would simply not choose anybody at all. Does God love everybody? Yes, but that love does not require God to offer salvation to everybody or elect all but save only some (conditional election) as the Armininian view suggests, because then you logically end up with a God whose purposes are thwarted, and that is a limited God. God's nature is loving. The question isn't "Why does God elect some and pass over others?" it is "Why does He choose any at all?" It would be unloving not choose any at all, it is loving to choose some and not others, given the other choices are either to save all or not save any. Would it be loving to save all? Yes, but God does not do that. So we are left with a situation where some are saved, others are not, and that is done with a purpose, and that purpose has nothing within man as its ground. It is grounded in a purposeful God who is loving, which both sides affirm. The problem is that one of the two sides must logically end up with God looking forward and making a contingent choice, but God, by definition, has no contingency whatsoever in His being and therefore can not, by His nature make a contingent choice. It can be no other way, and, yes, there is a rather lengthy logical proof of that. I will be glad to refer to it, as an acquaintance of mine who does apologetics as a ministry has presented it on a website that he runs. If you'd like to read it, PM me.
     
  13. BobRyan

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    You are correct - it matters, it describes God, it describes God's character as either loving or arbitrary depending on the view you take.

    It is important to ministry because declaring a loving God is more effective in ministry than declaring an arbitrarily selective God who "likely did not select you". This is why even Calvinists are forced to preach the Arminian doctrine and then excuse their actions by saying "it is the only way that works. So we will tell our converts about Calvinism later".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  14. BobRyan

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    The arminian view provides a basis for explaining the 6000 year history of sin and rebellion.

    The Calvinist view is confused by the whole thing. After all - if God is simply arbitrarily declaring one thing and then another - why not just "declare" the sin problem over a year or two after the fall of Adam?

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  15. Gershom

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    Bob,

    Thank you. That is the sort of answer I was looking for, rather than debating the differences in dotrine.
     
  16. GeneMBridges

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    You are correct - it matters, it describes God, it describes God's character as either loving or arbitrary depending on the view you take.

    It is important to ministry because declaring a loving God is more effective in ministry than declaring an arbitrarily selective God who "likely did not select you". This is why even Calvinists are forced to preach the Arminian doctrine and then excuse their actions by saying "it is the only way that works. So we will tell our converts about Calvinism later".

    In Christ,

    Bob
    </font>[/QUOTE]Calvinism does not teach that God is arbitrary, nor is it confused by the existence of sin and rebellion. That is a mischaracterization as shown above. Calvinists teach that God chooses with a purpose. Arbitrariness, by definition, has no purpose or ground. Arminians have to change this definition in order to assert that Calvinism is "arbitrary, " when in fact Calvinists do not believe that at all. To say otherwise about Reformed theology is to caricature it.

    Calvinists teach God's love, so do Arminians. However, Arminians leave man to his own ability to choose Christ. Simply put, because Calvinists believe in utter depravity, they do no affirm man as having a natural ability to respond. Therefore, if God does not actually elect and regenerate the desires of man, he not only will not but he can not chose Christ. Therefore, the Arminian view of the will and its natural ability ultimate leads to an unloving God. An God that does not intervene saves none. That is unloving.

    Calvinism does affect ministry. Calvinism proclaims the gospel to believe and repent. It preaches it as a command, not a request or a plead. God commands us to do these things. He does not merely request us to do so and then leave it up to us. Arminianism focuses on Christ's example as the most important part of the atonement (Finney). Calvinism stresses the substitutionary atonement. Arminians tend to preach about holiness in comparison to each other as an ultimate result of that system, because of the emphasis on individualism. Calvinists preach personal holiness in relationship to the Creator. That's not to say Arminians don't, but the end result seems to be church members that talk about which sins are "worse" than others from a comparison that is manward and not Godward. On the other hand, Calvinism's danger in that respect is not considering that some sins are "worse" than others in that some have more dire and immediate consequences than others. So, we see there is a fine line both views must take in terms of preaching about personal holiness. What both views share, however, is a stress that personal holiness, eg. Christian living is a cooperative venture.

    Because of the constant focus on human ability, Arminian theology ends up with believers who focus on having "victory" and not simple obedience. Arminianism ends up with a focus on victory and defeat and how to attain it. Calvinism sees it as accomplished already. Thus the focus on perseverance of the saints.

    There are dangerous problems in both systems. OnThe danger is that Arminianism, taken to its logical, classical, end leads to no eternal security, no perseverance of the saints. In this view, not only are you left with a God whose work can be thwarted by man, you end up with a God who can not logically provide eternal security for His children. Here's where many Baptists that affirm eternal security but reject "Calvinism" as as theology get into trouble. You can not have eternal security without the logical means to it. Granted, as Christians we do take God at His Word, but, if we are speaking from a purely systematic approach, you have to consider the things that must be true in order for eternal security to be true. Too many of us don't simply stop to think about the issues involved. Those of us that do are dismissed as "overintellectualizing" or not believing God's Word, when the fact is we are just thinking about God's Word in a different way, just as those who have gone before us have done for generations.

    Conversely, Calvinism can end up with a perverse belief in sinless perfection and a belief double predestination, e.g. hyperCalvism.

    Frankly, I see ministry in Calvinistic churches as much more stable. Reformed theology is an inherently stabilizing force. Likewise, when I look at the Arminian tradition, I see churches that eventually head toward emotionalism, irrationalism, contradictory logical thinking, and eventually theological liberalism. James M. Boice wrote, "The road to theological liberalism runs straight through Arminianism."
     
  17. Paul33

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    Gene,

    Thanks for your answer. Your short answer, if I understand you correctly, is that man must resist because he desires to resist.

    Therefore, in my example, Christ is lifted up drawing all men to himself, everyone will resist, all will be passed over, none will be foreknown by God to be the elect.

    You used examples from Edwards to prove your point about the will and desires. Edwards believed faith was an act of the will. He also believed as you pointed out that what a person desires he wills. He applied Newtonian physics (gravitational forces) to his concept of the will. But I think common sense or personal experience will reveal that we don't always will what we desire. We may desire some things that we aren't capable of doing. Anyway, I'm not sure Newtonian physics is the best basis for understanding the will, brilliant as Edwards was.

    Back to Calvin. Calvin believed that faith is passive, that it is not an act of the will, but rather a fully persuaded mind.

    If Calvin is right about faith being passive, and we don't always have to will what we desire, is it not possible for a person not to resist (do nothing) even though his bent or desire is to resist? I may desire not to go to the opera, but if someone leads me by the hand, I will end up there if I don't resist.

    Likewise, I may not desire the things of God. But if Christ draws me and leads me by the hand so to speak, I will end up where he desires me to be if I don't resist. And since faith is passive, I don't even have to make the decision. The will is not involved.

    By the way, God desires that none perish, but apparently he does not will that none perish, because some do perish. This is a case where what God desires he does not will.
     
  18. GeneMBridges

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    Basically, yes on the short answer.

    I'm pooped, so I'll write this bit "on the fly" and then hit the hay, so I may sound a bit fuzzy. Therefore, I'm putting some links at the end for you to read.

    No, we do desire what we will, but we don't always get what we want or do things for the right motives. We arrange what we want at the time. We do not get what we want (the consequence) of what we arrange, but we arrange what we want (desire). What we choose to do reflects our desire at the moment the choice is made. For this reason, the will can not be neutral. The will could only be neutral if the two desires were equally strong. One must be stronger than the other.

    Your opera example sounds good, but again, the point I'm making is that the desire not to resist and the desire to actively believe go hand in hand. That is to say one can not have the desire not to resist and not also have the desire to believe. Man will always have the desire to resist. If he does not resist, it is because he does not want to resist. If he does not want to resist, but his nature is to resist, it can only be because God has granted him, e.g. created within him, the desire to not resist. You must still make the decision, however, you can't help but make the decision, because if one has the desire not to resist, then one must also have the desire to believe. Why? Every passive act presupposes a subsequent active consequence. The will, the mind choosing, is involved. Here is where Edwards is better than Calvin. Again, remember, Edwards was trying to answer your same question.


    That's where your original issue falls down. If you place, as the ground of election, a condition that has it's origin within man, it makes God's election contingent on man's choice which is contingent on his desire. You ultimately end up with a God who is partial. Remember, the sovereignty of God is what Reformed theology turns upon. The will is not free in a neutral sense. It is described as, by nature, rebellious. Therefore, it will always rebel unless it is actively influenced. Passivity alone is inaction, and inaction is still rebellion unless accompanied by a positive, e.g. active contingency. "Free will" is simply to make a noncoercive choice. Adding a desire is not coercion of the will? Why? Because coercion is only coercive is the will is unwilling or undesirous and thus forced to decide. Removing a desire and replacing it with another is coercion. That is force. The active contingency to passivity is believing. Passivity alone doesn't cut it, IMO. I agree with Edwards. Passivity alone is still rebellion. Since we all believe, it isn't because we are passive. Even if Calvin was right about the passive nature of saving faith, then that still presupposes an active exercise of it. I'm also struck by the way that faith and obedience go hand in hand in Scripture, particularly Hebrews. Obedience presupposes faith. Believing the gospel is presented as a command, which presupposes action. God does not say, "stop resisting," and believe passively; He says "Believe."

    Back to the original issue. The point I am trying to make is that, all other things being equal, if you are correct, then you need to clarify one important thing. This tendency not to resist is antecedent to the action of believing, because we all do believe and we all made a choice to do so. This is something both Arminaianism and Reformed theology affirm. If you affirm the Reformed viewpoint, then you need to take the ground of election out of man, e.g. the foreknowledge view, precisely because it roots God's foreknowledge in a condition of man innate to man, e.g. the tendency or "desire" not to resist. That is unjust favoritism. Instead it is rooted in God's sovereign good pleasure in which he creates this desire not to resist in this hypothetical person, and, as a result of not resisting, that person believes, which is an action. Why is it an action? Because having faith is expressed as a command (in Calvinism), or a plead or request to action (as in Arminianism).

    God does desire some things that He does not will. That is true. What does this mean? That has to do with what God desires and what God arranges. (Let's not use the term "will" so much, there are some synonyms we can use). What God arranges He always gets as a consequence. God does not, however, get what he wants, eg. desires. There is a will of desire and a will that is arranged. We do not always get what we arrange (as a consequence, because we make mistakes...this does not happen with God), but we have received as a consequence of our arrangement, when it goes "according to plan" is what we desire. E.g. if we get what we want because of a plan or choice we have made, it is because we wanted that thing to occur (or because of serendipity if our process was bad but we somehow got it anyway...again, this does not apply to God). There's a fundamental difference there you have to understand.

    That's a little lengthy and rather fiddley for 2:20 a.m., so I'm going to refer you here for the whole explanation:

    http://www.mslick.com/desireall.htm

    For some rather deep logic on this whole issue go here: http://www.mslick.com/absolutes.htm

    Why not ask your questions here too? [​IMG] http://new.carmforums.org/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topics&forum=151
     
  19. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    Gene M. Bridges,

    It sounds like you are buiding your case out of the "Westminster Confession of Faith." Your ideas become highly suspect because they are not certified in Scipture. One of your authors who was pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia interprets Scripture through his Presbyterian lense as does Dr. Sproul.

    No 10 out of C.I Williamson's writing is Effectual Calling. He says a general call of the Gospel is given to all sinners, but then the favored call, the Effectual Call is only given to the elect. This is partiality and injustice from the Lord pure and simple. God, at the time of the writing of the Book of Acts in 17:30 ' . . . commands all men everywhere to repent.' In I Timothy 2:4 says in the Greek that He 'wishes' all men to be saved; His atonement was sufficient for every last sinner. [Isaiah 45:22; I Timothy 2:6; Acts 17:30; I Peter 3:18 & Revelation 22:17]

    In Acts 10:34 the Apostle Peter points out the equanimity of Almighty God. 'Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons . . . . '; and out of every nation anyone who reverences God and lives Godly will be welcomed by Him. Even Moses understood the fair handedness of Almighty God in Deuteronomy 10:17 where he says, 'The Lord is terrible and does not regard persons, nor does He take rewards.'

    The un-Biblical idea of an Effectual Call to some sinners broad-strokes our Lord as fraudulent, One who show favoritism and partiality.

    Much of Calvinism portrays such error as to please ' . . . the great dragon' of Revelation 12:9.

    Calvinism has come out of the ancestoral findings of St. Augustine who spent more time studying Plato and Aristotle than the books of the Bible. He adopted the secular ideas of the First Cause and impersonal being and then the newly saved Roman Catholic, John Calvin systematized his fraudulant conceptuallizations.

    I noticed the lack of Scriptural backing in your theories in Christian theology.

    Dr. Berrian
     
  20. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    Gene M. Bridges,

    You said,
    Your statement above is untrue. But, I will suggest for your stabalizing force, sitting at the feet of the famous Mr. Harold Camping who teaches on Family Radio.

    He has predicted, in the past, the exact day of the Second Coming of Christ. He teaches that we are presently living in the period called the Great Tribulation, and instructs all Christians to leave their local church and to listen and send their money to him, so he can win the world to Christ. He also teaches that a woman or man as Christian should not leave their spouse, even if there is physical violence. Another great truth coming from this Five Point Calvinist is that the innocent person in a Christian marriage should never remarry.

    As to the remarriage of a violated Christian, the Scripture says this. ' . . . except for the cause of fornication . . . ' [Matthew 5:32]

    So much for Calvinism's lovers of truth who are more stable than other Biblical expositors of the Word of God.

    Berrian, Th.D.
     

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