What is calvinism?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by webdog, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. webdog

    webdog
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    From Pastor Larry, I am told there is only one doctrine of calvinism. What is it? I see plenty of different flavors of it on here. It was said that calvinsm does NOT teach regeneration prior to faith...something I don't see agreed on in here. Since I debate this point, I'm not really debating calvinism, meaning I don't know what calvinism teaches.

    Can one believe calvinsm and be a 3 or 4 pointer?

    What are the mandatory doctrines from each petal one must hold to be considered a "calvinist"? Please enlighten me...
     
  2. Pastor Larry

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    What I actually said (and have said) is that Calvinism has certain sine qua non ... irreducible minima that are fundamental to Calvinism. There are things beyond that about which people may disagree and still be Calvinists.

    The point is that there is a distinction between what Calvinism teaches and what Calvinists teach.

    I think the line is drawn through unconditional election of individuals to salvation. If you believe it, you are a Calvinist. If you deny it, you are an arminian. I think that is pretty typical.

    One can disagree on some points and still be a Calvinist. He cannot disagree on unconditional election and still be a Calvinist.
     
  3. El_Guero

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    Well, I agree with unconditional election (in principle - not always in the manner in which it is practiced), but I am not calvinist. Nor am I arminian - I am Baptist.

    :thumbs:

     
  4. jhardin

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    There are hypercalvinist, calvinists, arminians and everything in between. Typically a Calvinist is one who holds to the 5 points which make up the acrostic TULIP.

    The other end of the spectrum is arminianism which emphasizes free will.

    I tend to think the 'truth' lies between calvinism and arminianism.

    John
     
  5. Martin

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    ==Historically yes. Calvinism, like Arminianism and other theologies, has a variety of forms. You cannot name a systematic system, on this issue, in which there is no variation.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    Calvinism, Arminianism, and Baptist are not parallel categories. A Baptist can (and should) be a Calvinist. A Baptist can also be an Arminian.

    BTW, how does one practice unconditional election?
     
  7. Pastor Larry

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    Where is this middle ground?

    Yes, the point is that there is variation, but there are major points of agreement that place one in one category or the other.
     
  8. El_Guero

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    A Baptist MUST be a Baptist . . .

    Anything else is not a baptist.

    Before Methodists and Presbyterians denominations went liberal and their church members started joining baptist churches, baptists didn't talk much about arminian or calvinian theology.

    Personally, I wish the Methodists and Presbyterians had had the moral courage and stayed in their churches and turn them around. Oh well, like I have heard so many times from so many people, "Why wouldn't we become Southern Baptist - they have all the money?"

    Ah well, now that they have crouded the ranks of baptist, we will have to assimilate them . . .

     
  9. jhardin

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    Before I was saved, I was predestined for hell. To be saved required a decision by me to accept Christ... and after I was saved I was elected for adoption.

    I retain my salvation forever by the grace of God, and I am predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son as long as I remain submissive to the Holy Spirit.

    John
     
  10. Jim1999

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    I wonder if we shouldn't consider the decrees of God as opposed to the TULIP to determine whether one is a Calvinist or not.

    In my early days, a lot of Baptists called themselves Calvinistic, but they based election of the foreknowledge of God. Understanding the decrees, and their order, one will rightly understand the TULIP.

    The underlying truth of Calvinism is the absolute sovereignty of God. There is no option. Either God is sovereign or He is not. If man can usurp the authority of God, God cannot be sovereign. You can only go back to the beginning, along with evolution, where God put everything in motion and let it develop as it may according to those rules.

    Cheers,

    Jim

    My God is sovereign!
     
  11. El_Guero

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    God is sovereign . . . and the old baptists that you describe sound like the old baptists that I knew . . . God based upon His foreknowledge . . . but, we did not go around saying we were 'reformed,' 'calvinists,' or 'covenanters.'

    But, if God is sovereign and He ordains that Man must choose . . . is He sovereign enough in your theology to do so? If not, then He is constrained by your theology and not by His character.

    I vote for a Sovereign that is constrained only by His Character.


     
  12. Rippon

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    Spurgeon , Boyce , Gill and multitudes of others in the more distant past referred to themselves as Calvinists . They did not have an aversion to the term . But then , as now , it must be fleshed-out from the sterotypical misrepresentations that have been attached to it by enemies .

    God is sovereign . Whatever He does is just . He does whatever He pleases . Who can stay His hand ? Who can frustrate His will ? He is not governed by any law . Whatever He does is right .

    I think Jim hit on something . If folks don't like to hear about or believe in the biblical God who decrees , appoints , ordains ,declares , determines -- what kind of god do you have ? Do non-Cals believe in the biblical Lord ?
     
  13. Martin

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    ==What is a Baptist when it comes to this issue? As I look through the various baptist confessions of history I see various positions. So what is a true baptist? Of course here I am talking about Calvinism/Arminianism and not more general issues like belief in water baptism by immersion, believers only baptism, free church, etc.
     
  14. GordonSlocum

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    The truth of the issue is that Election is based upon foreknowledge. That one fact is indisputable based on Scripture.

    The real issue is not that Election is based upon foreknowledge but what foreknowledge speaks to.

    (1) does it speak to a point in eternity where God arbitrarily pick John doe and did not pick Jane doe or

    (2) does it speak to a point in eternity where God foresaw John believe and elected him in eternity and Jane Doe did not believe and she is not elect.

    Foreknowledge in one respect sees both views - all-be-it there is only one view and that is how I see it.

    My view is the only true view. If you want to be correct you will accept my view. God say John believe and on that basis declares him elect from eternity past, as we would express it.

    All other views are incorrect.


    There you have it . No reason to look further.
     
  15. reformedbeliever

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    And there you have fatalism.
     
  16. drfuss

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    Martin writes:
    "Quote:
    Originally Posted by webdog
    Can one believe calvinsm and be a 3 or 4 pointer?

    ==Historically yes. Calvinism, like Arminianism and other theologies, has a variety of forms. You cannot name a systematic system, on this issue, in which there is no variation."


    Some who only believe in Perseverence of the Saints and not the other points still call themselves Calvinists. Others who have changed their definitions of Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace, still want to call themselves Calvinists claiming they still belive in the 5 points (although modified).

    My question is: Why do they want to call themselves Calvinists even though they do not believe in the basic four or five points?

    Could some of you "1, 2, or 3 Point Calvinists" answer this?

    Why not just say you believe in Eternal Security or OSAS?
     
  17. russell55

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    I think Pastor Larry is right. It all boils down to whether you believe election to salvation is unconditional or not. Does God choose people to bring to saved based on nothing within them, and nothing they do or will do? If you answer that question with a "yes", then you fit in the Calvinist slot. If you say "no" then you fit in the noncalvinist slot. And there really is nothing in between.

    Of course, if you say yes to that question, there are other things that follow from that, so there are other are beliefs that people who believe in unconditional election will tend to have in common, but the real crux of the issue is unconditional election.
     
  18. Martin

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    ==This is a false choice for those of us who believe in the doctrines of grace (ie...Calvinism). Why? Because we can't agree with choice 2 since it puts man in the drivers seat of salvation and God in the passangers seat. However we can't choose choice 1 either. Why not? Because we don't believe that God "arbitrarily picks" anyone. We believe that salvation is of the Lord and that His choice of certain individuals is based on His will, plan, and purpose. Nothing arbitrary about that.
     
  19. webdog

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    So calvinism is only unconditional election? Come on, if it were only "U", there would be no reason for the T_LIP. It seems like this is being intentionally evaded for some reason. In order to "learn something" (since I don't know what calvinism is) I need something to go off of, Pastor Larry besides the "u". You are always saying "we don't believe this or that", "calvinism doesnt' teach this or that"...well what DOES calvinism teach besides the U?
     
    #19 webdog, Jan 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2007
  20. Brandon C. Jones

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    It seems the author of the OP is looking for a specific answer instead of sources that will educate. Nonetheless, I would recommend that anyone interested in Calvinism read the Institutes despite there being no good English translation; the ones available will have to do.

    If that's too daunting I would recommend reading the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism, and a fun read is Abraham Kuyper's "Lectures on Calvinism." If anyone does read the latter, I will note that his railing against Anabaptists refer to the continental ones, not "Baptists" in England or the States (though some of the criticism may apply to us as well).

    BJ
     

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