Why Calvinists and Arminianists are both wrong

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Gup20, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. Gup20

    Gup20
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    I just finished watching a 4.5 hour DVD on why Calvinism is right and Arminianism is wrong. Here are my thoughts.


    1 – Free will VS Total Depravity
    I think that we are born totally, spiritually dead. According to Romans 5:12, death is passed to all men. Even before we are born, we have inherited death. Even before we have sinned, we inherit death. This makes sense because of The Curse. Calvinists mistakenly believe that sin is passed… it is not. Arminians mistakenly believe that we have free will. This is only true in that God gave us only two choices, and then commanded us to choose one of his choices. Choose Life or Death, blessing or cursing (as Deuteronomy 30:19 says). We choose to believe in Jesus Christ or not.

    2- Conditional VS Unconditional Election
    Really, both sides believe the same thing here. Arminians believe that God’s choice was based on his foreknowledge of who would believe in Him. Calvinists believe God chooses and it makes no difference whether people believe him or not. The problem here is that, if this were true, evangelism would be irrelevant. God chooses, and those people get saved regardless of whether they ever even know of Jesus Christ. To try to cover for this flaw, Calvinists claim God commands us to evangelize, and he uses people to let other people know about himself. However, this argument is circular, and goes against the original argument that the election is unconditional. If God needs people to evangelize, then he isn’t sovereign, he needs us in the equation. The Calvinists claim that God is still sovereign… if people don’t evangelize, than the rocks will cry out. Yet there isn’t a single example in all of scripture of someone being evangelized by a rock. The scripture they claim speaks about worship, not evangelism (Jesus rebuking the Pharisees for quieting the people trying to worship him on Palm Sunday). In reality, it is a covenant of faith.

    3- Universal Atonement VS Limited Atonement
    Again, here both sides believe the same thing, they just state it differently. Arminianism says Christ died for all, but only those who choose him get it. Calvinism says he only died for the ones he chose. Effectively both limit the atonement to the chosen. Calvinism creates an egregious error here, however, in defending itself. Verses such as John 3:16 and 2 Peter 3:9 clearly say that Jesus died for the whole world, and that God’s will isn’t always done. They claim these words as ‘figures of speech’, rather than inspired Word of God and thereby damage the veracity of scripture. It is most heinous. In actuality, they are both right, but they are both wrong in how they say it. God’s elect are those who believe in Jesus Christ. God has chosen or elected those who believe for life, and chosen or elected those who do not believe for everlasting death. Jesus died for the ones who believe in Him. It does no damage to the sovereignty of God to allow a choice. For example, if I had a child, and I gave the child the choice of toast or cereal for breakfast, my sovereignty to choose breakfast is still intact. The child can't choose bacon and eggs for example. Additionally, my sovereignty to reward one of the choices - for example substituting French toast, strawberries, and whipped cream if the child selects "toast" - is unincumbered.

    4- Resistible Grace VS Irresistible Grace
    Calvinism has to create a false tenet – the “gift of faith” in order for their theology to work. They say that faith is not a matter of one’s heart, but one cannot have faith unless God gives it to them… and God only gives it to his elect. This has several unaddressed flaws. First, this means that those who are in sin are in the middle of God’s perfect will for their lives, and therefore their violation of “the law” isn’t really sin because God is ultimately the cause of the sin of the unbeliever. Furthermore, it is possible, once again, for an unbeliever to be saved. Someone who has never heard of Christ would suddenly have grace forced upon them. This means the reverse is also true. Calvinists blind themselves to the truth – if God is ultimately sovereign, then he is responsible for creating evil, and he is responsible for causing sinners to sin. This is true if they are consistent regarding the sovereignty of God. There has to be a measure of free will, otherwise this conclusion is inescapable. In actuality, grace is obtained through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph 2:8). Faith is not works, it is faith. Calvinism claims to be faith based, and accuses Arminianism of being works based. This accusation is contingent on the false presumption that “faith” is a “work”. In actuality, faith is faith, and works are works and faith is not a work. The beliefs of our hearts are not works.

    5- Falling from Grace VS perseverance of the Saints
    This point is a natural extension of point 4 for both Arminianism and Calvinism. If grace is resistible, than one can resist, even after the fact. If Grace is irresistible, than one cannot resist at any time. However the truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle. If we choose life by faith in Jesus Christ we obtain grace. However, the Bible does call grace a free gift. (Rom 5:15-18) It also says the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. But Jesus himself tells the parable of the man who owed, had his debt forgiven by the King, then wouldn’t forgive another man; when the King heard of it he through the man in prison, even after forgiving him of his debt.
     
  2. Rippon

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    Actually Gup, you are a theological Arminian based on your reasoning.

    You are absolutely wrong to hold the opinion that :"Calvinists believe God chooses and it makes no difference whether people believe him or not." That is just sloppiness on your part. Name one Calvinist who has asserted such nonsense.

    Your views on God's sovereignty are twisted. You don't believe in His "ultimate sovereignty". Then, since Calvinists do -- you say that must mean that God has created evil and causes people to sin. Shame on you.

    Finally, for you to think that "God's will isn't always done" -- is biblically absurd. No one can thwart His will in Heaven or on earth.

    Read and study the Bible more deeply. And to treat the views of Calvinists with a measure of honesty actually read the works of Calvinists. You would not embarrass yourself that way.
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    Are you claiming this as your work?
     
  4. drfuss

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    drfuss: Gup20, You make some good points which I tend to agree with. From a practical perspective, most differences between Calvinists and Arminians are just differences in definitions, terminology, and a play on words.
     
  5. FriendofSpurgeon

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    The differences between Calvinists and Arminians are a lot more than just differences in opinion and terminology.
     
  6. trustitl

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    Anybody that agrees with the Canons of Dordt such as RC Sproul and John F. MacArthur.

    Article 9: Election Not Based on Foreseen Faith

    This same election took place, not on the basis of foreseen faith, of the obedience of faith, of holiness, or of any other good quality and disposition, as though it were based on a prerequisite cause or condition in the person to be chosen, but rather for the purpose of faith, of the obedience of faith, of holiness, and so on. Accordingly, election is the source of each of the benefits of salvation. Faith, holiness, and the other saving gifts, and at last eternal life itself, flow forth from election as its fruits and effects. As the apostle says, He chose us (not because we were, but) so that we should be holy and blameless before him in love (Eph. 1:4).

    Westminster Confession of Faith:

    * Chapter III, paragraphs 1-7: "God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: … By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death. These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed: and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of his free grace and love alone, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto … The rest of mankind God was pleased … to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin."
     
  7. Pastor Larry

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    Can you show where Sproul or MacArthur says that it makes no difference whether or not someone believes?

    You cite Westminster. Shall we look at it?

    Did you read paragraphs 1-7? I don't think so. Your creative use of ellipsis is misleading because paragraph 6 says: As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto.(1) Wherefore, they who are elected being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ;(2) are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season; are justified, adopted, sanctified,(3) and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation.(4) Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.(5)

    Here's more from WCF:

    WCF 7:3 Man, by his fall, having made himself uncapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second,(1) commonly called the Covenant of Grace, whereby He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved;(2) and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.(3)


    WCF 11:1 Those whom God effectually calleth He also freely justifieth;(1) not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous: not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone: nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience, to them as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them,(2) they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness, by faith: which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God.(3)

    WCF 11:2 Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification;

    WCF 14:1 The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls,(1) is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts,(2) and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word(3) by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened.(4)

    I could cite other examples, but this should be sufficient to show that Westminster and those who hold to it most certainly do not believe what you charged they believe. To Westminster, faith does matter.
     
    #7 Pastor Larry, Apr 18, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2009
  8. Tom Butler

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    Brother Gup, the correct description is Arminian, not Arminianist. Sorry to nit-pick, but it helps credibility to get it right.
     
  9. puros_bran

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    Why isn't it Calvinian? :D
     
  10. trustitl

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    You are right that neither of them said those exact words. They are too smart to say it that way. This was how he says it:

    "In the Reformed view God from all eternity decrees some to election and positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of grace. To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or unbelief in their lives." RC Sproul

    He supports his position with the following from The Westminster Confession of Faith:

    As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected . . . are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power. through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

    http://www.the-highway.com/DoublePredestination_Sproul.html

    I am not smart enough to come up with that many words to say "that it makes no difference whether or not someone believes" but RC is. Maybe that is how he gets away with it: most of us end up scratching our heads wondering what exactly he just said. If you can't understand it you can't argue with it.

    You can slice it any way you like, but these proponents teach that God chose individuals to salvation before the world was created thus making it impossible for faith to be a requirement for election. Since they define election to mean that God "positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith", faith is not the foundation for salvation, but election is.
     
  11. historyb

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    No, God chooses who He wills giving them a measure of Faith to respond to Salvation. That does not say they were saved from the beginning but elected from the beginning, without God's choosing no one can be saved.
     
  12. drfuss

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    drfuss: I said practical differences. The debates on here are about terminology, definitions, and misunderstandings (such as loss of salvation and Insecurity of the believer) of some Calvinists about what Arminians believe. Of course some Arminians have some misunderstandings about what Calvinists believe.
     
  13. Rippon

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    That's the understatement of the decade.
     
  14. webdog

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    The converse is also true.
     
  15. webdog

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    The OP just reinforces the reason I'm neither a calvinist nor arminian.
     
  16. Rooselk

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    I would agree that Calvinism and Arminianism are both logically consistent. Even so I reject both because I am convinced that God's ways cannot always be explained by human logic. I believe that Calvinism and Arminianism are human attempts to logically explain what God has not chosen to completely reveal. For that reason I hold that Calvinism and Arminianism are both in error. Since some questions are simply unanswerable, it is better to leave those questions with God rather than attempt to formulate an answer that conforms to human logic but in the end produces error.
     
  17. Gup20

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    It isn't my intention to put words into anyone's mouth, but it is the inescapale logical conclusion IF calvinists were being consistent. However, calvinists are not consistent, so they do not tout this view.

    Again, if followed through to a consistent logical conclusion, this must necessarily be part of the calvinist view, even though they will deny it because they are ultimately inconsistent.

    By 2 Peter 3:9 we see that God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. " If it isn't God's will that any shouold perish, but athat all would repent, and we know that all will not repent, then we must conclude that God's will isn't always done on the earth.

    Furthermore, why would Jesus pray "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" if it were not possible for God's will not to be done on earth.

    Calvinism is a humanist view, just as Arminianism. We should get our views from the Bible itself, and no other source.
     
    #17 Gup20, Apr 19, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2009
  18. Gup20

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    I don't understand the question. If you are asking if I wrote this, then yes I wrote it. If you are asking if it was inspired by God, I would ask that you allow the Holy Spirit inside of you to bear witness whether or not these things are true.
     
  19. Gup20

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    Thank you for the correction, I honestly didn't know that.
     
  20. Gup20

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    I perceive that you are caught up in humanist trappings. Why doesn't your moniker says "friendofGod" or "friendofJesus". Spurgeon of course was an ardent Calvinist.


    trustitl & Pastor Larry -
    I appreciate your knowlege of history and the cannons of dordt. But I would rather that you posted scripture to facilitate your opinions, rather than the dordt cannons of text. Like friendofSpurgeon above, my perception is you are caught up in a humanist trapping. Instead of arguing over what other men have said about the Bible (Calvin and Armnious), why not get into the word ourselves and argue over the word directly.

    Jesus asked "who do YOU say that I am".
     

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