Why I'm no longer a Calvinist:

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Generally speaking the New Testament refers to three groups of people. The Remnant of Israel, the Hardened Jew, and the Gentile. Keeping that in mind I want to define each of these groups and have the Calvinists on this board answer a few questions:

    (1) The Remnant of Israel were Jews from God’s elect nation. In Salvation, these were, “holy firstfruits” (Rom. 11:16) “set apart from birth;” the first fruits of grace; the first to be called by Christ; the first and only to be appointed as Apostles through a divine calling. These were the unique messengers who were authorized by the Sovereign decree of God to usher in the gospel of Grace through faith in Christ.

    Questions for Calvinists to consider: What sets Paul and the other apostle apart from you, me and every other believer? Are verses that speak of his being “set apart from birth” and “effectually compelled” to preach common to all believers? If so, why does Paul refer to these unique attributes as authoritative signs of apostleship? Do we undermine apostolic authority by claiming that God has sovereignly elected and called us in the same manner as he did Paul, the divinely inspired apostle? Is proof that God sovereignly elects and calls divinely inspired messengers also proof that he elects and calls their audiences in that same manner?

    (2) The Hardened Jew: The rest of the Jews were temporarily hardened (Rom. 11:25). In Salvation, these are hardened for the purpose of grafting in the Gentiles and in turn arousing “envy” within them so that they too might believe (Rom. 11:11-14). If they believe in the message they can be grafted back in, if not they suffer the under the wrath of God just as the unbelieving Gentiles. So, salvation comes to these through faith in Christ IF God has “enabled” them to be grafted back in. (Rom. 11:23) The word “enabled” in John 6:65 then referrers to God’s removing His judicial hardening and not God’s overcoming their inborn nature of total depravity as Calvinists interpret it.

    Questions for Calvinists to consider: How does the biblical teaching of hardening fit with Total Depravity? Why would God hardened men who are born unable to see, hear, understand and believe the things of God already? Why does the Jesus speak of hiding the gospel in parables if indeed those he is hiding it from were born Total Depraved rendering them unable to believe it anyway?

    (3) The Gentiles were not hardened, as Calvinists seem to assert in their teachings of Total Depravity (in that they are not born deaf, blind and unable to respond to God's truth). “They will listen!” (Acts 28:28) They are the “foolish” ones that the scripture speaks of that will “accept what Israel rejects.” Gentile’s belief and acceptance of the gospel through faith provokes envy in the hearts of the Jews. “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” (Deut. 32:21/Rom.10:19). During this time Paul and the other apostles were trying to convince the church that Gentiles were chosen of God and that this mystery was apart of God's plan from the beginning of time. Thus, Paul thanks God continually for their being chosen. (1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13)

    Questions for Calvinists to consider: What would envy or jealousy have to do with bringing someone to saving grace if indeed man’s will is not a factor? Jealousy is a motivator of man’s will. Why would it be needed if men our brought to salvation by an effectual calling? Isn't it possible that when Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, speaks of his audiences being chosen that it's in reference to the major debate of that day which dealt with God's choice to ingraft the Gentile nation by allowing them entrance into His covenant, a place traditionally thought to be reserved only for Jews?

    I know this is a lot to go through, but it was these issues that pulled me away from the Calvinistic doctrine. I'm interested to know how you might deal with them.
     
  2. stilllearning

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    Hello Skandelon

    Nice catch, in pointing out this error in Calvinistic thought.

    But as I understand the Bible, the three kinds of people found in the Bible are........
    1 Corinthians 10:32
    “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:”


    Jew, Gentiles & Christians.
    --------------------------------------------------
    Could it be, that when you say “The Remnant of Israel”, you are talking about “the Church of God”, being made up of converted Jews and Gentiles?
     
  3. glfredrick

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    Why do you work so hard at this...

    Someone must have really hurt you somewhere along the line. Perhaps you should seek counseling and forgiveness before pursuing your line of reasoning further.
     
  4. Jarthur001

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    Any ideas on Eph 4?
     
  5. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Good answer & how politically correct! I just would have responded .....Who cares! But whats your problem aint bad either manno. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  6. webdog

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    ..and on cue the personal attacks begin to fly without the topic being discussed.

    I guess you can add that as another reason?

    Excellent OP...maybe there will be someone who will actually engage it at some point. It also reaffirms dispensational theology.
     
  7. webdog

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    What there refutes what Skan stated?
     
  8. webdog

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    Since christians are made up of jews and gentiles, I think when you are discussing our position in Christ (what 1 Corinthians is saying in context) there are really only two groups, believer and unbeliever.

    I believe the point Skan is trying to make is identifying the three classifications that make up both believer and unbeliever.
     
  9. glfredrick

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    Refute what? False premises derived from a flawed theology that is not based soley on the text of Scripture? Why bother refuting that sort of stuff. It is just there for argument sake.


    2Tim 2:23-26 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

    Titus 3:3-11 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 [This is] a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. 9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; 11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

    I see the exchanges with Skandelon, and with you, largely in light of the passages above...
     
  10. webdog

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    My reply was to JArthur and his text. Your reply is neither here nor there.
     
  11. Skandelon

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    Correct. I agree that there are many kinds of people and groups addressed in scripture and all could be labelled as either believer or unbeliever, however when looking to understand the historical context of the NT, one must understand that Israel as a whole is being hardened, with the exception of a select few who are chosen for a specific divine purpose. The non-Jew (Gentiles) are all the other nations to which these remnant are sent with a message of reconciliation. It is first sent to the Jew and then the Gentile. This clarifies Paul's intent in Romans 9-11 and Jesus' intent in John 6 especially.
     
  12. stilllearning

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    Hi webdog

    No, my position is there are still “three groups”, because in some mysterious way(that I still hadn’t fully figured out yet), the Jew are not technically “unsaved”.........
    Romans 11:7-8
    V.7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
    V.8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

    --------------------------------------------------
    God made a covenant with them, and he keeps His Word........
    Psalms 89:30-34
    V.30 If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;
    V.31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;
    V.32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.
    V.33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.
    V.34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
     
    #12 stilllearning, Mar 22, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2011
  13. Van

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    Hi Skandelon, I think I know why you work so hard, is it not that you are doing your best as an ambassador of Christ to bring "a more excellent" gospel to the lost by improving the message we share.

    I do not know if I can shed much light on the meaning of "remnant" but I do think it is important to draw a distinction between the "remnant" under the "Abrahamic Covenant" which seems to be folks that (1) were descendants of Abraham and (2) were believers who by faith followed God as "children of the promise." But even that does not quite capture the idea because non-blood line folks who married Jews and were follows of the Jew's God were grafted into the "remnant" such as Ruth.

    So under the Old Covenant, the "remnant" were those who were believers and had not gone astray. We can see this view is at least close to the mark in Romans 11:4-5 where God has not abandoned but kept for Himself 7000 men who have not bowed their knee to Baal. God chose to kept those who were faithful under the Old Covenant.

    Next, from the same passage, we see that the "remnant" under the New Covenant came to be - had not existed before the present - a [New Covenant] remnant by God's gracious choice. God chose some of the Jews and hardened the rest. Since according to Paul this process was the same as keeping for Himself 7000 faithful, God seems to have chosen in the present time Jews who accepted and trusted in Christ, and hardened the rest. This was for a twofold purpose, to spread the gospel to the Gentiles, and to cause the Jews to become jealous such that Paul will be able to save some of those who have been hardened so that they stumble but not so hardened that their stumbling caused them to fall from the opportunity of being regrafted back into the remnant of chosen believers.

    God may well have removed the temporary hardening, but I do not see in Romans 11:23 that He did, I think all it says is God is able, has the power, to graft back in those Jews He partially hardened.

    I am completely with you, Skandelon, as far as what this passage says about the false doctrine of "total spiritual inability" because even a partially hardened Jew, can believe.
    (I suppose some Calvinist will put forth that God had chosen them before creation, but then hardened them for a time, and then "softened them" with Irresistible Grace. When your doctrine is based on what the Bible does not say, anything becomes possible to support your invention.)

    Last point, does Ephesians 4 teach "total spiritual inability" from conception? Of course not. Just read it. Note verse 19 says they have become "callous"- have given themselves over.... What is in view is that by sinning the lost can harden their hearts such that they become callous. Those lost had not been exposed to the gospel - because of ignorance in them and because of the hardness of their heart, reducing their natural receptiveness.

    Now the audience did not learn Christ in this way, they had not hardened their hearts to that degree, provided that they have actually heard and been taught (learned). Now they were also being corrupted, just as the Gentiles of verse 19, but not to that degree.
     
    #13 Van, Mar 22, 2011
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  14. webdog

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    If a jew denies Christ, he is technically lost. There is no salvation but by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Race plays no part in justification.
     
  15. stilllearning

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    You said........
    There is no salvation but by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

    You are half right. Sure enough the Jews will not be part of “the Body of Christ”, but they will trust Christ, at the mid-point of the tribulation.

    As for the Jews that die without Christ today.....(Those that are truly “Jews”, are still covered by God’s Old Testament covenant, and will not be found “guilty”, because God has blinded them)........
    Romans 11:33
    “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”
     
  16. Skandelon

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    Read what Paul wrote when speaking to Gentile believers in Romans 11, "25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." 28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you [Gentiles] who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their [Israel] disobedience, 31 so they [Israel] too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you [Gentiles]. 32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

    Most scholars recognize the distinction between the active judicial hardening of God by which he blinds men from the truth temporarily to accomplish a purpose in their rebellion (i.e. Pharaoh/Israel); and self-Hardening by which men choose to rebel even in the clear face of the revealed truth and remain "without excuse." (i.e. Rom 1)
     
  17. webdog

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    Oh, you are talking about future. I am discussing past up until the present.
     
  18. Skandelon

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    Because this is a Baptist Debate Forum where differences in theology is discussed and various views are defended and expounded. I'm representing a historically consistent position of what some might call "Arminianism" which has had and still does have numerous scholarly proponents. It is a discussion which has been going on for centuries and can be done in a civil and Christlike manner without resorting to personal attacks and accusations of malicious or ill intent. May I politely and kindly request that you either engage in the discussion by addressing the topics or refrain from posting. I appreciate it. Thank you.
     
  19. Osage Bluestem

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    Indeed there is a lot to go through. Normally I don't respond to such long posts because it seems like a wast of time if a person is hardened and refuses to take my post into consideration, but I will give it a shot in an effort to help you.

    Here are the answers from my silly mind to your questions.

    They were apostles of Christ. Sent directly by him. They had the apostolic authority of being apostles of Christ and eyewitnesses. They had the gift of the prophetic word of the Holy Spirit (inspiration) to listen to them audibly was the same as listening to the bible (2 Peter 1) Today we can only hear authentic apostolic teaching from the New Testament. It is the New Testament that makes the church apostolic.

    Paul is in harmony with the rest of scripture when he explains that his position is a result of God's sovereign election. Being compelled to preach the good news to others is indeed a trait common to all believers, however not all believers are apostles as they are not send directly by Jesus Christ and do not have the spiritual gifts of the apostles. Believers now are only orthodox if they follow the apostolic teaching recorded in scripture and do not stray from it.

    Not at all. Election is at the perogative of God. He has chosen people to fill different offices within his church, however he has also chosen those who will be in his church in any capacity at all. We see that those appointed to eternal life then believe.

    Acts 13:48 ESV
    And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

    Total depravity is not utter depravity. It doesn't mean that man is as wicked as he can be all the time. There is grace given by God that restrains a man from being utterly depraved. As God's grace is removed from a man he gets closer to utter depravity. So to harden a man all God has to do is remove a level of restrainst from a man.

    Because in God's economy of time that was the right thing to do. A plain representation of the gospel would have brought mockery and blasphemy from the lips of unregenerate man as it does today.

    Because it is a tool which God has chosen to use to stimulate them to gospel exposure. God regenerates his elect during their exposure to the gospel.

    This is the same general theme question as why didn't God just create a perfect world with no suffering? If God is all powerful and all wise why did he do things THIS way?...etc. The atheist asks those questions everyday.

    Because God is infinite in wisdom power and goodness, he has created a perfect plan that is being carried out, there is no better way to do it than the way God has chosen to do it.

    No, because the people he spoke to were given promises of God's providence and their perseverence in the faith. There is also the story of Jonah to consider regarding God bringing salvation to other groups than just Jews, God's compassion for the Ninevites was common knowledge. If Paul was speaking to a general audience about a general topic then he promised some people things they would never receive. Those who were predestined to salvation by God receive all of the good things that Paul promised them indeed. The new testament isn't a universalist document as Rob Bell believes.
     
  20. Gabriel Elijah

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    Are you suggesting that Jews who die today without Christ—get some kind of 2nd chance after death & do not suffer God’s wrath—despite their rejection of Jesus? Maybe I missed your point—this is why I ask
     

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