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Featured Arminianism and Calvinism are not that different

Discussion in 'Calvinism & Arminianism Debate' started by StefanM, Oct 30, 2019.

  1. StefanM

    StefanM Well-Known Member
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    I know I'm rehashing a well-worn concept here, but that's kind of the M.O. of this forum, right?

    In the middle of the debates on here, I usually find myself thinking that Calvinism and Arminianism are really not that far apart, in the end.

    Putting the labels aside for a moment (in case you want to use a different term for yourself, etc.), the reality is that under both schools of thought, the following beliefs are true:

    1) From the very beginning, God knew that some would be saved and some would be lost.
    2) God is omniscient, and his foreknowledge is exhaustive.
    3) God therefore knows who will be saved and who will be lost.
    4) God is omnipotent.

    Whether or not election is based on foreknowledge of human choice (Arminianism) or solely God's decree (Calvinism), God knew that not all would be saved.

    Also, even if you believe that God possesses "middle knowledge"--full knowledge of what would happen in a hypothetical situation that will never come to pass (as with Molinism), then you still must accept that God chose to create a universe in which some people would never be saved.

    If you believe that free choice is possible and is the determining factor between salvation and remaining in one's lost state, it seems untenable to believe that God is incapable of leading any given lost person to a free choice of faith in every possible world. Surely there would be at least one possible world in which God would be able, by his power, to bring such a person to voluntary faith.

    If even one person who dies without Christ in this world could have come to Christ by God's intervention in another hypothetical world that God did not choose to create, then God is making a choice to actualize a world in which a person would not be saved who could have been saved, had a different world been actualized.

    To avoid this conclusion, you have to go into universalism or open theism, but you have to deny one of the numbered points above.

    My point is that Calvinists and Arminians (or if you prefer a different term for either group) are primarily arguing over the means God chose to use to save some, not over the decision itself only to save some.

    You may object that I haven't cited Scripture in this post, but I have intentionally not done so. I'm not trying to litigate the truth claims of any specific framework. I'm merely seeking to draw attention to the similarities of the systems as they exist.
     
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  2. davidtaylorjr

    davidtaylorjr Well-Known Member

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    I think it goes deeper than that once you start talking about the atonement. Because that asks did Christ die for all sins, or only the sins of the elect.
     
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  3. StefanM

    StefanM Well-Known Member
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    I do agree with you on that point, but in the end, the extent of the atonement doesn't change the number of people who are saved. (The same would apply if one believes that middle knowledge is valid--Christ would die for all of the elect, no matter the exact number, in any possible world.)
     
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  4. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW Well-Known Member
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    A very interesting post. Glad to see you back, StefanM.
     
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  5. Bible Thumpin n Gun Totin

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    I would add there is agreement on total depravity as well.

    The disagreement is only on how God goes about breaching total depravity to reach the depraved.
     
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  6. StefanM

    StefanM Well-Known Member
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    Exactly. Arminians believe in prevenient grace to enable a free will choice, but without that grace, the person would remain incapable of choosing Christ.
     
  7. Particular

    Particular Active Member

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    Essentially, God brings you to the location where he has a present.
    You can choose whether you open it or not.
    God will record your name, if you open the present. He will leave you off the list if you choose not to open it.
     
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  8. StefanM

    StefanM Well-Known Member
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    Thanks. It's been a while!
     
  9. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Whom did God determine would be saved by the atonement work of the Cross? What was His intent and purpose?
     
  10. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    They presume though that God will is that all were to get saved by the Cross of Christ, as they wish to maintain full free will in salvation process...
     
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  11. StefanM

    StefanM Well-Known Member
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    It may be framed that way frequently, but even if a person believes those things,God still would have chosen to prioritize free will over universal salvation (unless that person is also a universalist) and therefore would have ultimately chosen to create a world in which he knew universal salvation would not be realized.

    The other main alternative is open theism, which would "solve the problem" in part because God would not have exhaustive foreknowledge and could not necessarily predict from the beginning who would and would not be saved. Of course, open theism isn't biblical, so Arminians and Calvinists rightly reject it.

    Occasionally, someone will float the idea that God is not omnipotent, but such a person is usually so far beyond the bounds of orthodoxy as to render this discussion entirely irrelevant. You can find this idea in post-Holocaust Jewish theology especially, but once you've left Christian theology, you are no longer dealing with truth anyway.
     
  12. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Still have to deal with the effects of the Fall, as we are now spiritual dead and unable to respond to God in and by ourselves!
     
  13. StefanM

    StefanM Well-Known Member
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    This is where prevenient grace (grace that goes before) in Arminian theology comes into play. Arminians contend that God first extends grace to enable a person to respond, but the individual then has the choice to accept or to reject Christ.
     
  14. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    That is where we divide, as wed o not see sinners able to freely decide that way!
     
  15. StefanM

    StefanM Well-Known Member
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    (I don't claim to be an Arminian, for the record.)

    It is indeed a point of contrast between Calvinists and Arminians and also between Arminians and Semipelagians.
     
  16. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Classical Arminianism is close to Calvinism.
     
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  17. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    A true Classical Arminianism believes that sometimes God extends a resistable call and at other times He extends an irresistible call.
     
  18. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    that would mean that God ultimate is Sovereign, correct? He would be choosing to save some, and not all?
     
  19. davidtaylorjr

    davidtaylorjr Well-Known Member

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    Yeah some would call it a General Call vs Effectual Call....
     
  20. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Sure. I have no problem with that statement.
     
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