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Featured Calvinism - an attempt at a common definition for the sake of discussion

Discussion in 'Calvinism & Arminianism Debate' started by JonC, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Given the recent disputes over definitions perhaps this thread can help us come to a common ground.

    I’ll use myself as an example. I’ve affirmed the following:

    1. Total depravity
    2. Unconditional Atonement
    3. Limited (or particular, which I prefer) Atonement
    4. Irresistible Grace (God accomplishes His plan)
    5. Perseverance of the Saints (or the eternal security of the truly saved)
    6. That the lost (the “vessels of wrath” are predestined for such
    7. That this world is the best of all possibilities in accordance with God’s plan

    @TCassidy believed that point 5 went too far and was a type of "hyper Calvinism", but I do not think so as I believe Calvinism demands at least that the lost were predestined (ordained, if not decreed) for that state. But given the inclusiveness and the room that decree vs ordain has I think this can be excluded.

    I think that #7 can be excluded simply because it has not crept up as a discussion point here, but if God is truly sovereign and active in His plan, then I believe it is accurate.

    So we are left with TULIP.

    But @Iconoclast (and given his ratings on previous discussions, I believe @SovereignGrace ) disagree with the "Doctrines of Grace as being termed "Calvinism".

    I suspect the issue is that I disagreed that God separated from Christ on the cross. The other options are my belief that no theology (that our understanding of the mind of God is finite and therefore imperfect) or theory can encompass the Atonement (that the Atonement is far greater than any theory would allow).

    So here we are.

    I suggest that "Calvinism" be defined by the "Doctrines of Grace" or "TULIP" for the purposes of this board.

    But I'm open to discussion.
     
  2. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW Well-Known Member
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    Do you have any software that can produce a Venn diagram?

    I'd like to see Calvinism, Reformed, and maybe some other callsigns mapped out.

    But is this just for soteriology, or is everything game? Ecclesiology and Eschatology are where I feel distinct differences in myself and the Reformers.
     
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  3. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I have as little software as I have to have to balance my checkbook.

    I suggest "Calvinism" refer to soteriology alone (I like TULIP and leave everything else up to clarification).

    But I do think we need a common definition. My first reaction against @Iconoclast was "but you are not a real Calvinist to begin with", my second was that he rejected Calvinist in it's most logical form. So I think if we leave it at the five points we are at a good basic ground.

    The reason I suggest this is that for some reason Calvinism has become a measuring rod for one's philosophical view of God's mind in planning salvation.

    That said, we have the issue of Calvinism minus (4 pt, to 0 pt Calvinists).

    So I'm open to suggestions.
     
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  4. InTheLight

    InTheLight Well-Known Member
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    I think you meant to say TCassidy believed point 6 went too far...
     
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  5. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Yes - thank you for the correction. He indicated that "double predestination" was too far. If "decreed" that people should perish I would also agree.

    The main difference is that I hold more of an Edwardian view when it comes to "double predestination" (that the creative act of an omniscient God demands a sense of predestination).
     
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  6. davidtaylorjr

    davidtaylorjr Well-Known Member

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    I'm fine with the definition being the five points. That's what most people have big debates over anyway.
     
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  7. atpollard

    atpollard Well-Known Member

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    Number 2 is typically called Unconditional Election ... defined as follows:
    • "This understanding of election has traditionally been called "unconditional election." It is "unconditional" because it is not conditioned upon anything that God sees in us that makes us worthy of his choosing us." (Grudem, Wayne A. (2009) Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (p. 679). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
    • “In the context of the term ‘unconditional election’, this election is the sovereign act of God where, from before the foundation of the world, he chose those whom he would save (Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13). This election to save is not conditioned upon any foreseen faith (Rom. 9:16) or any foreseen good works of any individual (Rom. 9:11; 2 Tim. 1:9). This election is based completely on God's sovereign choice according to the kind intention of his will (Eph. 1:11). God chose the elect because he decided to bestow his love upon them (John 3:16; Eph. 2:4), based solely on his sovereign grace (Gal. 1:15), and for his glory (Isaiah 43:7).” (Matt Slick; Unconditional Election | CARM.org)
    • “The Reformed view of election, known as unconditional election, means that God does not foresee an action or condition on our part that induces Him to save us. Rather, election rests on God’s sovereign decision to save whomever He is pleased to save.” (R.C.Sproul, TULIP and Reformed Theology: Unconditional Election)
     
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  8. atpollard

    atpollard Well-Known Member

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    Although it is helpful to define the five points the way Calvinists actually define them, for example: “Perseverance of the Saints” is not “OSAS: say a prayer and go back to sinning and you will still get into Heaven.”

    (The same is true for Classic Arminianism or Wesleyan Arminianism, but this is a topic on defining Calvinism.)
     
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  9. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    @JonC

    Would you please clarify this?

    I have always considered DoG and Calvinism being synonymous terms. But would you please clarify? Thanks bunches.
     
  10. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    As for point # 6, I believe Dr. R.C. Sproul summed that up best...I will paraphrase it...

    God has an positive and negative decree. The positive is in regards to the elect. That God acts in a positive way towards His elect. If God had not chosen the elect, none would be saved, seeing that there are none who seek Him. Negative, in that God leaves the non-elect in their (justly) condemned state. He does not have to do anything to keep the non-elect from coming to Him, as their fallen, sin-crusted heart, is what precludes them from coming to Him.
     
  11. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Yes,

    I started a thread to help clarify.

    @Iconoclast insists that I am anti-Calvinist. Yet I have affirmed the "Doctrines of Grace". I do not like the term "Calvinism" but insofar as those doctrines I am on board.

    But I have disagreed (strongly) on other issues (penal substitution as a theory encompassing the Atonement, God separating from Jesus on the Cross, etc.).

    Since @Iconoclast (and I take it you prior to removing your post) insist that my affirmation of the "five points" or the "doctrines of grace" is not enough to classify my position as "Calvinism" (and I am fine with that) there must be something else (perhaps Covenant theology?).
     
  12. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I still lean more to Jonathan Edwards on this one (Edwards did not presume to know God's mind, but simply left it as based in omniscience).

    The objection is normally that God is passive in not electing while active in electing (therefore not electing is not really a "decree" but the result of decreeing to save others). I think that route is trying to escape the logical conclusion of double predestination.
     
  13. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    I think what it boils down to is that most who hold to election deny equal ultimacy in regards to God's dealings with the elect and non-elect.
     
  14. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    I deleted that post to not fan the flames.
     
  15. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    That's fine. We all have that opportunity. I've done the same thing.

    What it boils down to is that @Iconoclast has persistently told me what I believe. He has decided that I am anti-Calvinism and that I do not understand Calvinism but to this date has been unable to explain why except that I do not join in the ridicule of non-Calvinists or jump into the battle defending Calvinism.

    In other words, @Iconoclast claims that my view is not "Calvinist" even though I affirm the 5 points. So for him (I think perhaps you as well) the term must mean something in addition to the doctrines of grace. But thus far that "something" has not been offered...yet the claim remains. I considered it may be an integrity issue, but hesitate to go there.

    In the past (years ago) I defended the view even here on the BB. I have come to realize that the benefit is in discussing our different understandings - not defending them. The benefit is in seeking to know how the other believer sees things so that we can dialogue more effectively and build one another up - not so we can tear down and insult other believers.

    I am a Calvinist but Calvinism is not my religion, if that makes sense to you.
     
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  16. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Most who affirm "double predestination" also deny equal ultimacy in regards to God's dealings with the elect and non-elect.

    Scripture speaks of "vessels of wrath" which are not outside of the design of the Potter. There is room between "predestination" and the notion of decreeing disbelief.

    My position here is very much like John Piper's position (the unsaved not existing outside of the Potter's design).
     
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  17. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Well-Known Member

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    Gents ( and ladies ),

    I'm not entirely sure that posting on this forum is what the Lord explicitly wishes for me to do, but I'll take the chance that it is, and post a few things in the belief that it may be edifying for some of you.
    For brevity's sake I will keep my answers as clear and to the point as possible....resisting any urges of the flesh to get involved in "cage staged" behavior. ;)

    To be clear, I very much regret some of my past attitudes and actions towards those who disagree with what I see in Scripture, and will try to engage those who reply to me in the best interests of treating everyone in a civil and godly manner. :)

    With that said, I'd like to address a few points that some of you have made, and comment based on my own personal understanding of the Scriptures at this point in time:

    I agree with the underlined, and see your point.
    For me, I lean more towards accepting "double predestination", as harsh as that may seem.

    If there is, I no longer see it, though I once did.
     
    #17 Dave Gilbert, Jul 4, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
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  18. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Well-Known Member

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    I used to agree with this, but have had trouble waffling back and forth in the past, because I see other things in Scripture that now make me think otherwise:

    Matthew 13:10-17
    John 3:18
    John 12:39-40
    Romans 11:7-12
    2 Corinthians 4:3-4
    2 Corinthians 13:5-7
    1 Peter 2:8
    2 Peter 2:12
    Jude 1:4
    Jude 1:13

    Active blinding and reprobation are things that I see God using as means to keep those who are not His children, from even the possibility of entering in... erecting a "wall" of His own ( similar to men erecting their own "wall" against Him in Romans 1:18-32 and John 3:19-20 ) in order to prevent the possibility of a man seeking Him outside of His express permission and self-revealing ( Matthew 11:27, Luke 10:22 ).

    Does God deliberately hide His face from men?
    There are many passages that I see as supporting this, which include the following:

    Job 34:29
    Isaiah 45:15
    Ezekiel 39:29

    Regardless of mankind's responsibility to repent, I see that only those whom God makes a new creature in Christ will ever believe the Gospel...which makes it the Gospel of their salvation ( Ephesians 1:13 ), not the Gospel of anyone else's.

    So, because the Gospel is intended for the elect as a promise and not an "offer", I see the Lord purposefully restricting the belief of it, in all its detail, to His children and no one else.

    Agreed.
    I clearly see, from Scripture, that God wouldn't "need" to actively reprobate anyone because of our love of sin and hatred of Him and His ways...we as men have no trouble wallowing in the mire.

    Unlike the actions of the prodigal son, if left to ourselves we would all stay back there in the far country.
    But to me, there are both passive and active aspects to "predestination", which are all rolled up in His purposes according to election.
     
    #18 Dave Gilbert, Jul 4, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
  19. utilyan

    utilyan Well-Known Member
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    Hyper Calvinist are the best. They have taken everything to its logical conclusion.

    You just have to look at the point of election. According to the belief from the foundation before you existed God LOVED YOU FIRST or HATED YOU FIRST.


    In the same "fairness" (non-cals love that word),...... In the same "fairness" of being born with white or black skin, you did not have that choice God did it for you.

    We MIGHT BE troubled if a person were treated badly because they were black not being chosen to be white.

    In the same way you got to accept God has distributed a invisible HOLY SKIN called elect, and everyone else is a reprobate skin, from the foundation of the world.
     
  20. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    The best (most logical) form is probably Presbyterian doctrine (and those I know are very close to "hyper").

    That said, the "two race" thinking is not a the only logical conclusion. Calvinism (and any theology that ventures to describe God's mind and intent here) is not absent the influences of our finite minds. It depends on how (and the "logical order") one employs.
     
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