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Featured The Missing Balance in Calvinism

Discussion in 'Calvinism & Arminianism Debate' started by Ken Hamrick, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. Ken Hamrick

    Ken Hamrick Member

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    Any time that some truth which is held in balance in God’s word is given an emphasis on only one side, then misunderstanding and error result. It is true, as the Calvinists emphasize, that election in eternity past is unconditional. But the neglected Biblical balance is this: salvation in this temporal world is conditional, and God blesses no one with the saving, justifying, regenerating, life-giving union with Christ until they drop their rebellion, humble themselves, and come in genuine, repentant, fully surrendered faith. It is true, as the Calvinists emphasize, that faith is the gift of God; but it is just as Biblically true that faith is the requirement of God for salvation.

    If this Biblical balance were not the case, then we would expect to see the Calvinist one-sided view reflected in Scripture, with only election put forth as the pivotal thing of salvation. But instead, we see throughout that it is faith/belief that is the pivotal thing on which salvation or destruction are decided. If the Calvinists were correct, we should expect that verses such as John 3:16 should read, “…that whoever was not going to perish but was going to have eternal life would believe in Him;” but instead we find, “…that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life.” Throughout Scripture, belief is pivotal to salvation. That is why we preach to men—to implore them to believe. Belief results in justification and forgiveness, it results in reconciliation with God and the life-giving, regenerating indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Belief results in adoption and spiritual rebirth into God’s family. On the other hand, unbelief results in a man dying in his sins, it results in the wrath of God, it results in eternal destruction. Belief cannot be simply one of the fruits of the Spirit given in some uninvited regenerational indwelling, else it would not have been given such an ostensibly pivotal role in whether a man goes to heaven or to hell.

    This imbalance in the Calvinist understanding results in two things. First, it results in an overly transcendent view of how God works with men to accomplish His plan. Sinners are seen as locked behind obstacles to faith that are impossible to overcome, and God is seen as regenerating men without any regard to their own will in the matter. What I’m trying to get you to see is that such a one-sided, transcendent scheme is unnecessary—that there is a more Biblical and more immanent way to understand this. Belief is the pivotal thing precisely because unbelief is never mere ignorance of the truth but is always rebellion against the God of that truth—just as belief is never mere mental assent to the truth but must always be a repentant submission to the God of that truth. It is not necessary to an unconditional election that the responses of men be irrelevant. If God implores all men to come, and only saves those who do come, it fits perfectly with election if God is responsible for whether or not a man is ultimately persuaded to come. God knows all men completely, and knows exactly how much persuasion would be needed to bring any man to his knees in repentant faith; and God is in charge of all circumstances, including length of life.

    The second result is the hidden assumption of an indifference in God toward the nonelect. It is assumed that if God had any desire toward saving the nonelect, then He would have elected them. It is an overly simplistic view of God that fails to consider that the exigencies of the justice in God’s nature may have required Him to accept what is repugnant to Him (the perishing of so many) for the greater purposes of accomplishing His plan for His glory. The simplistic view sees that God can simply do whatever He wants; but God cannot go against His own sense of justice, which would be to go against Himself. The fact is that if Adam had not sinned, then all men would have been elect. In order for God’s plan to include the sin of mankind in Adam, it would have to include so tragic the results of that sin. Sin must have results; and the sin of the race in Adam has the necessary result of only a remnant being saved in the end. “God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked,” and, “God is not willing that any should perish…” but God allows what is repugnant to His nature in order to accomplish what is to His greatest glory.

    The difference between these two views of God is reflected in how God relates to the nonelect. If God is seen as having indifferently passed over so many for election, then He is seen as having little to no compassion toward the nonelect regarding any offer of salvation or any desire for their salvation. But if God is seen as a God who truly loves all, and who did not pass over so many out of any lack of love toward them, but only as a necessary judgment on the race as a whole, then God can indeed have compassion toward the nonelect and can indeed make salvation available in such a way as to make their destruction a matter of their own refusal and not merely a matter of God refusing to offer to save all who would be willing to come.
     
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  2. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    Which is it Ken?

    Is salvation unconditional, meaning God gets all the glory for saving someone, or is it based on something a man does ( conditional ), meaning God credits them with something, thereby gaining them favor with God and some iof His glory for the work of saving someone goes to the person who has successfully believed on His Son...while the other guy didn't?

    I'm also not aware of anyone who humbled themselves before God in a contrite spirit, who was not already righteous through the blood of Christ and justified by God.

    Again, which is it, Ken?

    Is faith a gift ( Ephesians 2:8 ) and the evidence of salvation ( Hebrews 11:1 ), or is it a requirement that God places upon the believer in order to gain His favor?

    Please see Romans 11:5-6.
     
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  3. Ken Hamrick

    Ken Hamrick Member

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    Dave,

    What makes you think that if God--through the kinds of persuasions that only He in His grace, power and omniscience can provide--would have to credit the man for doing what no man would do without such divine persuasions? In both your scheme and mine, no man will come to God willingly unless God 1)chooses to save him because he is elect, and 2) does what is necessary to cause the man to embrace God through Christ in true faith. Even in your view, it is the man himself who believes--God does not believe for the man.

    The fact that salvation is conditional in this temporal world (with election being unconditional in eternity)does not take God's glory and give it to the one who would not have believed had God not caused it. What it does do, though, is put a man's destruction on his own head by causing there to be a genuine warrant for all men to believe an not merely the elect. The Calvinist system leaves the unelect man as more victim than sinner. Sure, they say his depravity makes him deserving of God's wrath. But, what made them deserving of their depravity? At that point, the Calvinist begins to have trouble. But it's funny that for all the emphasis on how wicked sinners are, they're not as wicked as in the middle view. We see sinners as so wicked that even if they have an ability to believe on Christ and repent, they still will not come unless God persuades them; whereas, in the view of many Calvinists I have encountered, God has to keep them bound up by a total inability and blindness. Such are not the kind who would not come if they were able, but are simply unable.
    Friend, salvation is of grace under my view. In grace, God elected unconditionally in eternity past. In grace, God draws a man, convicts him by the Holy Spirit, gives to him the message of reconciliation by the preaching of the gospel of Christ, orchestrates the events of his life and provides all necessary persuasions to do what God knows with certainty will be the result: God will bring the man to his knees in genuine, repentant faith in Christ. All of that was grace. The resulting faith was due only to God's action in the matter, and was a gift from Him. That God's grace is explained here in terms that are more immanent than transcendent should not frighten you--God is just as capable of using means and carrying out His will through the will of men as He is of using only supernatural power.

    Good night for now. Be blessed!
     
  4. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    Because for man to be actively involved, would mean God loses part of the credit for saving the man.
    God will have no one to boast...so the entire saving process, start to finish, must rely on Him and Him alone.

    Otherwise it introduces the unholy pollutant of man's efforts into His holy work of righteousness and grace.
    See Romans 11:5-6 and Titus 3:5-6.

    Belief is a work of God, not a work of men ( John 6:29 ).
    It is also a gift given to believers in the behalf of Christ ( Philippians 1:29 ).

    Why do you think I maintain the position that I do?
    Because I see the truths above from Scripture.

    It doesn't frighten me.;)
    It offends me to the point of almost being sick, because of where it leads to, when all is said and done.:Sick
    It also makes me afraid for you.:Cautious

    In the underlined:

    I agree, and He often does.
    But enabling man to "make the first step" in saving himself is not what Scripture teaches.
    Respectfully, we're right back to "Synergism"... with man working along with God, and not God working alone in His complete and utter mercy and grace towards someone.

    That's not a middle ground, Ken...that's capitulating to the other side.
    That's "Prevenient Grace"...and a " Wesleyan Arminian" doctrine.

    Man is never credited with belief...although it may look like we are in a cursory reading of the text.
    Even that is a gift ( Philippians 1:29 )and a work of God ( John 6:29 ).
    With the Lord, He's not going to allow men to have anything that they can look at other than Him.

    From my perspective, to allow anything into the equation that can be potentially used by men as a "stepping stone", is not biblical and violates His grace.
    The Lord does not "extend a helping hand"...He walks over, picks up a "dead" man, and brings him back to life.:Thumbsup
    Life from the dead
    ...it is a direct picture of what He did for His Son in the tomb.

    This is why it has to be this way:

    " And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence." ( Colossians 1:18 )
    So that in ALL things, Christ might have the pre-eminence.


    He is first.
    He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.
    He gets all the credit.

    Why?
    Because God is a jealous God ( Exodus 34:14 ).
    He will not have mankind to glory in anything but Him and His gifts of mercy and kindness.;)

    Salvation is "of the Lord"...completely.
    Every facet, every minute detail, start to finish.
    All of grace, and none of man.:)
     
    #4 Dave G, Jul 14, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
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  5. Rockson

    Rockson Active Member

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    Yes and that's the crux of the matter right there. I hear Calvinists exclaim over and over sinners deserve punishment but over something that always was totally out of their control with no option to rectify the situation. I think it stuns and shocks men of reasonable minds as they ask they question how could anyone sign onto such a bizarre concept of justice, and yet....here we are....some do.
     
  6. atpollard

    atpollard Well-Known Member

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    Can a person with a mental illness choose to be sane?
    Does a psychopath have a choice not to kill?
    Is it wrong to lock a psychopath away for committing murder?

    If all men have a mental illness called a “fallen mind” that renders them incapable of accepting God’s offer of forgiveness, then is it wrong to still punish them for the evil that they do?

    God chooses to cure some of this mental illness and not others, so the question is the one Paul raised in Romans ... is God unjust for punishing people for not being chosen as “honorable vessels”?

    So there are two real questions:
    • Does MAN have the innate power to choose independent of the work of God? (Making salvation/damnation our choice and not God’s choice).
    • Does God have an obligation to save everyone? (Making it unfair if God does not give everyone the same chance.)
     
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  7. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    Strawman
     
  8. MB

    MB Well-Known Member

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    Making it unfair, is making it unjust. I could not worship a God who is unjust. Calvinism makes God unjust. It's not an obligation it's God's plan. In order for God to be Just. Everything equals out. This is why we all have a mind to reason with. We all learn good and evil and know instinctively what we should be doing. Calvinism makes all men helpless. They have no responsibility. God does it all Good and bad. I've heard them say many times that God made sin and everything is predestined. so if you sin don't worry about God predestined it.

    MB.
     
  9. MB

    MB Well-Known Member

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    This relieves man of all his responsibility. Why even when he sins it's really God that makes man sin. The man is innocent because god made him do it.
    MB
     
  10. atpollard

    atpollard Well-Known Member

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    Does MAN have the innate power to choose independent of the work of God?
    (Making salvation/damnation our choice and not God’s choice).
     
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  11. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    Zactly. Spot on. Man is totally passive in the birth from above.

    13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Jn 1

    27 but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong;

    28 and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea and the things that are not, that he might bring to nought the things that are:
    29 that no flesh should glory before God.
    30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: 1 Cor 1

    You free willers need to repeat this over and over and over until you finally get it:

    "of him are ye in Christ Jesus"

    "of him are ye in Christ Jesus"

    "of him are ye in Christ Jesus"

    "of him are ye in Christ Jesus"
     
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  12. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    I believe in mans free will... BUT... It ended in a Garden... You know what's strange?... The will of God was accomplished in one too.... AMAZING!... GRACE!... Brother Glen:)
     
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  13. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    Not at all.
    If God says we are responsible, then that is what should be focused on, as I see it.
    I think you may be forgetting what God says in James 1:13-15.

    God is not responsible for a man's sins...He is responsible for saving that man from the consequences of his sins.
    He neither condones sin, nor does He permit it in His presence.

    His treatment of sin is what put His Son on the cross for the believer.
    No one is innocent.
    That is what is written.;)

    Romans 1:18-20
    Romans 3:10-18.
    Romans 3:23
    Ecclesiastes 7:20.



    Are you willing to deal with what is written?
    If not, then how can you claim to believe His every word?
     
    #13 Dave G, Jul 19, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
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  14. loDebar

    loDebar Well-Known Member

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    if a sinner cannot choose salvation , then the sinner cannot choose to sin.
    Free choice exists in sinning and belief in God to redeem us from sin.
    If a sinner cannot choose to sin, the God made us sin. The end result of Calvinism

    Every Calvinist must believe God made us sin
     
  15. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    We had the opportunity to rectify the situation when Adam ate the fruit and realized what had happened.
    If you look closely, when God confronted Adam, what did he do?

    Instead of confessing his sin and seeking reconciliation right then and there, he tried to cast the blame, not on himself and to own up to it, but on Eve.
    Didn't he?

    So, the "downward slide" could have been rectified before it really got rolling.
    But what happened?

    Adam didn't even try.

    The option was long gone, long ago...way before you or I were born.
    I think that what shocks people the most is not the "unreasonableness" of it, but the fact that many are not willing to abandon their own understanding of a situation, and simply trust whatever God says ( Proverbs 3:5-6 ).

    If God says we are sinners, then we are.
    If He says that the only way to escape eternal wrath is to believe on his Son, then that is the truth.
    If He says that the only way to believe that truth was to be ordained to eternal life, then everyone who professes to believe, should automatically believe the rest.

    Why?

    Because we should be willing to believe whatever is written on the page...not our own sense of what's right and wrong.
     
    #15 Dave G, Jul 19, 2019
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  16. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    Did you choose to sin?
     
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  17. loDebar

    loDebar Well-Known Member

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    yes, sometimes because I did not do something I should have . Satan sins ,.... did you, do you?
     
  18. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    As did I.
    In fact, there have been many occasions that I knowingly disobeyed God.
    That is why I need a Saviour.
    Yes, I have, and yes I do...too many times to count.:Sick

    Even now, I still stumble around in it...but not near as much as I did even 5 years ago.
    That is why I thank God for His gift of eternal life.
    Without it, I would have never known I was a sinner, or even cared about how much I've offended Him.
    I agree.

    Free choice exists in sinning, because in our fallen state, our wills follow our nature....which is to hate God and sin, continually.
    Then, when we are born again, our nature is changed.
    Once again, our free choice was to "hear" God's word, believe it, and decide to now obey God, instead of disobey Him.

    Are you following?

    We do both by freedom of choice.
    The difference is, God's will and power are behind the second set of "circumstances".

    Changing the heart, changes the will.
    No, He didn't...Sinners choose to sin.
    I did, you did, we all did.

    We are responsible for our sin, because we freely chose it.

    God alone is responsible for our salvation, and for making us, as believers, born again.
    Regardless of what you think "Calvinism" does or leads to, the Bible says that we sin freely, and that without a miraculous change of heart, we would only keep wanting to sin.

    God gives us, as believers, a new "want to".
    But He doesn't do it for just anyone.
    Why....because that's the "logical conclusion"?
    I disagree.

    God's word tells us that men sin, and why.
    It also tells us that God saves, and why.

    I think it's that second "why", that you are having the most trouble believing.;)
     
    #18 Dave G, Jul 20, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
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  19. MB

    MB Well-Known Member

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    No I;m not forgetting Jame 1:13. Although when Calvinist claim everything is predestined. That means sin is predestined too even sin.
    I've even Heard Calvinist claim that if they sin it was predestined by God to happen
    Of course I am. Calvinism is not written in scripture. It's twisted from scripture by man's own interpretation. None of you allow God to interpret scripture for you it's always what you think that makes up the nonsense you believe.

    Not all Calvinist are exactly the same but all do exactly what I just said about interpretation of Scripture. You interpret it to fit the way you want it to or you let someone else do it for you.
    We are told to seek God but you claim no one does, they can't because they are disabled.
    MB
     
  20. loDebar

    loDebar Well-Known Member

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    I think it is the logical conclusion and the real nature of Calvinism, If one does not have tree will to accept Christ, then it is God's decision, that the definition of election. If one does not have free will, God makes the decisions and sinning is not man's fault but originates with God. The hidden goal of Calvinism is to impugn salvation and God

    Sure our desires change as Christians, but we also have free choice in serving God faithfully , so we can sin as Christians.
    He does not force us to serve Him.
     
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