When it comes to the issues of Arminianism and
Calvinism we come to a system of beliefs that have divided Christians
for centuries. Although we have not had to deal with this in the past,
recently it has reared it's ugly head and we as a family have sensed the
Lord's prompting to search the scriptures for an answer.
Unfortunately, we have seen people we love and respect become divided
over this issue. Ministries have even refused to give an answer to a
belief in whether they fully support it or not.
Like in the days of the apostles when Jesus walked the earth, they asked
him concerning a blind man whether he or his parents sinned that made
him blind and the Lord answered, "neither ...".
In Jesus' day, religious men had taken scripture and boxed it into
doctrines that either you were this or this. When it comes to Calvinism
or Arminianism, it seems we have the same problem. (Calvinism is named
after John Calvin, a French theologian who lived from 1509-1564.
Arminianism is named after Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian who
lived from 1560-1609.)
These two are systems of theology that attempt to explain the
relationship between God's sovereignty and man's responsibility in the
matter of salvation.
Both systems can be summarized with five points.
Calvinism's five points are associated with the word TULIP:
Total Depravity - Total depravity states
that every aspect of humanity is tainted by sin; therefore, human beings
are unable to come to God on their own accord.
Unconditional Election - The view that God
elects individuals to salvation based entirely on His will alone, not on
anything inherently worthy in the individual.
Limited Atonement - The belief that Jesus
only died for the elect.
Irresistible Grace - When God calls a
person to salvation, that person will inevitably come to salvation.
Perseverance of the saints - The concept
that a person who is elected by God will persevere in faith and will not
permanently deny Christ or turn away from Him.
five points are:
Partial depravity - That every aspect of
humanity is tainted by sin, but not to the extent that they are unable
to place faith in God of their own accord.
Conditional election - Believeth that God
elects individuals to salvation based on His foreknowledge of who will
believe in Christ unto salvation, thereby on the condition that the
individual chooses God.
Unlimited atonement - The belief that Jesus
died for all, but that His death is not effectual until a person
receives Him by faith.
Resistible grace - States that God calls
all to salvation, but that many people resist and reject this call.
Conditional salvation - is the view that a
believer in Christ can of his/her own free will turn away from Christ
and thereby lose salvation.
Both of these beliefs have elements of truth, but they also have human
reasoning in them as well. We also need to look at the men behind these
teachings as well. John Calvin came out of the Roman Catholic Church and
brought some baggage that influenced him in some of his doctrines.
Jacobus Arminius believed that Calvin's teachings were out of balance
and therefore brought forth his points as well.
Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time... it's either
Calvinism or Arminianism ... But I say unto you ...
When you look to these doctrines both have problems or inconsistencies
that don't pan out totally in scripture.
So, is there a biblical set of doctrines we should strongly consider?
May God allow the following beliefs to be consistent with His word. As
with the acronym of TULIP, let's consider the following as good Bereans.
dependence on God
God's word says that man is a sinner. "As it is
written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that
understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God", Romans 3:10 & 11.
Romans 3:23 further states: "For all have
sinned, and come short of the glory of God", Romans 3:23
In Romans 1:20, God's word says that the world will be without
excuse. If we are going to be held accountable, and if the only way to
consider God's way is to be prompted by the Holy Spirit, then grace
would have to appear to all men as the scripture teaches
(Titus 2:11). God's word also teaches that,
"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified
him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their
imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." This verse
teaches that God gives every man an opportunity to know him. When He is
rejected in the area of salvation, He gives them over to a reprobate
mind (Romans 1).
The blood that was shed on Calvary paid for the sins of the world, just
as the brazen serpent that God told Moses to make was able to save all
those who looked upon it. The ones that died choose to rebel by not
looking. The brazen serpent was something God used for the people to
look upon. It wasn't the serpent that saved them, it was God.
(Numbers 21:7-9, John 3:14 & 15, Col. 1:14)
God's word tells us that God is not willing that any should perish ...
but all come to repentance. If that is true, then all mankind will be
given grace in which they will decide, as it is written
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath
appeared to all men," Titus 2:11, And he is the propitiation
(atonement) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins
of the whole world. I John 2:2
from the World
This means that Christians have the power to over come the world,
because as it is written, "Ye are of God, little
children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you,
than he that is in the world." I John 4:4
of the saints
God's word teaches that not only does He preserve His word, but He
preserves us as well (Psalms 12:6 & 7). God's word teaches that he is
able to keep us once we enter the kingdom of God through salvation (John
10). Those that he rebukes and commands to depart Him, are those whom He
says, "I never knew you" (Matthew 7:21-23).
They were religious but lost.
I am fearful that most of the churches in America are lost and are
listening to a watered down gospel. To those whom I know that are
"Calvinists", I believe them to be people
who are tired of the compromises that effect churches nation wide and
for some reason or another are getting caught up in this issue. May God
bless those who seek his face and are committed to His word and His