Two Quick Questions For My Calvinist Friends

Ques. #1: Why are you a Calvinist?  Primarily, why do you presently hold to Calvinism?

Ques. #2: What would it take to convince you that Calvinism is false or unbiblical? (are you even open to the possibility that you may be wrong about Calvinism?)

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44 Responses

  1. 1. They are a Calvinist because (they believe) God ordained them to believe in that system. 2. Calvinism (they believe) is nothing of the sort, it is simply unadulterated and pure Biblical Christianity, all others are heretical. 3. If God (they would probably say) were to predestine me to believe in Arminianism, I would. In short, their beliefs are based on the fact that they believe them, not on the Bible or logic, so asking them questions like these is as fruitful as asking a Cactus if it would consider not growing thorns.

  2. I am a Calvinist because I believe that man is dead, cannot please God, cannot come to Jesus.

    I am a Calvinist because I believe that God is sovereign over all things and that nothing can come to pass without his will.

    I am a Calvinist because I believe that God chose to save, by his grace, some before the world began.

    I am a Calvinist because I believe that God keeps people saved and loses none.

    I have debated with Arminians in church sponsored debates, and I have yet to hear or read any Arminian who can deny what the scriptures plainly assert on the above stated points.

    But, I believe that God has a purpose in his permitting such disagreements among his followers.

    Blessings,

    Stephen

  3. Isn’t it an oxymoron or at least not Calvinistic to say, “I believe.” Stephen by sovereign do you mean “exhaustive determinism?” I used to be a Calvinist, because I was taught that by seemingly unanswerable arguments. When I threw out the theology books and was challenged with the usual John 3:16 question (is it a valid offer?). I was no longer a Calvinist.

  4. “I am a Calvinist because I believe that man is dead, cannot please God, cannot come to Jesus.

    But so do Arminians. Hence the doctrine of Prevenient Grace. See Roger Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities

    “I am a Calvinist because I believe that God is sovereign over all things and that nothing can come to pass without his will.”

    Arminians also believe that God is absolutely sovereign. The disagreement comes when sovereignty is defined in terms of universal, divine, causal determinism (exhaustive theological determinism). See Roger Olson, Arminian Theology and Against Calvinism.

    “I am a Calvinist because I believe that God chose to save, by his grace, some before the world began.”

    Arminians could wholeheartedly agree with the above sentiments, depending on how the terms are defined (ie. God’s unconditional election of a corporate entity [the Church - a chosen people]). See https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/corporate-election-resources/

    “I am a Calvinist because I believe that God keeps people saved and loses none.”

    But this belief is not the exclusive property of Calvinism. One can be a full-fledged Arminian and hold to unconditional eternal security. See http://evangelicalarminians.org/Outline.FACTS-of-Arminianism-vs-the-TULIP-of-Calvinism

    “I have debated with Arminians in church sponsored debates, and I have yet to hear or read any Arminian who can deny what the scriptures plainly assert on the above stated points.”

    Could that be because none of the above stated points are the sole property of Calvinism?

    “But, I believe that God has a purpose in his permitting such disagreements among his followers.”

    I’m curious… do you believe that God merely permits such disagreements, or actually renders them certain?

    With kind regards,
    MTM

  5. Any classical Arminian could believe in each one of Steve’s “I am a Calvinist becasue…” statements; total depravity = Arminian, soverengy & providence = Arminian, God choosing to save a select few (to us, “believers in Christ” conditionally) = Arminian, & eternal security = possibly Arminian (though not necessarily).

    Perhaps the reason you find it hard for an Arminian to deny those points is because they don’t actually deny them!

  6. “I am a Calvinist because I believe that man is dead, cannot please God, cannot come to Jesus.”
    Me also, but I am not a Calvinist.

    “I am a Calvinist because I believe that God is sovereign over all things and that nothing can come to pass without his will.”
    Me also, but I am not a Calvinist[2].

    “I am a Calvinist because I believe that God chose to save, by his grace, some before the world began.”
    Me also, but I am not a Calvinist [3].

    “I am a Calvinist because I believe that God keeps people saved and loses none.”
    Me also, but I am not a Calvinist [4] – in some controversial sense.

    “I have debated with Arminians in church sponsored debates, and I have yet to hear or read any Arminian who can deny what the scriptures plainly assert on the above stated points.”
    I am Arminian-Molinist and nothing you say is negated by my soteriological position.What is the difference?

    “But, I believe that God has a purpose in his permitting such disagreements among his followers.”
    Me also, but I am not a Calvinist [5].

    “Blessings, Stephen”

    Si vis Pacem, Para Bellum.

  7. Stephen,

    Thanks for the response. I may interact with some of what you say when I get some more time.

    To everyone else- I am fine with interacting with the comments of Calvinists who answer here, but be careful not to go on the attack. So far comments have basically been an effort to show that Arminianism holds to the same teachings, while seeing them a little different and asking for clarification, and that’s fine. I wrote this post because I truly want to understand why Calvinists primarily hold to Calvinism and I hope I get some more feedback from Calvinists. So far, most of the comments are from Arminians. That’s OK, but I don’t want Calvinists to be uncomfortable in commenting because they feel they are just going to be attacked. Again, I don’t think that is what has been going on so far, but just wanted to head that sort of thing off before it happens. Thanks.

    Ben

  8. Matt,

    I think it is fruitful because it gives us insight into why Calvinists come to be Calvinists and why they find their position convincing. “If” Calvinism were true, they would come to their beliefs by divine decree, as you say, but that wouldn’t make it illogical. Assuming Calvinism were true, their beliefs would be logical as they would be true. Obviously, I don’t think Calvinism is true, nor do I think it is logical, but Calvinists disagree. As an Arminian who does does not believe everything is predetermined by decree, I want to get a better grasp on why Calvinists hold to Calvinism.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  9. I am a Calvinist because I believe it to be the most biblical system.

    Stephen’s reply shows the issues rather nicely. Notice how quickly Arminians chimed in with “I believe that too, BUT…” rhetoric.

    More and more I’m of the opinion that these things are futile to address on the net. If you believe that you are saved by grace through faith, then I consider you a brother in Christ. Best to agree to disagree than sow seeds of animosity and hostility.

  10. Mitch,

    Thanks for sharing. Can I ask how you came to see Calvinism as the most biblical system? What was that process like?

    Thanks,
    Ben

  11. Oh, and could you answer ques. # 2 if you have some time?

  12. Very good, Mitch! But (haha!), there are many things that Calvinist rhetoric does make believe that Calvinism is EQUAL to te Bible, and all other soteriological systems (including here Molinism and Arminianism) are just “evil humanistic heresies made to pervert the Church of Jesus Christ”.
    Do you even know that Warfield and Wesley were good friends, and Wesley preached at the funeral of his friend? This is the type of truce that is missing from this discussion.

    Si vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

  13. More and more I’m of the opinion that these things are futile to address on the net.

    I just approved a comment on X-Calvinist Corner. I assume this person would disagree with you that such things are entirely futile to address on the net; though I agree that they can be at times, depending on how the discussions develope.

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/x-calvinist-corner/#comment-6803

  14. Ben,

    The process was both simple and complex. When I first became a Christian I would read different commentaries and religious books, but neglected the bible, to my great shame and loss.

    Only when I started reading the bible diligently did I come to see and understand certain truths. For me, these truths are aligned with Calvinism. i used to hate and despise other views, but now i’ve come to realize that this is also a grave sin. I do not have a monopoly on truth.

    As to question 2, it would take diligently walking through the bible and learning how i have seen and understood wrongly to convince me otherwise. I have learned from both Arminians and Calvinist and hope to continue to learn about our great God.

    BTW Credulo, I believe you meant Whitefield. And yes I am very familiar with that part of history.

  15. Mitch,

    Thanks again. Don’t mean to pester, but your comments seem a little vague and lead me to ask for specifics. It seems like you are basically saying that you were a non-Calvinists because you neglected the Bible and just read commentaries, but then became a Calvinist when you started reading the Bible. What commentaries were you reading and what about the Bible, outside of the influence of commentaries and religous books, brought you to truths that aligned with Calvinism. You don’t have to answer again, but I am really interested in specifics here.

    Thanks,
    Ben

  16. Ben,

    Not at all how I wanted my comment to come across, let me try again.

    I was a lukewarm Christian at best, till I started reading the bible. The way I read it, see it and understand it aligns more with Calvinism, than Arminianism.

    I have studied both sides extensively since then, read primary source material and strongly believe that the Calvinistic view is better.

    If you are asking me when did I become a Calvinist, then I do not know. There was no great epiphany or anything like that, just when I read the bible it drips with tenets that are associated with calvinism.

    That better??

  17. Hello Ben,

    While I understand that you would like to hear Calvinists give their reasons. I think I know their reasons already. If they were honest their reasons would include but not be limited to:

    1.Because I believe the Calvinist interpretations of scripture are the best interpretations of scripture.

    2.Because I was taught this way of interpreting scripture.

    3.Because some bible teachers that I greatly trust and respect (e.g. John MacArthur, John Piper) teach it.

    4.Because the best systematic theologies (e.g. Wayne Grudem) of which I am aware espouse Calvinism.

    5.Because some very intelligent people earlier in church history (i.e. Augustine, Calvin, Jonathan Edwards) held to it.

    6.Because people that I greatly respect (e.g. my pastor, father, close friends) teach it.

    7.Because in my thinking Calvinism is the most logical and coherent system of theology available.

    8.Because as I studied the bible and discussed things with friends, other Christians, I became persuaded that Calvinism is true.

    Robert

  18. Mitch,

    That is better, but it makes me want to ask further questions (about that whole “drips with tenets” thing). However, I will let it go at that. Thanks again for sharing.

  19. “Ques. #1: Why are you a Calvinist? Primarily, why do you presently hold to Calvinism?”

    Answer: I am a “Calvinist” because that is what I am labled. I am labled that because of what I believe the bible teaches, and that lines up with Calvinism. Had to get that out of the way ;-) I came to this primarily because of a spiritual hunger that has lead me deeper into the bible than I have cared to go in years and secondarily because of the book “Chosen but Free,” by Norman Geisler. We started searching for a church that taught the Word and landed in a Reformed Baptist church (we do not attend there now, we only went for a few weeks). I had no idea what “Reformed” was, but my brother in law who is a pastor was very concerned by this and gave me Geisler’s book. I read the book three times and each time became more convinced of his mishandling and ignoring of certain sections of scripture. I searched the scriptures and found that the things I had been taught and had held to for so long (man has to choose or God is not love, God sees all down the corridors of time rather than predestining, etc.) were not in line with what scripture taught. Don’t take offense at that, it is what it is. If I find that I have the wrong interpretation of scripture I am perfectly willing to conform to scripture and leave my own presuppositions behind; and I expect the same of other believers.

    I presently hold to my interpretation of scripture, “Calvinism,” in the main because of the teaching of the absolute sovereignty of God as put forth in scripture. Also, the attributes of the Trinitarian God we serve. Also, the unity of the bible’s teaching in regards to redemption from Genesis to Revelation (I will be your God and you will be my people, and I will dwell in your midst).

    “Ques. #2: What would it take to convince you that Calvinism is false or unbiblical? (are you even open to the possibility that you may be wrong about Calvinism?)”

    I answered this above. Pride is the issue that makes people angry at those who do not conform to their view. Love is what makes people respond in grace (correcting and being corrected in love, and with all honesty and meekness of spirit). Humility is key in the study of scripture, one has to be willing to be wrong if scripture teaches otherwise. This is what I say, but am I able to do it? Through Him that strengthens me.

  20. “Why am I a Calvinist?”
    Reason 1. Because the Bible teaches it. If I could only cite a few texts, I would point to Ephesians 2 and others like it that talk about our spiritual condition (total depravity). We were dead. How can a dead person do anything? (and – a consistent arminian cannot claim to agree with TOTAL depravity because if it were total – then there would be nothing a dead sinner could do apart from God)
    Ephesians 2:1-5
    1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—

    Something to think about: texts like Eph 2 and the story of Lazarus. Does not the same thing take place in all dead sinners when they become believers? If so, did Lazarus choose to be raised from the dead? If he did, could he have chosen otherwise when Jesus commanded him to come to life? (I would say at that time Lazarus didn’t have a choice to stay dead or come to life. He could only come to life in obedience to King Jesus!)
    John 11:43-44
    43When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

    Reason 2. (in addition to several other texts) so that the boasting goes to God alone.
    1 Corinthians 1:28-31
    28God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

    “What would it take to convince you that Calvinism is false or unbiblical?”
    (see also Rom 3:27, etc…) – I am willing to hear from brothers on the other side, but until I can be shown not only that my view is unbiblical but also that God receives ALL the glory in the arminian view – I will remain on the side that gives God all the glory.

    In the arminian view: when it is boiled down, what is the determining factor between 2 twin brothers – 1 who goes to heaven and 1 to hell?
    (is it not the brother who accepted Christ’s gift and the brother who rejected it? 1 brother praised for a wise choice, the other shunned for a stupid choice)

    In the calvinist view: boiled down, what is the determining factor?
    (is it not God? God praised for His grace and God praised for His justice)

  21. Okay let’s get into some specifics as to why I lean towards Calvinism, having done a fair bit of research of late into this (on #2, I think I’m fairly open, hence why I’m even on this blog: seeking clarification about a few things).

    I lean towards Calvinism because of my understanding of what faith/belief is. Allow me to illustrate:

    I can’t make sense of conditional election (you’re elected when you have faith in Jesus) if we see faith as a full, 100% trust in Jesus, in which you stop trusting in your sin, and are ready to drop it all, and fully embrace Jesus, being done with your current life (in Jesus’ words: “repent and believe”, “trust in God”, “take up your cross”, “sell all, give it to the poor, and then follow me”).

    In such a scenario, under a conditional (upon your faith) election mindset, because your faith is actually a huge turn-around, as opposed to a simple decision/prayer, I cannot but see the salvation as a reward for this turn-around (this change in love, trust, faith, belief and orientation).

    Also I cannot make sense of Prevenient Grace, which is said to return totally depraved people to being able to respond to God in faith. The difficulty being, in order to respond to God in faith (where faith is an actual total surrender), you need to be fully convicted that what you’re doing is wrong, fully done with your way of life, and longing for God. And if that is where you’re at, it’s obvious God has drawn you, convicted you, and worked on your heart – and why would he stop working this good work? Hence irresistible grace makes much more sense.

    You must ask yourself the question here: what does it take for a person to respond to God? A man’s heart must be addressed, because it dearly desires sin, not God; a man’s emotions must be addressed, because they have great experiences of highs in their current lifestyle and have their hopes and friends in the world; a man’s conscience must be addressed, because it has been covered over and seared; a man’s mind must be addressed, because it has been deceived with many worldly and devilish ideas; a mans’ memory must be addressed, because often they have had bad experiences in the past with people who call themselves Christians.

    For the average person to come to God, a massive transformation must take place. This is why I believe in a God who takes a very active role in the salvation of his people – we are hopelessly, desperately lost, and certainly in no position to respond to God in faith unless God works our whole being to a great extent before we actually eventually surrender.

    Unless, of course, Jesus only required a 50% faith, where we could serve two masters. In this case, I think I can find that an Arminian perspective might work. Otherwise, we could not just respond to God in faith at any time of our choosing, without God actively wooing us irresistibly.

    These are my main points. I could say something about unlimited/limited atonement and assurance too, but that can come later.

  22. Josh, Eric, Nathan,

    Since you all seem open to the possibility that you may be wrong, and since it seems obvious to me that most of your objections are based on a misunderstanding of Arminianism, I hope to interact with your comments sometime soon. I may be a little critical at pionts. If that is a problem for any of you, please let me know now.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  23. “I hope to interact with your comments sometime soon. I may be a little critical at pionts. If that is a problem for any of you, please let me know now.”

    Ben- Sounds agreeable to me. I do think much of the harsh rhetoric from both sides is based upon misunderstanding. Would you for example ask “11 Questions on Calvinism & the Calvinist’s Worldview” (one of the links on the RH side of your blog)? I read that and see in it a misunderstanding of what a calvinist believes. Have you read “What Love is This” by Dave Hunt? Many of his arguments are based on misunderstandings.

    I also read Calvinists who misunderstand the Arminian point of view and get equally as frustrated with them for it.

    What it comes down to for me is that we discuss these matters not in light of what we think the other side thinks, but rather in light of what we ourselves think about our own side and why we hold to those things.

    Also, I did forget to mention, one thing that really made an impression on me was a study on the word “called” in the New Testament.

  24. Josh, you should really read this material on calling then. It might just turn you into an Arminian:

    http://evangelicalarminians.org/Abasciano-On-Calling

  25. Ben,

    Read the article. I would name (to be brief) two passages where his proposed understanding of called seems to be problematic. Matt 2:15 (referencing Hos 11) and 1 Cor 7 (the whole chapter). Also problematic is that many times called is followed by “to be.” In the gospels it is used both to name and to indicate a (and now I have to find a synonym since called’s meaning has been ‘called’ into question) beckoning with a voice. Relate this to God at creation calling into existence all that now is as alluded to in 2 Pet 2:9 (I thought the article was interesting on how it explained this verse). He also called the darkness night, a reference to naming. Naming is followed by the noun or name, beckoning is followed by a preposition before the noun. You can see that I disagreed with this article’s proposed “solution,” but I understand where he is coming from.

    This illustrates the futility of debating ideas before terms are carefully defined.

    Thanks for the article.

  26. Josh,

    I was the one who recommended the article, though I believe Ben agrees with it as well. That there are occurrences of “call” meaning “summoned” is not problematic for the article at all. It fully acknowledges that there are. The question is, what are the instances instances in which “calling” refers to Christians and appears to be effectual. The article makes a strong case that such instances carry a naming sense. It points out that we have certain such usage (and no certain summoning usages for the effectual Christian usage), and the effectual usage of Christians is considered technical terminology, which then suggests that the certain naming effectual Christian usages lead us to see the others similarly.

    Your objection to 1 Cor 7 does not make sense to me, and the article addresses those references. It is actually hard to see why a summoning meaning would make any more sense in that chapter. And while an accusative noun after naming is a sure give-away of the naming meaning, a preposition before the noun is not a sure give-away for the beckoning meaning since a preposition can surely accompany naming (why would it not be able to?) and naming can certainly be indicated to be done for a purpose. Also, the article pointed out that creation is better understood as God speaking/naming things into existence rather than summoning them, as if they were already in existence and just need to come to the beckoning. Rather, God speaks, he says let such and such be, and such and such comes to be. He says let there be light, and light becomes created.

    I’m glad you read the article. I think you may have been hasty in your criticisms, and hope you consider it more.

    God bless!

  27. “Your objection to 1 Cor 7 does not make sense to me, and the article addresses those references.”

    Sorry, verse 17 specifically.

    And about prepositions; it seems to me that when Jesus called the disciples/apostles it was a summoning and in looking at the other cases in light of the NT use of the word it seems that a naming sense places the name immediately before or after the vast majority of the time (including Rom 9:7); while the summoning sense places “to” or “into” or “to be” in between. And I would have a hard time reading it otherwise (I tried), but see why this guy would like to.

    Regarding creation. God said let there be light, and there was. It is a creative call when He calls in that sense (I would use 1 Pet 2:9 for example), for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. I suppose our differences arise when we look at election; corporate or individual? You would apply the idea of election to Christ, I apply it to individuals who were purchased and brought to faith by God “for the sake of Christ.”

    I enjoy gaining an understanding of the differences. Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

  28. Re: 1 Cor 7:17, the article addresses that, and points out that naming/appointment fits it better than summoning; the idea is that we are appointed to a life situation rather than summoned to it.

    Re: prepositions — Prepositions are not used that often with the summoning sense. It does not seem that “to be” is ever used with it (I searched for “call [and its variations] to be be” in the NASB and found no occurrences. It is used several times in the NIV, but “to be” is not in the Greek in those instances. Of course the name is going to appear in instances in which the naming sense is indisputable. But that does not address the instances in which “call” is used by itself without an explicit indication of whether it refers to naming or summoning. It can be either. Context and other factors have to guide in such instances. One can say “Who did you call (summon)?” or “Who did you call (name)?”

    Also, on Rom 9:7, which is a clear naming example, there is no “name” explicitly given. It says, “In Isaac your seed shall be called” (NKJ). “Seed” there is not being given as a name specifically, though it might perform that function practically. What are they being named/identified as? Seed, yes. But that is implied. The text actually says “your seed shall be called”. “Your seed” refers to who will be called, and it is implicit though obvious that this is also what they will be called.

    Re: creation — I am not sure how your comments address mine. We agree that the call is creative. My point (and the point the article makes) is that a creative call fits naming/designation better than summons. God creates ex nihilo by naming/designating what is to be, and it comes into existence. That makes more sense than saying he addresses something that does not exist and invites it to exist, and it then it comes into being.

    As for election, yes, I would definitely agree with corporate election, which also accounts for the election of individuals in the proper way, as part of the Church. Christ is the supreme Chosen One, and our election is in his. On corporate election, you might want to look at http://evangelicalarminians.org/A-Concise-Summary-of-the-Corporate-View-of-Election-and-Predestination as a primer, and then http://evangelicalarminians.org/Abasciano-Clearing-Up-Misconceptions-about-Corporate-Election , as well as looking at posts on election at this site.

    God bless!

  29. Re: this comment of mine: “1 Cor 7:17, the article addresses that, and points out that naming/appointment fits it better than summoning; the idea is that we are appointed to a life situation rather than summoned to it.”

    I should mention that it is not so much that it has to be either naming or summoning. There are times that it can be both. But the point is which idea is more basic and gives rise to the other if both are present. Naming to a position implies summoning to carry out the duties of that position. Summoning to a position may presuppose naming to that position at some point.

    Another point is that 1 Cor 7:17 is specifically an instance that is not the technical usage of calling, the effectual usage indicating Christian identity. Moreover, finding instances of a summoning sense doesn’t overturn the naming sense and the good fit it has for effectual calling, the naming of those who believe as God’s own children.

  30. Hello Nathan,

    Nathan I could not resist interacting with some things you have shared here. :-)

    But before I comment on what you shared, I need to make a point about my own experience of specifically evangelism. I was fortunate to have some very good mentors (who were both Calvinist and non-Calvinist) when it comes to evangelism. What we all agree on is that when someone converts to Christianity, they **must have experienced a powerful work of the Holy Spirit** in their life. It is the Spirit that convicts them of sin, shows them their need for forgiveness of sin, shows them the identity and work of Jesus, etc. Etc. Apart from this work of the Spirit they cannot become a Christian. I have been fortunate to have been involved in the conversion of many people and they all go through this experience of the Spirit working in them prior to their conversion.

    That being said, now with this work of the Spirit in mind consider your comments:

    “Also I cannot make sense of Prevenient Grace, which is said to return totally depraved people to being able to respond to God in faith. The difficulty being, in order to respond to God in faith (where faith is an actual total surrender), you need to be fully convicted that what you’re doing is wrong, fully done with your way of life, and longing for God.”

    And this place of being “fully convicted that what you’re doing is wrong, fully done with your way of life, etc.” doesn’t that come specifically from the work of the Spirit that I just mentioned? You need to substitute the words “the pre-conversion work of the Spirit” with “prevenient grace.”

    “And if that is where you’re at, it’s obvious God has drawn you, convicted you, and worked on your heart – and why would he stop working this good work? Hence irresistible grace makes much more sense.”

    Now this is where you make an error. You seem to assume there that if someone has in fact experience this pre-conversion work of the Spirit, then they will **always** become believers. But let me tell you, having been involved in lots of evangelism and having seen this work of the Spirit in action many times. Sometimes a person experiences this work and that hour or day they become Christians. Others experience this work of the Spirit over days, months, even years, and then they become Christians. There are also cases that I know personally where the person did in fact experience the work of the Spirit (so they know Jesus is the way, they know they are sinners, they know . . . all things that only the Spirit revealed to them) and yet THEY NEVER BECAME CHRISTIANS. That is what non-Calvinists call the resistance of the grace of God. It was obviously the undeserved grace of God (the work of the Spirit) directly aimed at them, and yet they have rejected it and remain non-believers. So your notion that all who experience this work of the Spirit will be saved is just not true. It does not fit observed actual experiences of people.

    “You must ask yourself the question here: what does it take for a person to respond to God?”

    It takes the preconversion work of the Spirit.

    “A man’s heart must be addressed, because it dearly desires sin, not God; a man’s emotions must be addressed, because they have great experiences of highs in their current lifestyle and have their hopes and friends in the world; a man’s conscience must be addressed, because it has been covered over and seared; a man’s mind must be addressed, because it has been deceived with many worldly and devilish ideas; a mans’ memory must be addressed, because often they have had bad experiences in the past with people who call themselves Christians.”

    And WHO is addressing all of these things before someone becomes a Christian?

    Again it is the Holy Spirit.

    “For the average person to come to God, a massive transformation must take place.”

    A transformation attributed to and performed only by the Holy Spirit.
    “ This is why I believe in a God who takes a very active role in the salvation of his people”

    Exactly and again that very active role is the preconversion work of the Spirit.

    “– we are hopelessly, desperately lost, and certainly in no position to respond to God in faith unless God works our whole being to a great extent”

    Again that is the preconversion work of the Spirit (what I and others call “prevenient grace” because it comes before the person is saved). Apart from this work of the Spirit “we are hopelessly, desperately lost, and certainly in no position to respond to God”.

    “ before we actually eventually surrender.”

    Wait a minute!

    Who “actually” and “eventually” must “surrender”?

    The sinner.

    And who makes that choice to surrender?

    Is it someone’s parents, their friends, the well meaning evangelist?

    Or is it God making the decision and taking over your body and mind and thoughts to make sure you make HIS DECISION???

    Or is it the individual sinner himself **after** having experienced the preconversion work of the Spirit?

    And that decision to trust the Lord alone to save you, to surrender to God and the realities that the Spirit shows you. Isn’t that FAITH?
    And doesn’t the scripture say that saving faith of this nature DOES NOT LEAD TO BOASTING?

    Robert

  31. Hello Eric,

    I think that you have a mistaken notion of what total depravity means. It does not mean that the sinner apart from Christ can do nothing . It does mean that sin has effected every aspect of our being so that we cannot come to Christ for salvation unless the Holy Spirit works powerfully in us prior to our choice to trust in Christ alone for salvation.
    You wrote:

    ““Why am I a Calvinist?”
    Reason 1. Because the Bible teaches it. If I could only cite a few texts, I would point to Ephesians 2 and others like it that talk about our spiritual condition (total depravity). We were dead. How can a dead person do anything? (and – a consistent arminian cannot claim to agree with TOTAL depravity because if it were total – then there would be nothing a dead sinner could do apart from God)”

    So a “dead sinner” cannot read a book or drive a car? They can do absolutely nothing, as John McEnroe would say: you can’t be serious!” :-)

    Last time I checked “dead sinners” all around us are quite capable of doing all sorts of things. You have probably even had conversations with them, I am guessing.

    Eric you also need to know that Arminians for example, believe that due to total depravity the sinner apart from the work of the Spirit in their life could not become a Christian.

    You continued with:

    “Ephesians 2:1-5
    1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—
    Something to think about: texts like Eph 2 and the story of Lazarus. Does not the same thing take place in all dead sinners when they become believers? If so, did Lazarus choose to be raised from the dead? If he did, could he have chosen otherwise when Jesus commanded him to come to life? (I would say at that time Lazarus didn’t have a choice to stay dead or come to life. He could only come to life in obedience to King Jesus!)
    John 11:43-44
    43When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.””

    I think you are making a mistake in your analogy with Lazarus.

    First of all, Lazarus was physically dead and so not capable of doing anything in this world in that dead condition. Spiritually dead sinners do all sorts of things in this world. Before you were saved, Eric, assuming you were not saved from birth: did you DO ANYTHING? If you did, then while a “dead sinner” you did some actions. So you were not like Lazarus at all.

    Second, Lazarus speaks of physical death, Paul in Ephesians 2 is speaking of spiritual death. Death means separation (e.g. the second death is eternal separation from God in hell). Spiritual death refers not to being incapable of doing any actions, but to being separated from God due to sin. And how do you become spiritually alive? AFTER experiencing the work of the Spirit, you choose to trust in Christ alone for your salvation. And when you trust God, God raises you up spiritually by entering into personal relationship with you, forgiving your sins based upon the work of Christ alone not anything that you did. We call this work of God where he raises us alive, makes us alive spiritually, regeneration. God alone regenerates: but he chooses to regenerate those who choose to trust Him alone for their salvation.

    Third dis-analogy concerning Lazarus: you asked: “Does not the same thing take place in all dead sinners when they become believers?”

    This is a critical difference you gloss over in your false analogy.
    Lazarus did nothing, he was dead and then next moment he was alive. Dead sinners in coming to Christ MUST repent of their sin and have a faith response to the gospel. NO faith response to the gospel means no salvation. For the dead sinner, while his faith in response to the work of the Spirit is not something that leads to boasting, and is not what actually saves him. It is a condition that is present and involved in the process of him/her coming to Christ and getting saved ( or he/she will not be saved). Lazarus went straight from death to life (physically), but dead sinners do not go straight from spiritual death to spiritual life and conversion to Christ (without the work of the Spirit which they CONSCIOUSLY respond to with repentance and faith). The differences between Lazarus coming to life and the dead sinner consciously experiencing the work of the Spirit and responding to Him are just too different for your analogy to work.

    Robert

  32. Thanks Robert for your thoughts.

    We seem to agree well about the Spirit working in a person before conversion. This is good.

    My main point was that Arminians seem to say that prevenient (pre-conversion) grace is common to [b]everyone[/b]. Now if you believe this grace is this massive, overwhelming work of the SPirit to convict, draw, call, work upon a persons heart, change motivations, woo to God, etc. etc. and it happens to all people, my point is: how can a lowly man (or woman) resist this?

    You say you’ve observed this resistance: I’d say that’s dubious. But before you counteract that, is it not so much more obvious that countless more *Do Not Experience Any Of The Spirit’s Work At All*? They laugh and scoff and move on, rolling their eyes and not paying any attention to your efforts.

    And yet, it is the Arminians position to say that _everyone_ experiences this pre-conversion grace. Well, evidently not everyone is convicted that their sins are wrong; not everyone is looking at God longingly, as their hearts are changed and warmed towards Him; not everyone comes to hate their sin; not everyone comes to open their ears towards God. In other words, not everyone experiences prevenient grace.

    Another point here that I think is important to include: essentially God is wooing people to Himself in the conversion process. Do Arminians think honestly that God is not the master of this and is unable to woo many people over to Himself? He can show you how sinful you are, how wretched you are, he can reveal how great He is, how wonderful and caring he is, how mighty he is, how lowly you are, how bankrupt your ideas and philosophies are: and yet you can still resist Him? If God really wanted to marry/adopt (whatever metaphor you like) someone, do you really think anyone can stand against Him?

    As to a person’s individual decision to surrender to God being their faith, yes it is (except that God even gave you your faith – remember previously you only had faith in yourself/other gods/addictions/sin). And that does not lead to boasting, correct. It is a misunderstanding of Calvinism to think that God takes “over your body and mind and thoughts to make sure you make HIS DECISION”. You make your decision without compulsion, and yet, God directs this by working on your heart to make you love Him and hate sin.

  33. I slowly moved to the Calvinist view because, after reading thousands of pages of theology since the late 1970s (which is when I was a student at a Baptist Bible college, and was first introduced to the subject), I am convinced that Calvinism does the best job of exegeting relevant passages such as John 6:26-65; while Arminian theologians force certain philosophical ideas about fairness and free-will into those same passages. The Arminian literature I read — which would include John Wesley’s essays, John Fletcher’s Checks To Antinomianism, Miley’s systematics, Thomas Oden, Robert C. Picirelli, F. Leroy Forlines,George Bruson, Lawrence Vance, Roger Olson, Norman Geisler — all quote the same small number of texts (John 3:16, Ezekiel 18, 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2 2:1-4) as if these passages somehow empty out all the spiritual inability/divine sovereignty passages of their meanings; then all fail to exegete the inability/sovereignty passages competently.

  34. Hello Nathan,

    “We seem to agree well about the Spirit working in a person before conversion. This is good.”

    That was one of my points, one of the points where orthodox believers will agree: no work of the Spirit before conversion means no chance of a conversion.

    “My main point was that Arminians seem to say that prevenient (pre-conversion) grace is common to [b]everyone[/b].”

    Do you mean all at once?

    If so, I have never seen that myself and do not believe that. For example, I will speak to a few hundred people at one time and one will be convicted during the message and one will be convicted after the message, so it does not appear that it happened to all of them all at once. This is why the work of the Spirit is likened by Jesus himself in John 3 to the wind, it comes and goes, you know its presence but don’t know when it comes.

    “ Now if you believe this grace is this massive, overwhelming work of the SPirit to convict, draw, call, work upon a persons heart, change motivations, woo to God, etc. etc. and it happens to all people, my point is: how can a lowly man (or woman) resist this?”

    Most of us know that God’s efforts are resistible. From our own experience prior to conversion (some of us may even remember that at times before we were saved we knew that Christianity was true and yet we did not immediately bow the knee to Jesus, at that point we were unsaved and yet still resisting) and our own experience **after conversion** (every Christian if honest will admit times when we knew that God wanted us to do something and yet we said No, we resisted, and God did not force us to be obedient). In scripture we also have clear cases where people resist God (see Israel in virtually the entire Old Testament; see the Pharisees in the New Testament).

    “You say you’ve observed this resistance: I’d say that’s dubious.”

    One of the things that I do with new converts to the faith is that I make sure they are discipled. And in this process if you ask folks after their conversion to talk about their conversion experience, some of them will tell you they knew Christianity was true, and knew it for days, months, years, and kept resisting it before they finally became Christians. This is not “dubious” this is fact.

    “ But before you counteract that, is it not so much more obvious that countless more *Do Not Experience Any Of The Spirit’s Work At All*? They laugh and scoff and move on, rolling their eyes and not paying any attention to your efforts.”

    You just proved my point, that initially all appear to resist the work of the Spirit. Again talk to people about their conversion experiences and you will find that for many it was all ridiculous at first. Some eventually stop resisting, some never do. But they do in fact resist throughout the process, that is just an undeniable fact. And scripture says that the Spirit convicts the world, and yet not all of the world becomes saved. So many from that world experience the work of the Spirit and resist.

    “And yet, it is the Arminians position to say that _everyone_ experiences this pre-conversion grace. Well, evidently not everyone is convicted that their sins are wrong; not everyone is looking at God longingly, as their hearts are changed and warmed towards Him; not everyone comes to hate their sin; not everyone comes to open their ears towards God. In other words, not everyone experiences prevenient grace.”

    Not all at the same time and in the same way. The Spirit who is God is sovereign, right? :-)

    “Another point here that I think is important to include: essentially God is wooing people to Himself in the conversion process. Do Arminians think honestly that God is not the master of this and is unable to woo many people over to Himself?”

    You are neglecting something very important here. God did not make us into robots or puppets whose minds and wills are controlled by Him and so easily manipulated. No, he made us in His image and capable of our own choices and thinking and hence our own resistance and rebelling. Puppets do not rebel against their maker the puppet master: people on the other hand **do resist** their maker (e.g. Romans 1 where they knew truth about God because God himself showed them truth about Himself and yet they resisted and so God gave them over to various sins).

    God does not coerce us into believing. He speaks to us in different ways and all the while we remain persons not puppets. It is similar to a young man trying to court a young woman. No matter how nice he is, and no matter how nice he is to her, she still has to decide for herself whether or not she will marry him.

    Or do you think that we have no control over whom we marry?

    If that were true then the biblical admonition not to marry unbelievers would make no sense as we would have no choice in the matter (cf. if God predestined all events, then God if He predestines us to marry an unbeliever then we will do so and cannot do otherwise, we have to do so).

    “ He can show you how sinful you are, how wretched you are, he can reveal how great He is, how wonderful and caring he is, how mighty he is, how lowly you are, how bankrupt your ideas and philosophies are: and yet you can still resist Him?”

    Yes, again I have seen it and talked to lots of people who have resisted God and they know it.

    “If God really wanted to marry/adopt (whatever metaphor you like) someone, do you really think anyone can stand against Him?”

    Yes if he leaves the decision to the person.

    If he controlled them like a puppet then no one could ever resist Him or His offer of salvation.

    Nathan do you believe that God created us to be like puppets and that God controls us like a puppet master controls his puppets?

    If he treats them as genuine persons who make their own decisions, then Yes they can and do resist.

    Nathan do you believe that God in creating us in His image created us as genuine persons who make their own decisions?

    Nathan you also seem to be operating under the false assumption that God is always operating at full power when he relates to us. That he just overpowers us every time and so no one stands against him or resists him in anyway. If God really operated at full power every time, then we would all be destroyed in an instant. God is so much more powerful than us, unless he leaves some space for us to be genuine persons we would be swallowed up and **we** wouldn’t even exist (the universe would be just one giant sock puppet with God moving through the sock puppet to direct things).
    Nathan, do you really believe that God is a divine puppet master and we are just puppets with no mind or will of our own?

    “As to a person’s individual decision to surrender to God being their faith, yes it is (except that God even gave you your faith – remember previously you only had faith in yourself/other gods/addictions/sin). And that does not lead to boasting, correct.”

    Good to see that we agree here.

    “ It is a misunderstanding of Calvinism to think that God takes “over your body and mind and thoughts to make sure you make HIS DECISION”.”

    If God predestines every event: decides beforehand how every event will occur, and then controls us to ensure that those predecided events occur exactly as planned: then how is that different from God taking over our body and mind and thoughts to make sure we make his decision? If he predestines every event including our thoughts, our decisions, our beliefs, our desires, every mental event that occurs in our mind, etc. etc. Then how is THAT different than controlling our body, mind and thoughts?

    “You make your decision without compulsion,”

    Who makes the decision?

    You said it yourself: **you** do. But if **you** make the decision to trust “without compulsion”, without being forced into it, then **you** also could choose otherwise and reject. Or do you believe that our decision is a “choice less choice”?

    “and yet, God directs this by working on your heart to make you love Him and hate sin.”

    And this “working in your heart” does it necessitate your actions or enable them?

    We are believers and presumably God is working in our hearts to lead us to be obedient to Him and loving of Him and others, does that mean we never sin anymore?

    And if we, as believers, sin, wasn’t that a choice on our part freely made to resist Him?

    Or do you believe that God predestines that we sin against him as believers?

    That God controls believers so that we have to sin and be disobedient to Him?

    Robert

  35. Robert, I’m going to try and stick to the main point here, and not go off track talking about predestination (important as that is to nut out).

    When I talk about prevenient grace common to everyone, what I mean is that in the definition of prevenient grace, there is this conception that everyone is brought to a place where they can choose to accept or reject God, of their own will, without God overriding their will in some manner.

    I am not talking about general sinful behaviour, but the particular case of conversion, where a person is at the point where they are able to choose God. God has not set out to make Christians perfect instantaneously, so if we sin, we are not talking about ‘resistance’. Same with non-Christians, if they sin, this is not the same thing as ‘resisting’ God’s wooing.

    Incidentally, it does seem odd to argue that converts ‘resisted’ God, and yet in the end actually surrendered to God. It would seem that God indeed won them over.

    “God does not coerce us into believing…It is similar to a young man trying to court a young woman”

    You are using the exact metaphor against me that I just used! Yes, “it is similar to a young man trying to court a young woman…” Except, this is God, and He is too beautiful, too manly, too intelligent, too loving, too caring, too strong, for us to resist choosing Him.

    “Yes, again I have seen it and talked to lots of people who have resisted God and they know it.”

    Again, I think you need to check what your definition of resisting God is. We are talking about the particular case of God wooing people to Himself. Of course this can take a long time, everyone is different, and God has his different ways of teaching us what He wants to teach us.

    It is most natural to throw up questions when convicted, which you might interpret as resistance, but in actual fact, it is God coming up against our resistance, working to undo it. If God is doing this, he is preparing us for an eventual surrender to Him. My question is: why would he stop – wouldn’t he have calculated what it would take to win you over, and done it? Also, once your resistance is broken down and you are thus at this point where you would seriously choose God, how could you just turn away? All the resistance has been weeded out. God has revealed himself to you and worked on your heart to show you that he’s the way the truth and the life. What reason left do you have to continue to resist Him?

    To sum this up: At the point that you’re ready to ‘freely’ choose God, your defences by definition have been broken (otherwise you would not freely choose God, but be blocked by your questions/ understanding/ experiences/ heart’s desires etc.), but if your defences have been broken (such as why do I need God? why is Jesus the _only_ way? what’s wrong with my life? heart’s desire toward sin; bad experiences etc.), how can you just reject God at this point?

    In other words, there is no neutral position. You will always either love sin, or hate sin. You will always serve just one master, not two. You will always either love God, or hate/be indifferent towards God. But there is no middle ground where you somehow make a ‘free’ decision to stay in sin, or embrace Jesus. You can’t equally like both sin and God at the same time (and, at any given moment, you’ll always do what you desire the most).

    ============

    Re puppets: I’ll just leave this discussion to another time. It’s a valid question, and I’d love to get into it, but it’s not why I lean towards Calvinism – the above is.

  36. Except, this is God, and He is too beautiful, too manly, too intelligent, too loving, too caring, too strong, for us to resist choosing Him.
    Yet Lucifer and the fallen angels, and our first parents (created without a sin nature) DID resist/rebel against God.

    You will always either love sin, or hate sin. You will always serve just one master, not two. You will always either love God, or hate/be indifferent towards God. But there is no middle ground where you somehow make a ‘free’ decision to stay in sin, or embrace Jesus. You can’t equally like both sin and God at the same time (and, at any given moment, you’ll always do what you desire the most).

    Then why do regenerated Christians sin?

  37. Yet Lucifer and the fallen angels, and our first parents (created without a sin nature) DID resist/rebel against God.
    That’s a question for all of us, I think. But to answer the question, if these things didn’t happen, none of anything else would have happened. But I don’t know how God directed these things, and we can only hypothesise what life would have been like then without the curse, or how angels/fallen angels are like.

    Then why do regenerated Christians sin?
    I’ve never said anything about sinless perfection. As a Christian there are times when sin’s temptations are very appealing to us. But in our specific application here of getting saved, you’re not going to surrender your life over to Jesus unless and until you’re completely finished with your life of sin.
    In other words, you can serve a master in an overall capacity but yet stuff up here and there.

  38. That’s a question for all of us, I think. But to answer the question, if these things didn’t happen, none of anything else would have happened. But I don’t know how God directed these things, and we can only hypothesise what life would have been like then without the curse, or how angels/fallen angels are like.

    The point is you mentioned that God is too beautiful (etc) to resist choosing–yet, at the beginning, Lucifer and the angels that fell resisted/rebelled against God; and our first parents did likewise. Now neither angels or our first parents were created with a tendency to sin; yet they rebelled against God.

    Regarding my question, “why do regenerated Christians sin?” –which I posted after you had said “You can’t equally like both sin and God at the same time (and, at any given moment, you’ll always do what you desire the most)–you replied:

    “I’ve never said anything about sinless perfection. As a Christian there are times when sin’s temptations are very appealing to us.”</i?

    and

    I’ve never said anything about sinless perfection. As a Christian there are times when sin’s temptations are very appealing to us.

    How does that jive with what you said we will “always do what we desire the most” at a given moment? If God wills our sanctification, and if he promised to provide a way of escape when tempted (1 Cor 10:13), why do Christians sin? If you reply, because at the moment of temptation the Christian is always going to do what he desires the most, then God did NOT actually provide a way of escape since He would have provided at a moment of temptation a stronger desire not to sin–if He had the Christian would have followed the stronger desire (God provided) NOT to sin. If that’s the case, Paul wasn’t speaking truthfully in stating that God is faithful to provide a way of escape, since if we always choose the stronger desire, in order for there to be a REAL means of escape from the temptation, God would have given the stronger desire to resist temptation (or else we could NEVER resist it, if we “ALWAYS follow the stronger desire”).

    On the other hand, if God does give the stronger desire, and we (as you assert) “ALWAYS follow the stronger desire” then regenerated Christians should NEVER sin if both (a) Paul is speaking the truth here; and (b) your premise is correct. But we know that is not the case so either (a) and/or (b) are incorrect–both cannot be correct at the same time. I submit (b), the premise we always do according the strongest desire, is incorrect.

    For further support for my conclusion, I go back to the beginning: if one always invariably did according to his strongest desire, then whence came the desire for Lucifer and our first parents to disobey God? And what would your answer suggest about God’s culpability in the creature’s sin?

  39. ^ I hope jack brooks is reading the Nathan and D.Thomas discussion since it somewhat answers and shows the Consistency of how Arminianism exegetes john 6 compared to the whole scriptures.

  40. I think you make good points DT, and this particular point of mine that we always do what we desire the most was not my main point, nor a very strong one.

    I’ll concede that one, but re-stress my main point which remains unanswered:

    How can a person get to that point where they are able to choose God (i.e. they are convicted of their sin that is wrong and they need to stop it, they are done with their life of sin, they realise they desperately need a Saviour, and they have been actively wooed by God to Himself) and then turn away?

    If God has gone to great lengths to woo them to himself (just as a young man will woo and young women to himself – but God is much more skilful and loving and caring etc.), how can you resist him? What makes you able to say “no” to Almighty God who desires to save you, after doing all that he does?

  41. Nathan,
    I don’t think you have a point, considering that Adam and Eve turned from as good a situation as you’ve described the wooed to have, and in fact a better one.

  42. All need to understand, what you are about to read was taken from comments I had made concerning another post. This will explain why it may seem to start out abruptly, and also explain why somethings, seem to come out of now where. At any rate I would love to hear some feed back.

    I would like all to know that I have come to my position by what I believe to be careful and pray full study of God’s word. It is also my belief and hope that all here, have reached their position in the same exact way. Therefore I continue to struggle, not only with my brothers and sisters, but also myself.
    Again, let me apologize for the length here, but please allow me to make one last point. I have stated a number of times that I do not refer to myself as a Calvinist. I also do not believe I will ever consider myself Lutheran, Wesleyan, or place myself in any other camp, besides, Christian. If I were pushed into a corner the most I would say is that I am reformed, in that I believe in the cause of the reformation, and also hold to a good portion of what the reformers taught. The reason I would not put myself in any of these other camps, is because, I believe once you do this, you have painted yourself into a corner. Therefore, it would seem to me that you would no longer be in the position to search for truth, but rather be in the position, to only defend your position

    I would also like to pose the same question to Armenians that have here, been posed to Calvinists, if it has not already been posed by someone else. If it has been asked already then please direct me to the response. In other words,

    What would it take to convince you that Armenianism is false or unbiblical? (are you even open to the possibility that you may be wrong about Armenianism )

  43. I would like all to know that I have come to my position by what I believe to be careful and pray full study of God’s word. It is also my belief and hope that all here, have reached their position in the same exact way. Therefore I continue to struggle, not only with my brothers and sisters, but also myself.

    That’s great. We all need to do that.

    Again, let me apologize for the length here, but please allow me to make one last point. I have stated a number of times that I do not refer to myself as a Calvinist. I also do not believe I will ever consider myself Lutheran, Wesleyan, or place myself in any other camp, besides, Christian. If I were pushed into a corner the most I would say is that I am reformed, in that I believe in the cause of the reformation, and also hold to a good portion of what the reformers taught. The reason I would not put myself in any of these other camps, is because, I believe once you do this, you have painted yourself into a corner.

    Well, as you point out here some labels are broader than others. Many who are reformed would have a real problem with you saying you are not a Calvinist. Like you say, you hold to a good portion of what the reformers taught. Likewise, Calvinists hold to a great deal of what Calvin taught. Arminians hold to a good deal of what Arminius taught. That doesn’t mean we hold to every single thing that was taught by any of them (e.g., I hold that election is not based on foreknowledge as Arminius believed). I also think we should not be afraid of labels if the label, as you say, essentially encompasses what we believe. It is simply an easy referent for our basic beliefs.

    The reason I would not put myself in any of these other camps, is because, I believe once you do this, you have painted yourself into a corner. Therefore, it would seem to me that you would no longer be in the position to search for truth, but rather be in the position, to only defend your position.

    I don’t see why that should be the case at all. Aligning with a certain theological view point does mean you can never change your mind. If you look at the page here called “X-Calvinist Corner” https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/x-calvinist-corner/, you will see many who used to wear the label “Calvinist” who no longer hold to Calvinism. Likewise, I used to hold to dispensationalism and pre-trib rapture, but I don’t anymore.

    I would also like to pose the same question to Armenians that have here, been posed to Calvinists, if it has not already been posed by someone else. If it has been asked already then please direct me to the response. In other words,

    What would it take to convince you that Armenianism is false or unbiblical? (are you even open to the possibility that you may be wrong about Armenianism.

    First, while you may not like labels, you really need to be careful to get those labels right when speaking of them. Armenians are people from Armenia. Arminians are those who generally hold to the teachings of Arminius (primarily those who, like him, reject irresistible grace, unconditional election, and exhaustive divine determinism).

    Second, yes I do personally keep myself open to the possibility that I may be wrong, though I am honest enough to admit that I do hold my convictions very strongly at this point (as you seem to as well based on your interactions in other threads here). I actually hope to do a post soon in which I spell out very carefully why I personally hold to Arminianism and what it would take to convince me that I was wrong about what I presently believe.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  44. slw, you are comparing apples with oranges – different category. People after Jesus now have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, and we are cleansed and worked on in our hearts in a totally different way than before Jesus (which would include Adam & Eve – and perhaps they were in even a third category altogether).

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