Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Calvinism, Arminianism, Calminianism

A more edifying post is right below this one if you don’t like this subject…

I want to make sure I have my facts straight. Arminianism comes from the The Five Articles of the Remonstrants (Holland, 1610). The Five Points of Calvinism were sort of reactionary. (Dort, 1618) What I mean is that the Arminian points were refuted tit-for-tat in the Calvinist 5 points. I do realize that Calvinistic theology was around before this, but the whole 5 point model was set up by the Arminians. (Correct me if I’m wrong)

Also – It was hard for me to locate the original wording of these points without fear that they had been re-interpreted by someone. So, if any reader has a more orginal rendering of any point, send it my way and I will fix this post.

Arminian Article #1: Free Will/Partial Depravity
Freedom of will is man's natural state, not a spiritual gift - and thus free will was not lost in the Fall, but cannot be exercised toward good apart from the grace of God. Grace works upon all men to influence them for good, but only those who freely choose to agree with grace by faith and repentance are given new spiritual power to make effectual the good they otherwise impotently intend.

T Calvinist Article #1: Total Depravity (or Total Inability)
As a consequence of the Fall of man, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin. According to the view, people are not by nature inclined to love God with their whole heart, mind, or strength, but rather all are inclined to serve their own interests over those of their neighbor and to reject the rule of God. Thus, all people by their own faculties are unable to choose to follow God and be saved.

Arminian Article #2: Conditional Election
God elects men on the basis of foreseen faith which is exercised by libertarian free will, thus making man ultimately decisive. God has decreed to save through Jesus Christ, out of fallen and sinful mankind, those foreknown by Him who through the grace of the Holy Spirit believe in Christ; but God leaves in sin those foreseen, who are incorrigible and unbelieving.

U Calvinist Article #2: Unconditional Election
God's choice from eternity of those whom he will bring to himself is not based on foreseen virtue, merit, or faith in those people. Rather, it is unconditionally grounded in God's mercy.

Arminian Article #3: Universal Atonement Applicable Only to the Believer
Christ's death was suffered on behalf of all men and benefits all men alike. God then elects for salvation those whom he foresees will believe in Christ of their own free will.
Whatever the atonement accomplished, it did so universally for all alike, the atonement has no component which is decisive or effectual in gathering of the elect. Rather, the atonement is seen as a universally effective propitiation and the basis for a universal offer of salvation.

L Calvinist Article #3: Limited Atonement (or Particular Redemption)
The death of Christ actually takes away the penalty of sins of those on whom God has chosen to have mercy. It is "limited" to taking away the sins of the elect, not of all humanity, and it is "definite" and "particular" because atonement is certain for those particular persons.

Arminian Article #4: Resistible Grace
This point holds that God never overcomes the resistance of man to His saving grace. This resistance is never conquered by God because this would be a violation of man's libertarian free will. The grace of God works for good in all men, and brings about newness of life through faith. But saving grace can be resisted, even by the regenerate.

I Calvinist Article #4: Irresistible Grace
The saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save (the elect) and, in God's timing, overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing them to a saving faith in Christ.

Arminian Article #5: Uncertain Perseverance
Those who are incorporated into Christ by a true faith have power given them through the assisting grace of the Holy Spirit, sufficient to enable them to persevere in the faith. But it may be possible for a believer to fall from grace.

P Calvinist Article #5: Perseverance of the Saints
Any person who has once been truly saved from damnation must necessarily persevere and cannot later be condemned. The word saints is used in the sense in which it is used in the Bible to refer to all who are set apart by God, not in the technical sense of one who is exceptionally holy, canonized, or in heaven.

Now, some say that you must embrace one or the other of these theological systems. However, I have read scripturally agreeable statements in writings about both of these systems, and scripturally disagreeable. In other words, based on the knowledge of the Word that I have, I agree with a little of both … and on some points, I can’t accept either the Calvinist or the Arminian point of view! Maybe that means I am inconsistent. Hmmm…. I will just deal with each one, one at a time, and work my way through them. Your help in the comments will be appreciated.

20 Comments:

  • Wow Rose! You've hit exactly on where I've been struggling for months now and then your last paragraph I could have written verbatim. It's nice to know that I'm not floating along on this boat alone :)

    By Anonymous mas, at 11/14/2005 2:23 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Here are the five points of Arminianism, fromm a book called The Dive Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, Documented

    1). God elects or reproves on the basis of foreseen faith or unbelief.

    2). Christ died for all men and for every man, although only believers are saved.

    3). Man is so depraved that divine grace is necessary unto faith for any good deed.

    4). This grace may be resisted.

    5). Whether all who are truly regenerate will certainly persevere in the faith is a point which needs further investigation.

    (the fifth article was later altered so as to definitely teach the possibility of the truly regenerate believer's losing his faith and thus losing his salvation).

    In the form of acutal points, the Book compares Arminianism to Calvinism as follows:

    1. Free Will or Human Ability /
    Ttotal Inability or Total Depravity

    2. Conditional Election /
    Unconditional Election

    3. Universal Redemption or General Atonement /
    Particular Redemption or Limited Atonement

    4. The Holy Spirit can be Effectually Resisted /
    The Efficacious Call of the Spirit or Irresistible Grace

    5. Falling From Grace /
    Perseverance of the Saints

    Haven't read the rest of your article yet, but wanted to put these points before I got into something else.

    By Blogger loren, at 11/14/2005 2:44 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I see your point entirely. Both sets of statements contain truths and also errors!

    The trouble is, there has been such an historical battle of opinions between the two camps that it has firmly entrenched them now. Anyone suggesting another, honest look would be viewed with deep suspicion by both sides -- at least initially.

    The only way forward is to appeal to an even higher loyalty from each group. Look for the testimony of Jesus as the focal point of this discussion, and all true Christians will eventually be drawn to Him.

    Even so, it still won't be easy at first. "The old wine is better."

    By Blogger loren, at 11/14/2005 3:03 PM  

  • Rose it must be the day that we define ourself.. I just wrote today on my blog that I'm nether and we need to look at both. Arminisanism or Calvinism how about Jesusism.
    Great Piece

    By Blogger forgiven, at 11/14/2005 5:16 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/14/2005 5:36 PM  

  • Rose~
    What a great post! I can tell you are putting time and effort into working out your own salvation and thinking about what you have in Christ. Through God's Word and by His illumination, I am confident that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it in you...

    brother John

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 11/14/2005 6:05 PM  

  • Let's try not to jump ahead anybody. Let's go one point at a time and reason through this thing systematically. Of course, we can overlap a bit. But let's not try to cover the whole thing at once...for me, please?

    On this post, we are not analyzing the points, but just stating what they actually say. Thanks!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/14/2005 6:19 PM  

  • forgiven,
    "Jesusism"? I kinda like that.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/14/2005 6:20 PM  

  • >Even so, it still won't be easy at first. "The old wine is better." <

    How true!

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 11/14/2005 7:14 PM  

  • Rose,

    You are very fair in your presenting both sides. However, the real debate will take place when we actually delve into the very scriptures that were considered in the formulation of these positions,i.e. the remonstrans and the Synod of Dort.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 11/15/2005 7:43 AM  

  • mas,
    we float together!

    Loren,
    Thanks for listing those. I guess what is on my post is the same only a little more detailed. As to your comment about the way the debate has shaped the thinking of Christendom, what a shame.

    Bhedr and bluecollar,
    I'm looking forward to your kind contributions!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/15/2005 9:17 AM  

  • Please also pay attention to that concept of God responding to "forseen faith". Though many do not want to be called Arminians it is interesting that this concept is at very heart of their belief system none the less.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 11/15/2005 10:15 AM  

  • Yes, I think the issue of foreseen faith is a key dividing line between people who are Arminian (including some of those who prefer to be called moderate Calvinists and some of those who hate being labelled) and Calvinists.

    I will come clear and say I hold that God foresees the faith of the elect and they are predestined on that basis.

    Every Blessing in Christ
    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/15/2005 10:31 AM  

  • Rose,
    In fact I would say that the whole debate as it unfolds will hinge on what side of this issue(foreseen faith)one comes down on. To my knowledge there is no third position-just the two. That is why the Calvinist cannot fathom there being a middle ground

    With Much Respect,
    Mark

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 11/15/2005 11:53 AM  

  • Are you ready to see some sparks, Rose~?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/15/2005 12:00 PM  

  • Matthew, almost...I'm working on the first post "Total Depravity" right now. Hopefully it will be up sometime today.

    Mark, I don't think the whole thing hinges on the "foreseen faith" issue. You'll see why, but not until the "Unconditional Election" post.

    Just play nice and help me see your points of view logically.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/15/2005 12:05 PM  

  • The problem with TULIP is that these are very brief summaries of some things that define Calvinism. The history is correct, the response was made by the Synod of Dort, which you can read in the Canons of Dort, http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/canons_of_dordt.html

    I always suggest going to the orginal documents setting the case, of the official documents of Calvinist groups, such as the Canons of Dort, or the Westminster Confession of Faith. These offer a more complete picture of Calvinism.

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/15/2005 2:26 PM  

  • With Earl coming on board, I doubt too many sparks will fly.

    I really must take his advise about the creedal statments next time I post on Calvinism.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/15/2005 2:31 PM  

  • Blue Collar,

    there is a at least another position

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/15/2005 7:08 PM  

  • Hi rose,
    I struggled with these two doctrines for some time and eventually found myself in the "biblical balance". But then when I walked away from examining the doctrines and placed myself in an enviroment that only allowed the Word to permeate my mind with no preconceived ideas, I have descovered that the scriptures support, teach and establish calvinism all the way. In doing so they refute and challenge every point of Arminianism. If you ever want to chat I'd love to. At the end of the day we should never divide over it but reather have fun digging!

    By Blogger Moxi, at 11/16/2005 9:14 PM  

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