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Thread: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

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    Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    I rarely dive into the Calvinist vs Arminianist threads.

    I think I will start one today, to get some honest opinions of those who do enjoy this discussion topic and might have some interesting feedback.

    First, my background.
    Raised in Tennessee attending mostly either Southern Baptist or Missionary Baptist churches. (country or suburban, not inner-city nor urban)
    Raised 67-92 going to 1 SBC(childhood) and 1 MB church(visiting grandparents), from 93-95 a different town SBC church, and from 95-present my current SBC church; so pretty stably attended 4 churches, mostly 2 for the length of my life.

    My wife was raised Church of Christ, but we are members of a SBC church and she has been since the early 90s.

    I have attended on different occassions with friends over my life, RCC, Lutheran, Methodist, Weslyan, CoG, Presbyterian, Primitive Baptist, Free Will Baptist, Double Baptist, Pentecostal, and probably a handful of other flavors I cannot remember right now; so I have been around the block a little bit as far as exposure.

    On to the topic at hand.

    Thought 1:

    I usually think of the Calvinists vs Arminian debate as interchangeable with the doctrine of "OSAS(Calvin-Elect-secure) vs nOSAS(fall from grace, not secure)'.
    Is that a fallacy, or is that pretty much interchangeable?


    Thought 2:

    I tend to not agree with all the points of Tulip; however, I do believe that I believe in the idea of OSAS; but not the stereotyped version of 'Easy-Believism' or 'say the sinners pray and live like the devil', or 'get out of hell free card' OSAS-ism.

    I tend to believe it is more sound scripturally the nOSAS because of the verses that tell me that when Jesus saves us, He changes us. He metamorphosizes us into new men. new creations. new bottles. His work not ours, and His preservation not ours.

    I have difficulty with the idea of anyone 'falling from grace' or 'being a true Christian' and being able to reject it and turn from it.

    Basically I kinda think of it like a caterpillar (the old, mortal, sinful, dead man); and the butterfly (the regenerated, metamorphisized, changed, new creation man).

    Christ did all of the work, did the change, and the butterfly can not ever will itself back to being a caterpillar....God has forever changed it's nature. I would go as far to say that a butterfly would never even want to, or consider the idea of rejecting it's new nature, and turning away to it's old self.

    I would answer those who claim to be Christians who say they reject Christ, reject the bible, and turned away to athieism, Islam, whatever...were never Christians to begin with. They might have been raised in a Christian environment with knowlege and exposure; but they never repented and truly believed and turned their life and being over to Christ, and He never changed them to be like Him in the first place. They were fooling themselves.

    From how I understand it, a true born-again Christian can never turn away or reject Christ once He has changed them into a new Creation in Himself and quickened their dead spirit with His Holy Spirit of everlasting life.

    So......have at it.

    What do yall think about my understanding, or lack of understanding, on this topic?

    Any particular things I should consider further; verses; concepts?

    I look forward to seeing the replies.

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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    I rarely delve into these debates anymore just because they never seem to bear any good fruit. When's the last time someone saw anyone say "Yeah you're right! That T.U.L.I.P. is beautiful!" or
    "T.U.L.I.P.s stink and Calvin was a loon! That's it. Arminius is my hero!"

    Nope, they only seem to cause people to dig their heels in further than ever before and you see a lot of folks talking -at- each other instead of -with- each other.

    I think though it would be fair to point out what Calvinism actually is and, hey, Calvinists have given us a nice little acronym to sum it up.

    T.U.L.I.P.

    What's it stand for?

    T stands for total depravity
    U for unconditional election
    L for limited atonement
    I for irresistible grace
    P for perseverance of the saints.

    I find myself...like the majority I think....wavering between being in agreement with 3 or a 4 points at any given time.

    Total depravity? Yep. I agree...with a caveat. See below.
    Unconditional election? Er....kinda sorta...er...maybe...yes...maybe?
    Limited atonement? Plenty of people have made some incredibly well thought out arguments for this based upon Scripture as they see it but....nope. I don't agree with them and think that Unlimited Atonement is the correct doctrine that Scripture reveals.
    Irresistible grace.....er....yeah this is one I struggle with quite a bit. Sometimes I think it's the correct doctrine and sometimes I don't. This is a really tough one for me. Really tough.
    Perseverance of the saints. Nope. I think that this is an unbiblical doctrine and potentially dangerous depending on the individual.

    OK. So what is about Arminius? What did he have to say?

    Partial depravity. Basically says every aspect of humanity is tainted by sin, but not so much that human beings are unable to place faith in God of their own accord....Nope! That's not I see Scripture saying. That's "New Think" Arminianism and I don't agree with it one bit. It's unbiblical.
    Ahh, but! Classical Arminianism rejects partial depravity and is much closer to Total depravity. Old school Arminianism basically says that men are in an intermediate state between total depravity and salvation and that it is grace that keeps them from being totally lost and irredeemable. They say that it grace that draws men to God and then they can choose to believe/have faith and accept God's free gift of salvation. Hmmm...that I could go with. Partial depravity? No.
    I think this one is half right and total depravity is close but not perfect.

    Conditional election. This is saying that God God elects individuals to salvation based on His foreknowledge of who will believe in Christ and He knew who would and wouldn't before He even created the world etc etc. Basically reinforcing that idea/doctrine that man has been given freewill to choose to obey and worship God/become born again or not.
    Sounds right to me and what I'm seeing when I read the Bible.

    Unlimited Atonement. Yep! ...er...wait a sec

    Limited vs Unlimited is one the most highly debated and controversial doctrines among Protestants.
    Limited Atonement basically says that Jesus only died for a elect few and the rest were created to be judged unworthy before they were even born.
    Unlimited atonement basically says that Jesus died for all but that His death and resurrection etc are not effectual for an individual unless/until a person receives Him by faith through grace.

    What do you think?

    Resistible grace God calls to all ( to salvation) but many people resist this and reject Him. Yep! I absolutely agree....except when I don't. Like I already said this is a tough one to pin down and call using Scripture.Mostly I agree with this. Depends on the day and how much time I've spent looking at a lot of Scripture in context and being focused just upon this. If I absolutely had to, had to, had to agree or disagree one time for all time....yes. I agree...I think. The good thing is I don't have to make a decision on it right this second.

    Conditional salvation.
    I hate that term. I'll just say that I'm as far from the OSAS camp as you can get.

    And....yeah that's enough rambling from me in one post. But hey, you asked!

    Edit to say: I've had to edit this thing about 15 times. I guess I'm way out of practice.
    “For it has never yet been known to fail that one fool, when he goes astray, takes several others with him.”

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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    Thanks for the personal testimony; it gives perspective.

    So how do you review (for lack of a better term) my post and my perspective?
    Do you see any looniness in where I think I might be?

    ( I did like how you waver on some of your points, changing your mind, not being sure....considering, reconsidering, considering a different way....)
    That's a great characteristic to have in being malleable; and not wrote into a pet view,
    IMO....to many people who get adamant about a pet view, flip a switch on a given topic and turn their ears off and turn their mouths up....and never can learn anything again once that switch has been hit.

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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    You don't have to be one or the other. I'm neither.

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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Taylor View Post

    So how do you review (for lack of a better term) my post and my perspective?
    Do you see any looniness in where I think I might be?
    Looniness? God forbid! Brother, I think that we are all here for one main reason, because Christ called and led us to be. I've read your posts and opinions for years and you have no idea how much I respect and admire you. I don't always agree with you but you've taught me much and I'm sure you still have a lot more to show me.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Taylor View Post
    ( I did like how you waver on some of your points, changing your mind, not being sure....considering, reconsidering, considering a different way....)
    That's a great characteristic to have in being malleable; and not wrote into a pet view,
    IMO....to many people who get adamant about a pet view, flip a switch on a given topic and turn their ears off and turn their mouths up....and never can learn anything again once that switch has been hit.
    I'm always open to being edified. One thing the Holy Spirit has drilled into my foundation and heart is that I'm very susceptible to being wrong. Many times I've thanked people for showing me when and where I've been in error. I never discount someones words just because I know they disagree with me, instead, I carefully consider what they've written and search the Scriptures to see if it is true or if I have the right of it.

    And some things? My finite mind just isn't capable of grasping onto and comprehending the infinite wisdom and Glory of God. All has not been revealed to us yet and I would be worse than a fool to believe or act like I know it all.

    I think you're where the majority of Christian are...somewhere in the middle. Calvin wasn't totally wrong and the bane of all that's good and neither was Arminius. They both got some things right and some things wrong just like the rest of us. Only difference is that we aren't famous.
    “For it has never yet been known to fail that one fool, when he goes astray, takes several others with him.”

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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    I've grown up as, and still am a member of a denomination that stems from the Dutch Reformed and therefore Calvinistic tradition, although neo-Calvinist tends to be used these days to describe the denomination. I have not put a lot of time or thought into the matter and therefore I probably do not subscribe fully to either.
    It is only the cynic who claims “to speak the truth” at all times and in all places to all men in the same way, but who, in fact, displays nothing but a lifeless image of the truth… He dons the halo of the fanatical devotee of truth who can make no allowance for human weaknesses; but, in fact, he is destroying the living truth between men. He wounds shame, desecrates mystery, breaks confidence, betrays the community in which he lives, and laughs arrogantly at the devastation he has wrought and at the human weakness which “cannot bear the truth”. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in Ethics.


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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by teddyv View Post
    therefore I probably do not subscribe fully to either.
    And that makes you part of the majority. Relatively few people are hardline/hardcore one way or the other.
    “For it has never yet been known to fail that one fool, when he goes astray, takes several others with him.”

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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    Hi David,

    I believe the core, or the main issue in Calvinism vs Arminian would rather be the "total depravity" (T).

    an example..

    Do you believe that God predetermined some people to hell and some to heaven?


    Your understanding regarding OSAS sound good according to my understanding.

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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Taylor View Post
    I have difficulty with the idea of anyone 'falling from grace' or 'being a true Christian' and being able to reject it and turn from it.
    While I read all your post, I find this comment interesting. I too have difficulty concerning the phrase, "falling from grace and being a true Christian." Reasons... I don't think anyone can "fall from grace" based on both of the loons, I mean both of them (Arminius and/or Calvin) because on the Arminian side, if we "choose" to stop running the race, we fail to endure... grace has not ended in our life and if we sit down in rebellion against God, where once we were persevering and running head long toward the finish line, there can always be a day (after the rebelling begins) when we turn back to God and His LOVE is still abounding and all we need to do is repent, get up and even if all we are doing is crawling... we never fell from grace. Now... while in that rebellion, and by definition of having NOT endured to the end and having NOT finished the race by dying in our rebellion... well, grace is for "this" age, not the next age. Even then we never fell from grace, we can just fail to endure, become fruitless and scriptures are clear in what happens.

    As for Calvin's side concerning the phrase of "falling" from grace... again, can't happen but with Calvinism, the grace in the life of a person chosen by God won't allow them to rebel or fail to persevere. On one extreme is the, I CAN REBEL and live as I want but because 20 years ago I believed and accepted Christ and, blah, blah, blah... we deal with what "being a true Christian" is all about. But the extreme out in the world does have some believing that since they believed as child and at 11 years old they "accepted" Christ as their personal Savior... they are saved for eternity. So, when they go to college and do every drug, have sex with anyone, everyone, anytime, anywhere whenever they want... hey, they'll still go to heaven due to their "understanding" of the OSAS position. Again, an extreme.

    I do believe a person can accept Christ and be fruitful in the Body and due to a tragedy, be angry with God and harden their heart toward God... doesn't mean they fell from grace, nor does this mean God's grace is pulled away from their life... or in one extreme in Calvinism positions, say that the person WASN'T really saved, they weren't really a "true" Christian. I mean, if they weren't a true Christian for those many years, how can other Christians not discern good vs. bad fruit and if the person was fruitful in the Kingdom... ONLY a saved person CAN be fruitful.

    The phrase, "not a true Christian" is a mentality one must take because a person in a church, who for 20 years is faithful to God and then rebels due to a tragedy... don't fit the doctrine and the easiest way for brothers and sisters to discern such rebellion... is to say, "they weren't really saved" and that's that Or worse, say that the person was NEVER in God's grace during those 20 years of faithfulness . Seems they are using discernment "through" the doctrine, not by the Holy Spirit.

    They were fooling themselves.
    So were they fooling themselves... you say?

    Where they also fooling others all those 20 years, brothers and sisters who also believed that the one who is now in rebellion were faithful Christians all those years? Never once discerned that one now in rebellion was fooling themselves, as the brothers and sisters considered that person a brother/sister for those 20 years!?

    Maybe, they are ALL fools and none of them are saved

    You mentioned this prior to the fool comment:

    a true born-again Christian can never turn away or reject Christ once He has changed them into a new Creation in Himself and quickened their dead spirit with His Holy Spirit of everlasting life.
    Question... based on the way your expressed this, when is a person sanctified? I mean... when has a person been FULLY sanctified?

    If a person was fully sanctified when they are quickened, then I would agree with you... but sanctification takes place over a lifetime, Demas walked away back into the world from doing ministry with the Apostle Paul and Paul didn't have anything good to say about his choice. We know Paul was not a fool and I bet discerned a "true" Chrisitian of Demas testimony and thus included Demas on his ministry team during the Apostle's traveling of the world.

    To me, Demas is an example given to us of a person faithful for a time, SO FAITHFUL and with fruitful testimony that an Apostle of God chose him to be a member of his ministry team!! I mean, if Demas did NOT have a fruitful testimony, then how could an actual Apostle of God... be fooled? But something happened and Demas rebelled and step away from God, leaving Paul with nothing good to say about him
    Slug1--out

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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    David, I'd love to give you a little of my thoughts. A lot of Calvinists seem to get themselves coffee'd in discussions. I've agreed to disagree on many issues over the years. I debate hard but I love the brothers on all sides of controversial issues. So I think and hope I can give you a Calvinist perspective on your thoughts and get along. Until 3 years ago (the first 7 years of my Bible Forum membership) I would have called myself a 0-point Calvinist.

    That being said, I'm on vacation (in TN btw) visiting family and not doing much forum work than reading.

    So hopefully the thread will be open still after this week.

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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    For all my recent involvement in the 'Calvinism vs Arminianism' threads, my position is actually Kierkegaardian.

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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by Athanasius View Post
    my position is actually Kierkegaardian.
    I'm glad I'm not one of those. I'd never remember how to spell it.

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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by Athanasius View Post
    For all my recent involvement in the 'Calvinism vs Arminianism' threads, my position is actually Kierkegaardian.
    Could you brother write a brief synopsis of what this means? Doing some reading but not much is sinking in. I am genuinely curious.
    True Truth Exists & Can Be Found.

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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChangedByHim View Post
    I'm glad I'm not one of those. I'd never remember how to spell it.
    The name means 'church yard' or 'graveyard' in Danish, and isn't pronounced how it's spelled

    Quote Originally Posted by bluesky22 View Post
    Could you brother write a brief synopsis of what this means? Doing some reading but not much is sinking in. I am genuinely curious.
    As far as TULIP is concerned:

    Total depravity: No. We're just as capable of Adam, and inevitably - though not due to a corrupted nature - sin as he did.

    Unconditional election: No. This would undermine the purpose of God's relationship with humanity, and the responsibility of the human individual before God.

    Limited atonement: No, for the same reason as above. Doubly because if this were the case, then those people who aren't elect would be living exactly as God intended them to live, and would therefore be fulfilling God's will in their lives, and should therefore be saved - absurdity.

    Irresistible grace: No, as then human individuals aren't really free before God.

    Perseverance of the saints: No, as the task of being a Christian involves the lifelong task of becoming Christian.

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    Re: Calvinist - Arminianist - Other.....what am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by Athanasius View Post
    The name means 'church yard' or 'graveyard' in Danish, and isn't pronounced how it's spelled



    As far as TULIP is concerned:

    Total depravity: No. We're just as capable of Adam, and inevitably - though not due to a corrupted nature - sin as he did.

    Unconditional election: No. This would undermine the purpose of God's relationship with humanity, and the responsibility of the human individual before God.

    Limited atonement: No, for the same reason as above. Doubly because if this were the case, then those people who aren't elect would be living exactly as God intended them to live, and would therefore be fulfilling God's will in their lives, and should therefore be saved - absurdity.

    Irresistible grace: No, as then human individuals aren't really free before God.

    Perseverance of the saints: No, as the task of being a Christian involves the lifelong task of becoming Christian.

    Thank you brother for the relpy.
    True Truth Exists & Can Be Found.

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