[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I Have a Question -
Please -
for Calvinists and Non-Calvinists Alike

by Rose

UPDATE/CLARIFICATION:
I am not asking what is the difference BETWEEN the two labels, but on their own, what is each label's defining charcteristic - or - put it this way: what is the main reason why you would accept or reject either label for yourself?

What, in your opinion, is the defining, differentiating characteristic of these two labels:
  • Calvinist
  • Arminian
I want to know what makes the system that the label represents different. Please be specific. (For example, this means you wouldn't want to answer "the sovereignty of God" for the Calvinist defining point - because Arminians would say that they also believe in the sovereignty of God, they just define it differently.)

81 Comments:

  • I'll go first. I think the Calvinist defining characteristic is that it teaches particular redemption.
    I would say that succinctly sums up what makes that system different. What do you think?

    (I am still thinking about the Arminian one)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 6:21:00 AM  

  • Rose, surely some who call themselves Calvinists believe that our Lord died for all men?

    I think the labels represent adherence to historic movements.

    The defining characteristic of each depends upon the polemical position of those engaged in various theological disputes.

    Is that a cop-out answer?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 6:38:00 AM  

  • Good question.

    Off the top of my head, I'd say the difference between Calvinism and Arminianism is that the former is UNSWEETENED and the latter is overly sweetened.:)

    By Blogger tjp, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 6:46:00 AM  

  • One word, TULIP.

    By Blogger P&P, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 6:57:00 AM  

  • Matthew,
    How about I re-phrase the question for you:

    Why do you not call yourself a Calvinist?

    Why do you not call yourself an Arminian?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 7:01:00 AM  

  • Rose,
    I do not call myself a Calvinist because I do not believe in unconditional election (though some may call me Calvinist because I believe in eternal security).

    I do not call myself an Arminian because I believe in eternal securrity (though some may call me an Arminian because I do not believe in unconditional election).

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 7:05:00 AM  

  • tjp,
    come now, more specificity! In what way is the one oversweetened and the other unsweetened?

    P&P,
    Not specific enough. You can do better than that.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 7:18:00 AM  

  • This site summarizes the views of Calvinism and Arminianism well, and gives an in-between theological viewpoint that I believe is one of the best moderate viewpoints I have seen:

    http://www.mediatetheology.org/3_Views.html

    C. Gordon Olson's biography shows him to be well-qualified to give such a theological viewpoint.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 7:57:00 AM  

  • Arminian = faith precedes regeneration

    Calvinists = regeneration precedes faith

    Therefore everyone is either one or the other. Arminians vary and Calvinists vary, but regeneration/faith firmly distinguishes which category one is in. Matthew, for example is an Arminian that believes in eternal security and no lordship. I am a new covenant Calvinist that does not believe in infant baptism.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 8:25:00 AM  

  • rose,

    I would say the characteristic that most sharply separates Calvinism from Arminianism is their respective views of sin. Calvinism views sin as affecting the entirety of man, his body and his soul, such that apart from the intervening work of God he is unable to come to terms with his need for a savior. Arminianism also views sin as affecting the entirety of man but not to the same extent as does Calvinism. In this view sin is not as potent (hence it is said that the Arminian view of sin is "weaker" than the Calvinist view of sin) and does not corrupt to the utter failing of humankind apart from divine intervention.

    Also p&p hit it right on the head. The Canons of Dordt were issued as a direct response to the Five Articles of Remonstrance which; it is these five points which are at the heart of the theological divide between Calvinists and Arminians. Since the respective articles can't be theologically separated, one cannot pick an article and point to it as the point of contention between the two systems.

    By Blogger jared, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 8:41:00 AM  

  • Rose, I think Matthew's 6:38 AM response is something to chew on. Calvinism is no monolith; no one voice speaks for it, not even Calvin.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 9:07:00 AM  

  • I believe they are the same.

    Although they begin going down two separate paths, they both end at the same destination: uncertainty of salvation during hard or stale times during their Christian walk.

    The differences between Calvinism and Arminianism solely lie in the "dips" and "turns" of the path they're following (as well as the starting point of each path). But again, both paths lead to the same destination.

    Both Calvinists and Arminians, if guilty of a heinous sin, will 9x out of 10 doubt their salvation, whether it has been lost or whether they weren't saved to begin with.

    And it's all because of the misconception that all believers produce fruit.

    Maybe the false teaching that all believers produce fruit is the stumbling block for both parties? I know there are many, many other issues beyond that, I just wonder how much each would change if their views on works were corrected.

    now i'm just thinking aloud... :-)

    By Blogger the jerk, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 9:37:00 AM  

  • I just wonder how much each would change if their views on works were corrected.

    Quoting myself here... I just realized, if their views on works were corrected, they'd be Free Grace!

    By Blogger the jerk, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 9:40:00 AM  

  • I think that Jazzycat is hitting on the dividing line as well. Some a little bolder than others. Jazzy is bolder than I as I see God does have the power to regenerate upon His will, but I do see him interacting nevertheless the Calvinist is starting always with God as the seeker prior to man seeking God. Some considered Arminian would argue that they may find agreement but most of the time when the chips fall they often see God waiting to see who is going to hopefully believe on Him. What I see though is God sometimes in grief releasing his hand in the interaction for His own reasons, yet with some men he spends even more grief than others to bring him to faith. That is where I see the mystery of the mind of God. He has his own reasons. He doesnt rape the will as the Aminians always argue that he is a gentleman and indeed he is, but He also calls himself a Jealous God and so we do not fully know his thoughts. Clearly though we always see that he seeks first and will find and bring home all he is seeking. So I believe that distinguishes clearly the Calvinist from the Arminian in seeing the Calvinist perspective always sees God seeking first. I am not in agreement though with the Calvinist that says he understands this all, but I do lean in His direction, yet knowing that man does indeed make a willing choice to be saved. If I sound like I am talking senseless jibberjabber then God be praised for I am just a truck driver who knows nothing as he ought to know:-)

    Trust in Christ alone. That is where we all agree.

    By Blogger Only Look, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 10:01:00 AM  

  • In an article on Christian assurance, D.A. Carson quotes (Arminian) I. Howard Marshall:

    "... the Calvinist 'believer' cannot fall away from 'true' faith, but he can 'fall away' from what proves in the end to be only seeming faith. The possibility of falling away remains. But in neither case does the person know for certain whether he is a true or a seeming disciple... he sees signs in his life... but these signs may be misleading... Whoever said, 'The Calvinist knows that he cannot fall from salvation but does not know whether he has got it', had it summed up nicely... The [Arminian] knows that he has salvation... but is aware that, left to himself, he could lose it... IT SEEMS TO ME THE PRACTICAL EFFECT IS THE SAME."

    Responding to these quotes, D.A. Carson says:

    "At a... mechanistic level, I think this analysis is largely correct."

    "at certain levels the practical effect is the same"

    "Calvinism... [with its] forms of introversion... strangely mirror... their Arminian counterparts"

    "Thus at their worst, the two approaches meet in strange and sad ways."

    My Commentary:
    In a very real sense, John MacArthur and Lordship Salvation preach the same 'gospel' as Dan Corner and the Arminians:

    Unless you persevere in faithfulness and good works, and die in such a state, you go to hell. Faith alone is not enough.

    Often times Traditionalists are asked by those who represent their faith to hold contradictory notions in their minds at the same time. For instance:

    ----------
    We may cling tenaciously to the doctrine of Final Perseverance and yet at the same time we may legitimately view our own personal profession of faith with something akin to uncertainty.
    ----------
    Maurice Roberts, "Final Perseverance," The Banner of Truth Trust 265 (October 1985): 10

    So we are to believe in the Reformed doctrine of perseverance in a general sense but doubt that we in particular are necessarily saved!

    There is no security in the Traditionalist religion!

    How is the Calvinist position any different than that of the Arminian?

    D.A. Carson states, "Thus at their worst, the two approaches meet in strange and sad ways." "Reflections on Christian Assurance," Westminster Theological Journal 54(1992)

    The two systems are exactly the same: If you do not persevere until the end in faith and good works it is off to the lake of fire!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 10:41:00 AM  

  • Thank you all.
    Jazzycat, I suppose now I understand why you always call me an Arminian. Isn't that a little oversimplistic, though? I mean, that would be kind of like me saying

    Democrat = Against the death peanlty
    Republican = For the death penalty

    There are many differing opinions and concerns amongst republicans and democrats regarding this issue.

    I am not so comfortable with your simple appraoch, but I thank you for sharing it here.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 10:44:00 AM  

  • Jazzy,
    BTW, my husband claims to be a Calvinist and he vehemently opposes regeneration preceding faith. FYI :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 12:16:00 PM  

  • Jared,
    OK, but can we summarize the clincher with a singular statement or principle that wouldn't be welcome in other camps of Christian thought?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 12:18:00 PM  

  • Anonymous,
    A very dear, wonderful and terrific friend gave me Gordon Olson's book.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 12:20:00 PM  

  • Mark, thank you. I am glad you find agreement with Matthew.

    1. What is the thing about Calvinist teaching that you most appreciate that causes you to call yourself a Calvinist?

    2. What one point in Arminian theology isit that you find most disagreeable?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 12:22:00 PM  

  • Wayne, not everyone who calls themself a Calvinist puts regeneration before faith.

    Calvin himself was equivocal on that issue.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 1:33:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    Spurgeon despised the doctrine that said regeneration preceded faith.

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 4:58:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 7:04:00 PM  

  • Antonio, from sermon 979 "Faith and Regeneration", Spurgeon says...

    "At the same time, this faith, wherever it exists, is in every case, without exception, the gift of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. Never yet did a man believe in Jesus with the faith here intended, except the Holy Spirit led him to do so. He has wrought all our works in us, and our faith too. Faith is too celestial a grace to spring up in human nature till it is renewed: faith is in every believer "the gift of God."

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 8:13:00 PM  

  • So Rose, in answer to your question: I love the fact that God the Holy Spirit wrought faith in me. There is where my appreciation of Calvinism is focused.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 8:17:00 PM  

  • The defining characteristic of Calvinism is TULIP as a package.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 8:46:00 PM  

  • Rose,
    Since TULIP wasn't specific enough, try this. . . the defining characteristic of Calvinism is "predestination" - I think predestination is a good summation of TULIP. I know . . . how does one define predestination? Calvin defines it thus "Predestination is the name we give to God's eternal decree, whereby he alone has resolved what is to become of each individual human being in accordance with the divine will. For all are not created with the same destiny: eternal life is appointed beforehand for some, and eternal damnation for others."

    By Blogger P&P, at Saturday, September 08, 2007 9:02:00 PM  

  • Hi Sis,

    No offense intended to anyone but in answer to your question I am of the opinion that Arminian soteriology is rooted in a philosophical perspective of man while Calvinist soteriology is rooted in a philosophical perspective of God therefore I reject both as being extra biblical. I would agree with p&p in that these philosophies are most clearly manifest in A) the absence of any clear doctrine of assurance (election) within Arminianism and B) the double predestination (theological Determinism) of Calvinism.

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 12:32:00 AM  

  • "I think the Calvinist defining characteristic is that it teaches particular redemption."

    Rose, I know this Calvinist who does not hold to particular redemption, nor to the great contradiction that must regeneration precede faith!

    The idea that regeneration precedes faith is spawned by a strict adherence to federalism and becomes a contradiction for those who do not baptize their presumed regenerated infants (and in some cases believe that the act of baptism regenerates) as a sign and a seal of becoming a part of the covenant community. IOW those who claim regeneration precedes faith are most inconsistent when they do not also hold to infant baptism.

    I think KC and DF may persuade me to shed the Calvinist label.

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 3:52:00 AM  

  • If salvation is from God who quickens dead sinners into life enabling them to believe, then regeneration precedes faith.

    If man has the ability and makes a human decision to come to faith, then faith precedes regeneration.

    It is one or the other. All the talk about some other way is illogical. The crucial decision that saves a person must either come from God's sovereignty or human decision. If God does it, then Calvinism is correct. If man does it, then Armininism is correct. I define regeneration as Jesus does in John 3:3 and as it is shown to be in Eph. 2:1-5. The T,U,I,& P of tulip must necessarily follow if regeneration precedes faith.

    Matthew and Rose,
    There is a big difference between calling oneself a Calvinist and actually being a Calvinist just as there is a big difference in a person claiming to believe and actually believing.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 5:35:00 AM  

  • KC,
    What an excellent insight. Maybe that is why I am uncomfortable with them.

    J. Wendell, I didn't think you would see this. hehehe
    I know you don't like what I point out at the defining characteristic of the C, but that is how I see it. I think the TULIP is summed up by that - paticular redemption. God chose to save certain ones, they were elected in eternity past unconditionally yadayada yada. I do think it is very philosophical, as KC pointed out and very unecessary. Let's just stick to what the Bible says and if there are things that seem beyond us, leave them there. :~) Thanks for visiting.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 6:00:00 AM  

  • Jazzycat,
    The reason I have been thinking about this is because I saw a blogger the other day who really touts the label "Arminian."
    I know I really don't want that label.
    I know why I don't like it - (for the reason Matthew stated) and I just wondered what other people thought when they heard the name "Arminian." (I decided to ask about "Calvinist" too.)

    It seems interesting the answers here. Those who I know claim Calvinism (most and basically) have said that Arminian is the absence of that which is essentially Calvinism, while those here I know who claim "non-Calvinism" see the defining point of Arminianism as the insecurity of the believer.

    Maybe that helps you to see why we don't appreciate the label "Arminian." Matthew and I (and other non-Cals) are adamant about the security of the believer and we see that as a defining popint of Arminianism. That is why we don't like the label.

    It is unfortunate that these labels have gained the prominence that they have. I would be comfortable stating the difference between you and me as “particular redemptionist" and "broad redemptionist" ;~) or something like that. But do you see how referring to "Arminian" with all of its baggage is very outdated and over-reaching? It isn't specific enough or fair to all the many people in the church to just see everyone as either one or the other of these two labels.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 6:36:00 AM  

  • "yadayada yada."

    Didn't the Beatles record that song?

    Peace.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 7:36:00 AM  

  • Isn't it the hight of arrogance to say that those other systems are philosophy based but that "non-Calvinism" is not,(in effect saying it is the only Biblical system) thereby just passing "them" off with the wave of the hand. Rose's "yadayada yada." speaks volumes.

    Peace

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 8:01:00 AM  

  • Rose,
    Most Arminians believe in eternal security. Eternal security or lack of is not the defining principle of Arminianism.

    This post was simply about defining the two systems. The TULIP was the reformed response to the Arminian objection to Calvinism. As I have said 4 of the letters in tulip necessarily follow in Calvinism if regeneration precedes faith. The order of regeneration/faith determines whether salvation is due to sovereign election or human decision. This is what defines Calvinism/Arminianism.

    I’m sorry if this offends you and Matthew, but I am only reporting the news and not determining this crucial difference between the two systems. I don’t like hyper-Calvinism, but I guess they are Calvinists by definition. BTW, if regeneration precedes faith, then faith would be a gift.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 9:29:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Sorry I'm a bit late getting into this one…my broadband went AWOL.

    Popular answer (as opposed to a well rounded, all holes plugged one) is that Calvinism is God centred. It starts with God, it continues with God and it ends with God, as in Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, [are] all things: to whom [be] glory for ever. Amen. or Jonah 2:9 Salvation is of the Lord I don't want to be unfair to my Arminian brethren (and their various subsets) and say that their non Calvinism is man centred but it would be more comfortable with the sermon title: God in the hands of angry sinners than Sinners in the hands of an angry God.

    By Anonymous Goodnightsafehome, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 10:15:00 AM  

  • BTW, j.wendell - I am an Aminian, through and through.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 12:11:00 PM  

  • Goodnight,
    That is not an answer. Arminians and non-Calvinists also are God-centered. Come on, you can do better than
    that! Try to say the defining characteristic in objective terms. ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 12:24:00 PM  

  • Mark,
    Isn't it the hight [sic] of arrogance to say that those other systems are philosophy based but that "non-Calvinism" is not, (in effect saying it is the only Biblical system)

    Mark,
    I didn't mean to be arrogant. I am sorry if anything I said came across that way. "Non-Calvinism" is *not* a system; it is a tongue-in-cheek (for me anyways) rejection of a system. Peace yourself. back at ya ;~)

    Rose's "yadayada yada." speaks volumes.

    Mark, no volumes there. I meant no offense. I was getting ready for a wedding (yes, a wedding on a Sunday [?]) and I just did not want to spell everything out that we have all gone over a gazillion times. I should not have even been at the computer; I was so behind in getting my brood ready - Charlotte was the flower girl etc...

    No volumes. don't read into yadayadayada. :~)

    BTW, I appreciate your answer: I love the fact that God the Holy Spirit wrought faith in me. There is where my appreciation of Calvinism is focused.

    That really explains a lot.

    I would say God "made a way for me" (there is a southern gospel tune like that - I am thinking of it right now). I think God made a way for all who hear the gospel. We are different ... no need to get offended. Please don't.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 12:37:00 PM  

  • gotta go to the reception now....

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 12:37:00 PM  

  • Mark,
    What did this mean?: BTW, j.wendell - I am an Aminian, [sic] through and through.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 12:38:00 PM  

  • Rose, Two questions:

    1)Didn't the Beatles record "yadayadayada"? (I know you are a Beatles expert).

    2)After two years you didn't know I was Arminian? :-)

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 12:47:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose (You're in some form today!)

    Is it not fair to say that "God in the hands of angry sinners" rather than "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" would be more fitted to non Calvinists?

    Calvinists do not merely have Jesus offering salvation and waiting to be admitted to the heart of the sinner - although that is true to an extent - but they actually have Him saving - initiating salvation, carrying it through and seeing it through right to the end. The non Calvinist has Him standing waiting on the final and all sealing decision of the sinner, hence he really is God in the hands of angry sinners, rather than the other way round. Is this not so?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 12:59:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    I thought I did: sin is the complete corruption of humanity's being. We are physically corrupt and we are spiritually corrupt through and through. This is why Jesus is called the "second Adam" by Paul, He comes to restore us completely (and not only us, but all of creation). He comes and succeeds where Adam failed. The Calvinist view of sin is deep and complete whereas Arminian and non-calvinist views of sin are not (or are significantly "weaker" in comparison).

    By Blogger jared, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 1:40:00 PM  

  • Again though, we see evidence that people believe Calvinism is the result of philosophy. WRONG! It arrises exegetically from Romans 8 and 9; Ephesians 1 and 2; John 6,8,10 and 17, among many other places. One MUST admit that it takes some interesting dancing around the plain teaching of these verses to say that Calvinism isn't therein taught. Ask Tim Warner about that little dance step he invented to twist John 6 to say other than what is clearly seen there.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 5:20:00 PM  

  • Colin Maxwell,
    I suppose I am not the only one in rare form today! God in the hands of angry sinenrs. Very funny ... and a rare form of comedy at that. ;~)
    Your charicature of the other-than-Calvinist viewpoint is amusing. Thanks for the chuckle.

    Mark,
    Your temples are pulsing. ;~)

    I can understand why you say that. I fully grasp how that your perspective is that Calvinism is clearly taught. I do get it. I can imagine myself as a Calvinist very easily.

    On the other hand, I think it takes interesting dancing around (your words) to insist that this *limited* provision for salvation is true, as Calvinism teaches.

    For example, what can you do with this Scripture according to your system:

    6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
    We have turned, every one, to his own way;
    And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.


    What does the word *all* in that passage mean?

    Your friend!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 6:37:00 PM  

  • Mark,
    Obladi oblada
    life goes on bra
    Lala how the life goes on

    I still don't get the statement to j. wendell about Arminian.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 6:43:00 PM  

  • Jared,
    Thank you for your gracious and engaging comments. I was thinking about your earlier comment today. I was sorry I forgot to mention something I had thought of it but was in such a hurry.

    I think it is interesting how you see it. You really have placed the emphasis on the T of Tulip. I think this makes good sense since that is where the whole thing rests. I used to think that the T meant that we are so sinful we have no good works good enough to offer to God. Now I do understand it to mean that we have no ability to believe God or see His offer of salvation.

    I understand you say that if I don't see it this way, (inability to believe) then I am somehow not seeing man as sinful as he really is.

    Let me just say that I believe man is utterly sinful through and through. Left to himself, he would never "choose" God. I do not heave a weaker view of sin than you do.

    There is this thing called the gospel, though. ;~) It is the power of God unto salvation. The Holy Spirit works in and through this truth and this is how our ears are unstopped and we can believe.

    I see man as a corrupt sinner, but I don't see man as unable to believe God his Maker. I suppose that this would be a fair estimation of a major difference.

    So, according to Jared:

    1. Calvinism - unable to believe God
    2. Arminianism - weak view of sin

    fair?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, September 09, 2007 7:02:00 PM  

  • rose,

    Fair enough on my account. I would, however, like to point something out. You say, "Left to himself, he would never 'choose' God." and so you put your view of sin on the same level as mine (or on the same level as Calvinism, at least). Then you say, "I see man as a corrupt sinner, but I don't see man as unable to believe God his Maker." and now your view of man (and, consequently, sin) has changed; in the span of only a few sentences no less. Of course, the gospel comes in between your two sentences and that really is the "catch", isn't it? With the introduction of the gospel the question is no longer "Can man believe", rather it is "Will man believe."

    If we keep steadfast to our view of sin we will see that even with the introduction of the gospel man is still unable to believe apart from God's intervention. Paul says in Romans 8 that sinful man does not submit to God's law, moreover, that he cannot do so. He says that only those who have the Spirit are able to do what God wills. Now, if the gospel comes to a man and that man does not have the Spirit, how is it that he can choose to believe? To say that he can goes against our established view of sin. We see that the question changes again to one of what must take place before one can even accept the gospel, for it cannot be done naturally.

    On Calvinism's account we move from the "T", here, to the "U" wherein we see that God has a "chosen" people; Jesus calls these people His sheep (in contrast to goats). The "U" tells us that as far as the plan of redemption is concerned there are only two types of people: those who are sheep and those who are goats. It further tells us that no sheep will end up a goat and no goat will end up a sheep (Jesus says His sheep will hear His voice and that in the end the they will be separated from the goats).

    So, how is it that His sheep hear His voice given their inherent sinfulness and inabilty? Well, He grants them ears to hear and eyes to see. We have, then, sheep who are enabled by God (in His due time) to respond positively to the call of the gospel message. Of course, I'm sure you get the idea and progression. This is what I meant in my earlier post about not being able to separate the "T" from the rest of the system. If you start here then the soteriological process continues until we end at eternal security.

    By Blogger jared, at Monday, September 10, 2007 12:32:00 AM  

  • Rose, your question is from Isaiah 53:5-6. I see that prophecy fulfilled here..."24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." 1 Peter 2:24-25.

    Notice it is talking to people who "have now returned", who "having died to sins", who "were healed", who "returned to the Shepherd".

    Isaiah 53:5-6 applies only to God's chosen people, else thou hast Universalism. The NT is quite clear that individual sins of individual sinners are going to be paid for in the Lake of Fire.

    Thanks for your tone. You seem willing to talk and understand the other side, even if you don't agree. I appreciate that. That is class.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Monday, September 10, 2007 4:39:00 AM  

  • Correction here:

    "1. Calvinism - unable to believe God"

    Should read - "unwilling to believe God". See John 3:19-20

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Monday, September 10, 2007 4:43:00 AM  

  • Mark,
    So all we like sheep have gone astray doesn't mean that all of mankind, or even less all of Israel, has gone astray, turning every one to his own way? Rather it means that all of an even smaller group called the elect have gone astray? Is that your position?

    What says the context of Isaiah 53 about who the "all" are in that particular phrase?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 10, 2007 4:47:00 AM  

  • Rose, as I think back on when I was Arminian and think of the paradigm shift that took place when I became a Calvinist, I think the distinguishing mark of change would be the extremely humbling realization that I would never have chosen God if he did not first make me alive in Christ.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at Monday, September 10, 2007 6:59:00 AM  

  • Thank you, Jonathan.
    I appreciate that the humbling realization is important and wonderful to you. I often wonder about the awful realization that there are many around you who have had no provision made for them - no way of escape, no chance to receive Christ. Or is that wonderful too?

    Oh, that's OK. I don't have to understand everything.

    Thanks for the visit.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 10, 2007 7:48:00 AM  

  • "Mark,
    So all we like sheep have gone astray doesn't mean that all of mankind, or even less all of Israel, has gone astray, turning every one to his own way? Rather it means that all of an even smaller group called the elect have gone astray? Is that your position?"

    I think my 4:39 AM comment answers your question, Rose. The whole world has gone astray, but only the chosen of God can say that their iniquity was laid upon Him. All others die in their sins. That is the WHOLE of the Bible. Revelation 20:12-13 is quite clear that individual sinners will be judged according to their works.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Monday, September 10, 2007 9:01:00 AM  

  • So the first "all" of that Isaiah passage is a different "all" than the end of the verse? Are you sure Mark?

    6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
    We have turned, every one, to his own way;
    And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 10, 2007 9:12:00 AM  

  • BTW, Mark,
    You criticise Tim Warner for his take on John 6.

    Let me ask you. What is the clear teaching of this passage:
    I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
    52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
    53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.


    Catholics I know say it is the Eucharist. What say you?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 10, 2007 9:15:00 AM  

  • "53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you."
    =====
    I answer that with John 6:35 -

    He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.

    I'm off to work now. See ya!

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Monday, September 10, 2007 10:16:00 AM  

  • BTW, please address this verse...
    "Revelation 20:12-13 is quite clear that individual sinners will be judged according to their works.".

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Monday, September 10, 2007 10:18:00 AM  

  • Mark,
    Your response: I answer that with John 6:35 -He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.

    I don't see that you answered my question.

    What is the clear meaning of 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.?

    Are we supposed to actually eat the flesh of Christ somehow (as the Catholics assert) or maybe only those present were supposed to? What does this mean?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 10, 2007 12:50:00 PM  

  • Rose, I must admit that I do not know what you are driving at with your question here, "Are we supposed to actually eat the flesh of Christ somehow (as the Catholics assert) or maybe only those present were supposed to? What does this mean?"
    ---
    To be honest, I do not know if I am being ridiculed and taunted here. Kinda looks that way. Hmmm.

    I wish you the very best!
    May the Lord bless you and yours.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 4:21:00 AM  

  • Mark,
    A word about ridicule. You said this about my view on John 6:
    Ask Tim Warner about that little dance step he invented to twist John 6 to say other than what is clearly seen there.
    I think you heard of Tim Warner's "dance" on my blog? Should I take that statement of yours as ridicule? Well, that is why I brought up John 6:53, not to taunt you, but because Tim had given a really good explanation of a baffling passage. I wondered what you thought was the "plain teaching" there. Also - as to ridicule, again - what was that you were saying to J. Wendell?

    I am not taunting you. I am just dealing with the things that you have said in this thread. You said that many passages clearly teach Calvinism. I am asking you about this passage in Isaiah 53:

    6 *All* we like sheep have gone astray;
    We have turned, every one, to his own way;
    And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us *all.*


    This is really the main question I have for you: So the first "all" of that Isaiah passage is a different "all" than the end of the verse?

    I wish I could grasp your thoughts on "all" in this passage. I think you have said that all who have gone astray in the passage is all of mankind. I appreciate your engagement here and I wanted to think about this passage together, without taunting or ridicule, from either you or myself.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 4:43:00 AM  

  • Fair enough.

    If we look at Isaiah 53:6 we see that it is in the form of a confession; a confession that only believers would utter. that is one reason why I brought up Revelation 20:12-13, to show that individual sinners will suffer for their individual sins. There will be degrees of punishment in Hell; which would not be the case if their sins were already paid for.

    What are your thoughts on that Rev. passage?

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 6:55:00 AM  

  • Revelation 20:12-13
    12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.

    Mark, thanks. The word for work there is to toil or labor. I don't think this is referring to sins at all, but to work. So what i see that passage as saying is that since their names are not written in the book of life, they have no eternal life. Their works are looked at, but of course, there are never enough works to earn one's way to God, so ... there was no place found for them. Why? Because they did not have life. I honestly don't think that verse is talking about sin.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 8:12:00 AM  

  • Whatever commentary said that about Isaiah 53?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 8:13:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose, I like what Zane has said concerning this. The degrees of suffering is according to the law of sowing and reaping. Which goes on and on, eternal corruption. A person's condemnation is not because of their sin because that was ALL paid for. It is because they do nor have life as Rev 20:15 clearly states. But as John said "behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Did He take it away? Yes!!! All of it! alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 8:34:00 AM  

  • Rose, your take on works... see McGee's notes on Rev.20:12-13..."You know things that you have covered up and smothered that you would not reveal for anything in the world. The Lord Jesus is going to bring them out at this judgement... He is going to tell you about yourself". Page 1060 of his Volume 5.

    I do not believe many commentaries would see that Great White Thrown Judgement the way you do.

    Matthew Henry, ..."The cause to be tried: the works of men, "what they have done and whether it be good or evil."

    IVP,..."The judgement proceeds to two criteria: first, according to what they had done, and secondly, the testimony of the books"

    MacArthur,...On the mention of the "books"..."These books record every thought, word, and deed of sinful men-all recorded by divine omniscience. They will provide the evidence of eternal condemnation...Their thoughts (Luke 8:17; Romans 2:16), words (Matthew 12:37), and actions (Matthew 16:27) will be compared to God's perfect, holy standard and will be found wanting..."

    William MacDonald... "The other books contain a detailed record of the works of the unsaved. THE BOOK OF LIFE. The fact that his name is missing condemns him, but record of his evil works determines the degree of punishment".

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 9:01:00 AM  

  • MacArthur also says that TGWTJ will determine degrees of punishment.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 9:05:00 AM  

  • I believe MacArthur's consideration of these verses, Their thoughts (Luke 8:17; Romans 2:16), words (Matthew 12:37), and actions (Matthew 16:27)is quite compelling, and must not be over looked.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 9:09:00 AM  

  • Thanks, Mark. I was mainly just looking at it for the first time in a long time and used e-sword to find out what the word "works" meant. Never had read Hodges on it, just so you know. How about answering this question:
    Whatever commentary said that about Isaiah 53?

    Thanks, Alvin, for your comment. I didn't know Hodges dealt with that verse that way ... I don't think I ever knew that ... but it stands to reason. Thanks again!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 9:31:00 AM  

  • Mark,
    Christ suffered for sin as a substitute, so that man might be given life. In the absence of possesing life, the sinner is left to face the consequences of his sins. This does not mean that Christ did not suffer as a substitute for that person so that they might have life.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 9:54:00 AM  

  • Believer's BIBLE COMMENTARY, William MacDonald, page 979.


    I wish to appologise for my taunts and ridicule. You were right to call me on it. I was wrong. Tell your husband that I am sorry. I am sorry to you too.

    gots to get ready for work now.

    Have a good day!

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 9:56:00 AM  

  • Mark, you read William MacDonald! You Brethren Dispenasationalist!

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 9:59:00 AM  

  • "the sinner is left to face the consequences of his sins."
    ----
    I agree.
    ------
    "This does not mean that Christ did not suffer as a substitute for that person so that they might have life."
    -----
    But htey still suffer for their individual sins. As i said..."I believe MacArthur's consideration of these verses, Their thoughts (Luke 8:17; Romans 2:16), words (Matthew 12:37), and actions (Matthew 16:27)is quite compelling, and must not be over looked.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 10:01:00 AM  

  • You may be right, Mark. I may be off an that. Thanks.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 10:26:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,
    There will be many people who will say on that day "Lord, Lord didn't we,,,,,They will receive a fair hearing showing all their works,this is the purpose of the books not for their condemnation.
    Rev 20:15 reveals WHY they are condemned. No one will be condemned because of their sin. But just because their sin has been paid for doesn't mean that they are forgiven, that is personal. Dying in their sins speaks of their experince.
    But what I've studied any other way of interpreting these scriptures will contradict clear scriptures like (John 1:29;1 John 2:2;Rev 20:15). Jesus Paid It All,,,,no one is left out!!!alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 11:34:00 AM  

  • Alvin, we must be careful that our system doesn't wipe out entire verses...

    Luke 8:17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.

    Romans 2:16 - in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

    Matthew 12:37 - For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    Matthew 16:27 - For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Wednesday, September 12, 2007 4:04:00 AM  

  • Mark,
    I think Alvin's point of view really makes sense of this passage and I think this verse is like the close cousin of the Isaiah verse:

    2 Cor. 5 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, *not imputing their trespasses to them*, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

    What do you think? Does that mean something other than what it seems to mean to me?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, September 12, 2007 7:41:00 AM  

  • Rose, lookat 2 Cor.5,beginning at verse 15...
    "And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again...

    See the open door here? The word "THAT" is key. Only those who believe realize the benefit of His death.

    Again, verse 17, anyone in Christ is a new creation... In Christ is key.

    Verse 18, we have a message of reconciliation to proclaim, a message to the world that it is God's desire that man be reconciled to Him. As far as verse 19 is concerned, as in verses 15 and 17 before, only those in Christ realize the benefit.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Wednesday, September 12, 2007 8:31:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    Excellent question. I agree with an earlier comment by Antonio. I think the defining characteristic of both systems is also one of the things they both have in common - the necessity of works for entrance into heaven.

    All five points of TULIP are designed to show why true believers will have good works evident in their life. Even the Calvinist's frequent reference to the sovereignty of God is to show that since God is sovereign, the true believer will have good works. If they don't they aren't truly saved.

    Similarly, the Arminian wants to encourage good works as well, but does so through telling a person that if they don't have them, they lose their salvation.

    This emphasis on good works is found everywhere in books by Calvinists like MacArthur, Piper, and Sproul, as well as books by Arminians like Corner.

    Please excuse the unapologetic self promotion as I refer you to an article I wrote on not long ago.

    By Blogger Jeremy Myers, at Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:13:00 AM  

  • Thank you, Jeremy.
    I do see what you are talking about. I never used to think of Calvinism that way, but I see how it is there in the shadows. For me the defining point of it (and why I don't take it as my own label) would be "particular redemption." I believe Christ has opened the door for all people and held out an open hand to everyone. They are all ABLE to believe, they perish because they WILL NOT come, not because they CANNOT come.

    I will check out your link. thanks.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, September 13, 2007 10:02:00 AM  

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